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Reviews

Strings Magazine (December 2008)
Violist Scott Slapin explores the caprices further for violistic depth in his latest CD, Paganini's 24 Caprices (Eroica Classical Recordings JDT3420). With the album, he etches his name into history as the violist to have recorded the full set of caprices after violist and artist Emanuel Vardi's groundbreaking 1965 recording for the Epic label.

-Rory Williams

Canadian Viola Society Newsletter (Spring 2007)
These recordings are extremely attractive in every way…. warm and romantic in spirit, yet very aristocratically performed without mannerism or indulgence. The tone quality is superb, full of variety, and the phrasings full of nuance and sensitivity.

Technically the playing sounds very secure and confident. As Mischa Elman would have said if he were reviewing these performances, “They must be much easier on the viola!”

I feel that Scott has his own authentic take on these masterpieces of polyphony. My other recordings for references purposes are the Suites performed by Lillian Fuchs and Nobuko Imai.

I would recommend these recordings wholeheartedly, not just to violists, but to violinists and cellists.

-Julian Fisher

The All Music Guide (February 2007)
As a violist, Slapin has an incredibly deft technique and a full, lovely sound. His interpretation is both sensitive and energetic...for viola players and viola lovers, this is quite an exceptional recording.

-Mike D. Brownell

American Viola Society (May 2006)
Scott's program notes speak of the genesis of this recording, done after their evacuation from their home in New Orleans and the Katrina disaster in the many months after they lost virtually everything they owned and picked up the pieces of their personal and musical lives...As terrible as this experience must have been for Scott and Tanya, the results of this recording surely don't reflect any diminution of their outstanding talents. Those who know their previous CDs should expect the same high quality of viola playing and musicality and they will not be disappointed....Both Scott and Tanya sound wonderful here, their instruments very resonant and full.

-Myron Rosenblum, Founder and First President

Journal of the American Viola Society (January 2006)
Slapin’s Nocturne…shows Scott’s great talent not only as a violist but as a composer...Slapin and Solomon play with passion, technical brilliance, and a great authority on this noteworthy addition to the recorded viola literature. The duos recorded here explore not only the rich sonority created by two violas, but also their virtuosic potential; Slapin and Solomon succeed on both accounts.

-Sel Kardan

All Music Guide (2005)
The very week that Eroica Classical Recordings brought out their excellent debut recording, Sketches from the New World: American Viola Duos in the 21st Century, Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans. Slapin and Solomon...found themselves without jobs, managing to escape with little more than their best instruments...(Slapin's) Nocturne is a soulful, sad and moving piece in the vein of Samuel Barber’s Adagio for strings. Slapin and Solomon did manage to hang onto their instruments; perhaps they might want to run through Slapin’s Nocturne for themselves, and as a tribute to the rest of the victims of Hurricane Katrina.

-David N. Lewis

Frank Proto's Soundscapes for Solo Viola are a fascinating and original collection of pieces that are a real contribution to the viola repertoire. Scott Slapin is great! It's hard to imagine better performances.

-Ruggiero Ricci

Canadian Viola Society Newsletter (Autumn 2005)
The performers are well matched and balanced throughout and seem to handle the huge technical demands of this repertoire effortlessly... Gerald Busby's Doppelgaenger Suite is a collection of four charming pieces. Humour is too often missing from contemporary music, and I appreciate very much the lightness and fun that this piece brings to the disc... these are strong and purposeful performances of challenging and contrasting repertoire. Nevertheless there is something very pleasing about the sound of two violists playing together, and it's nice to know that there is progress beyond where the Bartok duos left us.

-James Legge

Gay City News (Volume 4, Number 49, 2005)
(Busby's) duet for violas, “Doppelgänger,” ...received a brilliant recording from Scott Slapin and Tanya Solomon."

-Jason Victor Serinus

The Strad (November 2005)
In all, the CD bears witness to the healthy musical life going on in America, both on the creative and the recreative fronts. I should add that the performances are absolutely brilliant, with both players perfectly attuned to each other, and have been realistically recorded.

-Carlos Maria Solare

Fanfare (October 2005)
Slapin's magnificent playing says "Bring it on!" to the technical challenges, but he helps each work speak its own true, impassioned, meaningful voice: there are few outwardly cheery moments here (Proto does that elsewhere), but everything is kept mobile, fascinating, and changing, without melodrama, posturing, or self-consciously ironic techniques.

-Paul Ingram

Musical Opinion (October 2004)
The three pieces here are three suites and make a genuinely important addition to the repertoire for solo viola. They are splendid works which held my attention throughout - not least for the excellence of the recorded sound and the virtuosity and musicality of Scott Slapin's performances, which surely cannot be improved upon.

-Robert Matthew-Walker

The Strad (October 2004)
Scott Slapin...puts all eleven movements across with commitment and both tonal and rhythmic command. The total effect is compelling.

