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Bénédicte Royer and Bettina Leitner reveal a world of rich and exotic music for viola and organ. Two works by York Bowen stand out: Fantasia and Poem, op.27, the latter including the added opulence of a harp. On CD for the first time is the original version of Frank Martin’s Sonata da chiesa for viola d’amore and organ. This is more often heard with flute, but the plaintive tone of the d’amore increases the intensity of Martin’s experimental 12-tone writing. Further works by Karl Yngve Sköld and Ernst Ludwig Leitner complete this enjoyable recording. Bettina Leitner expertly uses the ‘Bruckner Organ’ of St Florian to support, complement and contrast with the viola, and a good recording balance keeps every musical element in the foreground while revelling in the generous acoustics.

RUPERT GOUGH Read the full review on Agora Classica

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