'Viola, Viola' reviews

‘…This was knockabout stuff with the violas teasing each other, rasping, snarling, dancing, carousing, and poking each other in the ribs. Glorious.’
The Herald, Glasgow (Michael Tumelty), 17 July 1998

‘…another triumph for strangeness of timbre. This nine-minute movement transforms a soundworld usually associated with the teaching room into something like a symphonic drama. The two instruments are yoked into meticulous, furious dialogue… The sheer density of argument that Benjamin packs in is astonishing and …totally gripping.’
The Sunday Times (Paul Driver), 19 July 1998

‘…a tour de force of another kind, which takes the most unpromising combination of instruments - two violas - and creates a totally gripping world. The lines cross with bewildering complexity, creating an extraordinary trompe l’oreille; it’s as if a whole orchestra of strings is there, each with its own sharply defined musical line.’
The Guardian (Andrew Clements), 14 March 2000


‘For 10 beguiling minutes, the two instruments take turns offering fierce or lyrical outbursts, either individually or in close-knit counterpoint…The effect is mesmerizing…’
San Francisco Chronicle (Joshua Kosman), 7 May 1999

‘(Viola, Viola) …offered arresting evidence of Mr. Benjamin’s keen ear for instrumental sonority and texture. The viola is typically considered a mellow instrument. This mercurial duo, a study in contrasts with pensive passages of sustained harmony, pugnacious outbursts, obsessive repetitions and eerie colorings, sounds as if it were scored for an orchestra of violas…’
The New York Times (Anthony Tommasini), 31 March 2007

‘George Benjamin’s Viola Viola, was remarkable for its strong architectural span, concentration and for the symphonic conception which it brought from these two usually retiring instruments.’
Sydney Morning Herald (Peter McCallum), 13 January 2003

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