AHMED ADNAN SAYGUN Concerto for Cello & Orchestra, op. 74; Concerto for Viola & Orchestra, op. 59; Tim Hugh, violoncello; Mirjam Tschopp, viola; Bilkent Symphony Orchestra, Howard Griffiths, conductor.
The concerti by Ahmed Adnan Saygun are rich in texture and emotive power. The opening timid nature of the Cello Concerto quickly gives way to lush and silky textures. The cello lithely slinks its way through impressionist-inspired harmonies and deep felt emotions. Tim Hugh is a powerhouse interpreter here and I think made cellist would enjoy getting behind the wheel of this concerto. Listeners will find a deep sense of narrative and lyricism in this piece.
The Viola Concerto is a slightly less comfortable and more aggressive work. Lyricism abounds, of course, but I get a stronger sense of ennui from the soloist. The orchestra shifts its accompaniment style many time through the first movement and the violist, commandingly performed by Mirjam Tschopp, has to negotiate its material around an ever-changing backdrop. I particularly like the juxtaposition in the central scherzando between the playful soloist and the heavy field drum/bass drum duo that initiates the movement.