By Greg Cahill | From the July-August 2021 issue of Strings magazine

Fans of ancient music in search of a quality recording of obscure Baroque chamber music for viola will want to give this CD a listen, since these are some of the earliest chamber works to showcase the viola.


J.G. Graun Chamber Music from the Court of Frederick the Great album cover

The album features three elegant trio sonatas by Johann Gottlieb Graun, along with one each by Johann Gottlieb Janitsch, Franz Benda, and Carl Heinrich Graun, all performed on period instruments from new editions prepared by the artists. Violinist Augusta McKay Lodge and her sister, violist Georgina McKay Lodge, are accompanied by cellist Eva Lymenstull and scholar and harpsichordist David Schulenberg, one of America’s foremost authorities on music of the Bach family and author of several textbooks and biographies. The Lodge sisters have prepared their own editions based on surviving 18th-century manuscripts, along with original cadenzas, embellishments, and keyboard parts in accordance with the distinctive Berlin style of the period. For example, the Viola Sonata in C minor by Franz Benda is preserved uniquely in a manuscript that was once in the collection of Benjamin Itzig, a member of the venerable Jewish banking family that served King Frederick and who is thought to have played the instrument.