Friedrich Cerha, born in Vienna in 1926 and now 87 years old, is the doyen of Austrian composers, with a huge catalogue of music to his name. Cerha also trained as a violinist and most of the works in this anthology of his violin pieces were written for himself to play in the 1940s and ’50s, when he was still active as a performer.
The CD begins with one of his first surviving compositions, the Hindemith-like First Violin Sonata of 1947; Stravinsky was another early influence before Cerha found the voice that made him Austria’s leading avant-garde composer. Two later works, from almost half a century on, complete the stylistic trajectory. One of them, the Sechs Stücke für Violine Solo, was written expressly for the violinist on this CD, Ernst Kovacic, a friend of the composer for many years.
Ernst Kovacic’s interpretations of Bach’s solo works and Mozart’s violin concerti, as well as his dedication to contemporary music, secured him a place as one of his the leading soloists of his generation early in his career.
Mathilde Hoursiangou, piano, who teaches at the Vienna Music Academy, focuses with particular intensity on the music of the twentieth century, appearing as soloist, chamber musician and with well-known ensembles.