Instrumentalist - Viola, Instrumentalist - Violin
John Fleming's CD picks: John Miller, Eroica Trio, Nokuthula Ngwenyama
Nokuthula Ngwenyama

Album: Rubinstein Sonatas (EDI)

In stores: Now

Why we care: Ngwenyama (born in California of Zimbabwean and Japanese parents) is a fine young viola and violin player. Here she is joined by Canadian pianist Jennifer Lim in a pair of sonatas by Anton Rubinstein.

Why we like it: It's fun to dig into the music of Rubinstein (1829-1894), a Russian pianist, composer, conductor and teacher (Tchaikovsky was one of his students) who was a titan in his day but is now largely forgotten. His Op. 49 viola and Op. 13 violin sonatas are conventional romantic showpieces, though the viola sonata is a valuable discovery for an instrument that doesn't have much recital repertoire to choose from. Ngwenyama soars in the Andante.

Reminds us of: If you like Mendelssohn and Tchaikovsky, give Rubinstein a listen.

Download this: Viola Sonata

Grade: B+

John Fleming, St. Petersburg Times
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