JAVS Fall 2023

Recording Reviews

The Slapin Anthology 2022, Scott Slapin & Tanya Solomon Full album: https://violaduo.com/recordings Sheet music: https://bit.ly/38x4l6j

Any followers of the Slapin-Solomon duo will of course know of Cremonus, the viola god the duo jokingly created for whom we all practice to please ( “Cremonus demands scales!” ). The technique-hungry deity can be found several times on this compilation, but one of my favorites was Violacentrism: Cantabile E Furioso . Drawing the listener in with the deep and satisfying register of the two violas (Scott and Tanya), this movement of the “viola opera” is a pleasing marriage of open harmonies, heartbeat rhythms, and suspensions that tug at the heartstrings like a Gregorian chant. You can hear Scott’s entire family involved on the project—his mother Margi Ramsey on cello, his father Bill Slapin on bass, his uncle Hal Slapin on bass, and of course his duo partner and wife Tanya Solomon on viola—in The Slapin Anthology that provides not only enjoyable music for listening, but exciting new repertoire for musicians to pick up themselves. And don’t miss some of the more clever and humorous titles of his pieces (“The Four Seasons of New England: IV Dead of Winter”) that reminds us—and the rest of the music world—that we alto-clefies still have a good bit of fun.

Scott Slapin—teacher, performer, and composer for the last 25 years—began writing chamber music to play with his family and friends, which lead him to not only understand the capabilities of the string instruments better but privileged him to study what some of the great known composers had down for the last few centuries. Over the years, Scott accumulated nine albums worth of music. Deciding to create an anthology of his work, the violist said that he wanted to “gather some of my more accessible music … I imagine it to be the kind of music that might have gotten my own attention back in the 1980s when I was buying cassettes …” admittedly play violin for three of the recordings—and is especially captivating in the Concerto for Two Violas, III. Suspension . You can hear the angst and cry in the instrument, and the distinguished darkness of Scott’s sound carried on the shimmering vibrancy of wife Tanya’s viola sound. The combination of the two violas in harmony across the movement is worth the album alone. Scott’s unerring and rich sound is featured prominently on The Slapin Anthology album—though he does


Journal of the American Viola Society / Vol. 39, No. 2, Fall 2023

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