Can violas play this?

Can violas play this?


norman lebrecht

January 16, 2019

The irrepressible Aleksey Igudesman has persuaded Universal Edition to publish a set of pieces for solo viola, which he hopes will be taken seriously.

Antoine Tamestit kicks them off this morning with a smart warm-up.

You see it here first.



  • Viola da Bracchio says:

    Exquisite and enthralling music of the highest calibre – that displays the full expressive range of the instrument! Let’s hope these are taken up by all adepts of the alto clef.

  • Boris says:

    Wonderful piece!…..although, the picture is of a Curtin and Alf violin………not a viola……

  • David K. Nelson says:

    Well in response to the headline … the instrument does not play itself! Very few violists can play as well and as beautifully as Tamestit. And regardless of skill, you have to have a viola that can “speak” evenly from top to bottom like this one. Is this his Strad? It doesn’t look like the photos of the Strad I have seen elsewhere. But it is obviously a superior viola.

    I know one thing. My bow rehair guy would love for me to tackle this piece. I’d be bringing in my bows for rehair once a week! And my floors would be covered with shredded horsehair. We fixed income retired people can afford the sheet music but can’t afford to play it.

    I sense from our host’s phrasing (“persuaded Universal Edition to publish,” and “hopes will be taken seriously”) that he might regard Igudesman rather as the clown who longs to play Hamlet, but in addition to being a pretty darn well-equipped violinist, Igudesman has published quite a bit of music, and only some of it expresses his comic side. This particular piece could pass as something by Piazzolla, at least to my ears, and very good Piazzolla at that. Igudesman’s book of eastern European duets is tremendous, and you could easily slip some of them into what purports to a performance of the 44 Bartok duos and few would be any the wiser.

  • Viola player says:

    Seeing as this post is comprised mainly of a video of a violist playing it, the answer to the bafflingly obtuse question in the title is an obvious “yes.”

  • Sleeko says:

    . . . and how! Bravo! 😉

  • Peter says:

    Pretty impressive. I like it, and hope it finds a place in the repertoire. As others have said, there are moments of similarity to Piazzolla, and to me also a hint of the Reger cello suites.

  • Most pristine/ gorgeous/ viola playing/ but KUDOS to Igudesman for this creative “devilish” arangment!