Garth Knox and Agnes Vesterman


A forgotten instrument finally gets the appreciation it deserves on D’Amore, said C. Michael Bailey in Falling between a violin and cello, the viola is the “least understood and respected of orchestral stringed instruments.” The viola d’amore—the modern instrument’s Renaissance ancestor—is even more neglected. But Scottish-reared musician Garth Knox makes it the star of this recording. The viola d’amore has a second set of strings that vibrate sympathetically when the others are bowed and “add a warm harmonic body to the instrument’s sound.” Knox lets its unique sound suffuse this album. D’Amore is at once “avant-garde and deeply nostalgic,” said Bradley Bambarger in the Newark, N.J., Star-Ledger. Knox, with Agnes Vesterman on cello, reveals the viola d’amore’s versatility by alternating between contemporary and period-appropriate pieces. He deftly moves from a “beautiful Renaissance pavane” to an “intoxicating variation” on the popular baroque tune “Folies d’Espagne” to his own “Malor Me Bat” and other new works he commissioned for this CD. Listening to Knox’s viola d’amore is like taking a trip in time, said Ivan Moody in Gramophone. D’Amore is “one of the most outstandingly magical discs I have ever heard.”