reviewed by Tom-Tom
Violas and to a lesser extent cellos tend to be the red-headed step-children of any early string ensemble. As mentioned before, most Baroque and even Classical composing styles gave everything in terms of melody to the first and sometimes second violins with the occasional scrap allowed to the cello. Barely anything other harmony is bestowed to the poor violas. In some of later composer Rossini’s early string sonatas, he leaves them out completely. Violists read a different clef from the rest of the ensemble really making them the bastard child apparent of the string family. This is shame as the viola is really a beautiful instrument more mellow than the violin if not as deeply resonant as the cello. It’s not until some of Mozart’s later symphonies and chamber music that the viola even has much of a role other than supporting harmonically the rest of the group as the thankless maid or butler.