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Capriccioso – Under the Blue Skies
Camille SAINT-SAËNS (1835-1921)
Introduction and Rondo Capriccioso in A minor Op.28 (1863) [8:59] ²
Nicolo PAGANINI (1782-1840)
24 Caprices for solo violin, Op.1 (1837); No.  9 [3:21]: No. 13 [3:04]; No. 17  [4:19]; No. 24 [5:23]
Johannes BRAHMS (1833-1897)
Hungarian Dance No. 2 In D Minor [3:27] ²
Aleksandr ALYABIEV (1787-1851)
Elegy [2:37] ³
Under the Blue Skies [4:40] ³
Anton ARENSKY (1861-1906)
Danse Capricieuse Op. 12 No. 2 [4:00] ¹
Romance Op. 56 No. 2 [2:57] ¹
Lily of the Valley Op. 33 No. 2 [2:10] ³
Nikolai RIMSKY-KORSAKOV (1844-1908)
Fantasia On "Le Coq d'Or" (1908) [8:23] ¹
Peter Ilych TCHAIKOVSKY (1840-1893)
Romance Op. 5 (1868) arranged by Alfred Glen [5:55] ¹
Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1750)
Ave Maria arranged Gounod, transcribed by Andrei Golovin [3:15]  º
Alexander Rudin (cello)
Vladimir Skanavi (piano) ¹
Victor Ginsburg (piano) ²
Jana Ivanilova (soprano) ³
Musica Viva Orchestra º
rec. Moscow 1984 (Rimsky), August 2006  (Saint-Saëns, Paganini, Brahms) and March 2007 (remainder)


Experience Classicsonline

As cellist Alexander Rudin playfully announces in his introductory paragraph in the booklet notes; those miniatures which may sound familiar were not originally composed for the cello “and conversely those less familiar were!” He has compiled a disc of pieces that reflect youthful enthusiasms and in particular his predilection for transcriptions. The result is that he includes three songs (texts included), is accompanied by two different pianists – for reasons explained later – and also by the Musica Viva Orchestra. Plenty to interest the cello lover then.

The Saint-Saëns is notable for some very sensitive scaling down of the cellistic accompanying figures. Many a fine violinist has ruined a performance through over projection of his subsidiary material but that’s not a mistake an experienced chamber player like Rudin makes. What this transcription lacks is the cutting, jutting brilliance of the violin, though Rudin does play with declamatory élan and power.  He plays four Paganini Caprices. These are obviously slower to “sound” on the cello so the Ninth sounds less athletic. In the hands of a Primrose of an Emanuel Vardi one finds that the viola has a greater tensile sense of projection in the Caprices – listen to Vardi’s complete caprices on Cembal d’amour CD129. Still, Rudin brings mordant wit to the Seventeenth with those rather lugubrious sounding lower strings. The Brahms is powerful but not over-projected.

Next is a series of less well-known pieces. Aleksandr Alyabiev (1787-1851) grew up in St Petersburg and fought in the Napoleonic wars. He wrote operas and songs. His Elegy is almost a scena – an appealingly lyric song with cello obbligato, progressing through recitative to more fulsome expression; it’s full of moods and feeling, touchingly sung here by Jana Ivanilova. Its companion is Under the Blue Skies – a longer, pleasant but less eventful setting. Late Romantic warmth infuses Arensky’s Lily of the Valley, to words by Tchaikovsky after which the Danse Capricieuse comes a good contrast.

Rimsky’s Fantasia on Le Coq d’Or – a typo renders it as Cog d’Or – was recorded back in 1984 hence Vladimir Skanavi is the pianist. It was made live and is rather boxy but there’s some brilliant passagework on display and some enviably athletic music making.  The Tchaikovsky-Glenn Romance allows us to savour Rudin’s legato in all its persuasive warmth. And to finish, a peculiarity in the form of the Bach-Gounod Ave Maria which can be heard here with orchestra, in this transcription by Andrei Golovin.

Rudin has constructed an iconoclastic programme with internal logic and he plays with great eloquence and warmth; he makes us believe in these transcriptions.

Jonathan Woolf



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