The viola has long languished in the shadow of its smaller and more popular sibling, the violin. While it has been an essential ensemble and orchestral instrument, the viola has had relatively little music written for it in solo roles—in both the chamber and (especially) concerto genres.

But owing largely to the influence of 20th-century English viola virtuoso Lionel Tertis, a number of prominent English composers have been inspired to write new music for this overlooked instrument. Of particularly superb quality and appeal are the three viola works by Sir Arnold Bax, Sir William Walton, and Ralph Vaughan Williams presented in this lovely album.

Internationally acclaimed viola virtuoso and teacher Hong-Mei Xiao performs these three remarkable works to perfection, with outstanding collaboration from distinguished conductor János Kovács leading the excellent Budapest Symphony Orchestra MÁV.