> Paul Juon - Rhapsody No.1 for piano quartet [RB]: Classical CD Reviews- Aug 2002 MusicWeb(UK)






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Classical Editor: Rob Barnett


Paul JUON (1872-1940)
Rhapsody No. 1 for piano quartet
Trio-Miniatures for violin, cello and piano
Arioso and Berceuse for violin and piano
Romance for viola and piano
Märchen for cello and piano
Kammermusik Ensemble Chamäleon
rec. Radio Studio Zürich, 5 March, 3 Apr, 2 May 1995
GALLO CD-876 [58.31]


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Juon was born in Moscow and studied with Taneiev and Arensky. He taught violin and music theory in Baku, Azerbaijan. In 1905 he moved to Berlin and took up teaching duties there at the Music Academy where he rose steadily to considerable eminence in German musical life. Illness forced his resignation in 1934 and he spent his last years in Vevey in Switzerland.

If Richard Flury favoured Schumann and joyous unpretentiousness, Juon, on this evidence, favoured earlyish Rachmaninov with works such as the Cello Sonata, Polichinelle, the Piano Concerto No. 1 and the Chopin Variations being reference points. The Rhapsodie No. 1 is highly romanticised in the early manner of his fellow countryman. At just over half an hour this rhapsody is the most ambitious work on the CD. Juon is ripely tuneful in this music and can turn on the Dvoøákian charm as in 4.34 of the sostenuto finale.

The Trio Miniatures are similarly mellow and romantic almost approaching a Delian afterglow (though Reverie and Elegie are typically Fauré-like titles) offset by the jokey Humoreske. Then comes a Viennese Danse Phantastique recalling, in the intoxication of nostalgia, the ballrooms of Berlin, Baku and Moscow.

The two pieces for violin and piano are from a set published as Vier Stücke. The Arioso is Brahmsian but the Berceuse seems to reach out towards Fauré as also do the Reverie and Elegie from the Miniatures. The Romance for viola and piano is a transcription taken from the op. 7 violin sonata. It, together with the Op. 8 Märchen (cello and piano), is much in the mood of the Arioso and is lovingly rounded by both the violist and the cellist respectively.

A little-known scion of Rachmaninov passionately performed by the Chamäleon Ensemble.

Rob Barnett


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