Review: Sassmannshaus’ Collection of Viola Pieces

By Mary Nemet

This volume of viola pieces complements the Sassmannshaus’ Early Start on the Viola method. Currently professor of violin in Cincinnati, Ohio, Kurt Sassmannshaus also oversees teaching projects in Germany, China, and the United States, and continues the pedagogic work of his father Egon, who was a lifelong violist. He offers 14 pieces for viola and piano for the intermediate-level player to add to their usual portfolio of exam and audition pieces. This rich collection of concert pieces will appeal to students who are looking to close the gap between standard tutor books and challenging concert literature.

These short and effective pieces are graded in order from easy to moderately difficult over a wide range. They include original viola works such as two Nocturnes from the set of four by Kalliwoda, Wieniawski’s enchanting Rêverie, and Sicilienne, Op. 78, by Fauré, all ideally suited to the viola’s mood and timbre. Cellist Eduard Goltermann’s Andante religioso as well as his technically demanding Adagio & Tarantella is arranged for viola (the latter spread over three fold-out pages for convenience) while appealing tunes by Dvořák, Grieg, and a Viotti Andante complete a stylistic spectrum mostly from the mid-19th century, an era of beautiful melodies and rich sound-color that perfectly complements the viola.


Designed with the intermediate student in mind, Sassmannshaus’s fingerings and bowings are practical, while more sophisticated solutions can be added as the player progresses. Spaciously printed, violists will welcome this eminently accessible treasure-trove of concert pieces.

Viola Collection

Bärenreiter’s Viola Collection
Concert Pieces for Viola & Piano
Ed. K Sassmannshaus
Bärenreiter BA 9697