In response to the "Best violin solos" thread opening up to sorta include violin works transcribed for viola, I thought it would be a nice idea to have a thread for viola solos. Preferably not transcriptions of other pieces not originally for viola, but actual viola pieces.
I'll start this off with the most inexplicably underrated viola composer: Belgian violist Casimir Ney. His 24 preludes (each in a different key, similar to Chopin, Rachmaniov, etc. preludes) are extreme tests for violists, technically and musically. There's only one recording of the whole set of which I'm aware (by Oscar Shumsky's son), and there's only one Youtube video, of a live performance that gives an idea of what we're dealing with:
(I'm never going to play Paganini, ever.)
One of my favorite viola solos is the Introduction and Allegro by Miklos Rozsa, which is also lacking in the standard repertoire; I only know of one recording, there is no Youtube video, and when I performed it, people had only known Rozsa as the composer of the soundtracks to Ben Hur, the viola concerto, etc. (and these are other violists I'm talking about). It's a brutal piece, about 15 minutes long, the placid introduction becoming agitated before the explosion of the main allegro.
Edmund Rubbra also made a small contribution to the solo literature, the 10-12 minute long Meditations on a Byzantine Hymn. It similarly has no Youtube video, but in recent years recordings of it have somewhat flourished, attracted violists like Lawrence Power and Roger Chase, as well as the two viola version having been recorded by the Dante Quartet in their survey of his works for string quartet.
Next? Feel free to just comment, of course, you don't have to contribute anything.