The Strad Issue: January 2008
Musicians: Hartmut Lindemann (viola) Megumi Hashiba (piano) Roman Viazovsky (guitar)
Composer: Schumann, Schubert, A. Benjamin, Paganini, Hubay

Learning that a record label named ‘Tacet’ (he/she/it is silent) should by now have published five volumes of viola recordings (The Lindemann Series), one could be forgiven for thinking the whole thing is a viola joke. But Hartmut Lindemann is no joke: he is a unique player, who has made a study of the technical and expressive vocabulary of the Old Masters (such as Heifetz, Elman, Menuhin and Primrose) and upon that basis developed an unmistakable style of his own. No one today – and I mean this literally – plays quite the way he does. Schumann’s Violin Sonata sounds in Lindemann’s own arrangement almost better than the original, which keeps the violin in its less sonorous register too much of the time. In Lindemann’s virtuoso rendition one never misses the E string and, with bass notes added to some chords, the solo part acquires an impressive fullness.

Conversely, the transcription for guitar (by Konrad Ragossnig) makes the piano part of Schubert’s Arpeggione Sonata more fragile, but there are precedents for it, and the effect agreeably recalls the atmosphere of a Schubertiade. In Arthur Benjamin’s Viola Sonata – also known as Elegy, Waltz and Toccata – Lindemann unsurprisingly adopts some textual changes hailing back to the piece’s dedicatee, William Primrose. Paganini’s Caprice no.9 (with piano accompaniment by Sydney Shimmin) and Hubay’s Der Zephir round off a spectacular recital that – in wonderfully warm sound – features playing one usually associates with the noise of shellac records. This fifth volume of Tacet’s Lindemann Series is as impressive as the previous four.

Carlos María Solare