Four stars

Eidson-Duckwall Recital Hall; Butler University; April 10.

I’ve been to a couple Faculty Artist Series concerts at Butler now, and I am continually impressed with the level of musicianship I hear at these concerts, along with the always interesting repertoire. Michael Strauss’ recital was no exception. I was taken aback with a completely unknown piece by an equally unknown composer, Schilflieder for Oboe, Viola, and Piano, op. 28, by August Klughardt. With a rich, romantic, almost Wagner-like feel, Strauss and his colleagues had a wonderful grasp of this piece. Things got even better with Britten’s Phantasy for Oboe, Viola and Cello, op. 2, a piece that gave everyone a workout, and all delivered. Throughout this program Strauss demonstrated a very warm tone, with lush vibrator, in the right amounts at the right time. This was especially demonstrated in Rebecca Clark’s Sonata for Viola and Piano, a piece whose tonalities seemed to be nipping at the heels of Ravel or Debussy. After hearing this recital I walked away with a strong desire to learn more about the viola repertoire.

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