-Tully Potter

Canadian Viola Society Newsletter (August 2004)
Scott Slapin’s superlative rendering of the Three Soundscapes for Solo Viola will likely thrill even the most anti-contemporary music soul and win many friends. The CD is of excellent quality with rich and resonant sound. The playing brilliant and seductively warm by turns, always polished and elegantly phrased. Now 30 years old, watch for more from this first rate viola virtuoso.

-Baird Knechtel

The Journal of the American Viola Society Vol. 19 # 1 (March 2003)
Mr. Slapin...made the works sound like they were originally written for the viola. He has that dash and smoothness that many an older violist would envy...More power for the extraordinary musicianship of Scott Slapin. May his investigative talents present us with equal creativity in the near future.

J.S. Bach Home Page (December 2002)
This CD reaffirms my belief that many of the best recordings come from independent record labels... Slapin's sensitive interpretations are the reason for the success of this recording. The famous Chaconne from Partita No. 2 is extraordinary. It evokes emotion in a way that is not common for me; a truly remarkable interpretation. The articulation of the fast movements is excellent, his intonation is perfect and his use of dynamic variation on repeated phrases is a nice interpretive touch. This is a highly recommended recording that I hope many will discover and treasure, as I have.

-Jan Hanford

Central Station
Scott's performance is outstanding, and the interpretation is tasteful. I like this recording better than many of my violin versions.

-Dave Grossman

CD Baby Oct. 2002
An absolutely stunning and gorgeous album of works for viola— breathtaking musicianship and emotional delivery, this is an album of remarkable stylistic diversity.

The New York Violist Dec. 2000/Jan. 2001
The Leclair Sonata No. 1 for 2 violas with Tanya Solomon on viola II has some wonderful sonorities…the Bach Suite no. 1 reveals a good sense of style…the Richard Lane (is) well played by the two performers (Ms. Rosenblum at the piano)...intriguing music for viola... we can look forward to more CDs from this talented artist in the future.

American Record Guide (May-June 2000)
It is an impressive accomplishment to perform these works on the viola. The demands they make on the left hand are great enough when they are played on the more compact violin, but Slapin plays them with no sign of strain at all, perfect intonation...and a pure, unforced tone. I am mightily impressed.

The American Record Guide (March-April 2000)
Slapin has a rich resonant sound and phrases magisterially.

The Strad (Jan. 2000)
Slapin's Triptych is an enjoyable addition to the small repertoire for a trio of lower strings. It is beautifully written for the instruments, avoiding any impression of heaviness, and its witty finale, The Hassid and the Hayseed, cleverly combines American folk fiddle and klezmer elements.

The New York Violist (Nov. 1999)
This is an impressive set for the strong musicality of it all and the difficult music played so well... his sound is robust and resonant and the interpretations most musical. What... comes across is Mr. Slapin's ever-present musicality and his wide breadth of conceptions... These CDs contain many lovely moments.

The New York Violist (Nov. 1999)
His own composition, 'Triptych' is a charming work, imbued with a string folk element and strong rhythmic dance-like features (these would be a delightful addition to any viola recital).

The Viola List
SCOTT AND TANYA ARE BACK!
I have just received the most recent CD of Scott Slapin and Tanya Solomon, violists, and am most happy to report that it is an exceptional and delightful offering of viola solo and duo music. It is titled: RECITAL ON THE ROAD/ WHAT WE DID ON OUR SUMMER EVACUATION. Scott's program notes speak of the genesis of this recording, done after their evacuation from their home in New Orleans and the Katrina disaster in the many months after they lost virtually everything they owned and picked up the pieces of their personal and musical lives.

As terrible as this experience must have been for Scott and Tanya, the results of this recording surely don't reflect any diminution of their outstanding talents. Those who know their previous CDs should expect the same high quality of viola playing and musicality and they will not be disappointed.

This potpourri of viola music includes:

  • Paul Hindemith's Sonata op. 25, no. 1 for solo viola
  • Antonio Barolomeo Bruni's Sonata No. 1 for 2 Violas
  • Niccolo Paganini's Caprice No. 3, arr. for viola
  • Joh. Seb. Bach's Allemande from the Suite No. 6
  • Alessandro Rolla's Duet in E flat for 2 Violas

Both Scott and Tanya sound wonderful here, their instruments very resonant and full. The technique is there in plenty for the more demanding music (Hindemith and Paganini), and the Bruni and Rolla duos are just wonderful. Rolla, who violists will know for his sound contributions to the viola repertory (concerti, solo works for viola and orchestra, many duos for violin and viola, mixed ensemble pieces with prominent viola parts, etc.) , wrote many duos for 2 violas. While some these Rolla viola duos border on the simplistic, this Duo in E flat is a substantial work, musically very rewarding and technically quite demanding.

Violists wishing to have a good piece for themselves, their students and for their viola duo libraries can obtain this Rolla duo from Fountain Park Music. See their web site.

This CD is EROICA CLASSICAL RECORDINGS JDT3265. You can go to the Eroica web site or Scott's and get more specific information about this CD.

-Myron Rosenblum


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