Violist Maxim Rysanov
is an increasingly visible presence
on the international concert circuit.
With his colleague, the fine pianist
Evelyn Chang, he’s constructed a versatile
programme crowned with his own arrangement
of the Franck Violin Sonata.
First though he has
to get around the thickets of the Brahms
Sonatensatz, once again in his own arrangement.
This seems to me to be the least convincing
performance of the disc. It’s not necessarily
that it’s intrinsically an ungrateful
piece to transcribe to the viola – though
it does sound it – so much as Rysanov’s
aggressive and nasal playing. He’s also
rather shrill in the upper register
but proves much better at Brahms’s legato
He takes on two of
Bridge’s morceaux – ones that are increasingly
paired on disc by adventurous violists.
Paul Coletti and Leslie Howard (Helios
CDH55085) started this trend if memory
serves. The older performance is better
at exploring the syntax of Pensiero.
At a slower speed the Rysanov-Chang
duo fail to phrase with optimal perception
and can be over-forceful. Allegro
appassionato is finely played but
ultimately lacks the qualities of quicksilver
incision and nervous energy that so
distinguish the Coletti-Howard collaboration.
I enjoyed this performance of Enescu’s
1906 Concert Piece, perhaps better known
as the Konzertstück. The
Avie duo take a rather more portentous
view of it than did the Westphal-Swann
team on Bridge 9109. The Bridge duo
is more ready with a smile than the
Avie but the newer reading benefits
from a fine recording and warm strong
I wouldn’t put the
younger man above Bashmet’s recording
of the two-movement Glinka Sonata but
he performs with power and strength.
It’s a shame that Vadim Borisovsky,
who edited this work, never left behind
a recording. For the Franck Rysanov
has produced a blend of the violin and
cello versions. The performance absorbs
the necessary octave jumps quite creditably
though it’s always an ear-popping moment
– as in the similar concessions in the
Elgar-Tertis Viola (Cello) Concerto.
But though Chang strives hard she can’t
quite lessen the ferocious demands of
the piano writing in the Allegro.
Finally there’s Whispered
Lullaby written by the young Bulgarian
composer Dobrinka Tabakova. This was
dedicated to Rysanov for whom she has
also written a concerto for Viola and
strings. Gentle and sinuous and with
an absorbing cadential passage it makes
for a warm envoi.
A good calling card
for the Rysanov-Chang duo – excellently
engineered as well though sufficiently
closely to catch viola sniffs. The notes