One of the most grown-up review sites around

Apollo's Fire

Search MusicWeb Here



International mailing

  Founder: Len Mullenger             Senior Editor: John Quinn               Contact Seen and Heard here  

Some items
to consider

Brahms Symphony 4 Dvorak Symphony 9
Peter Aronsky (piano) Les Délices du Piano"
IL Carnevale di Venezia Clarinet with orchestra

Sinfonie Concertanti


A most rewarding CD
Renate Eggebrecht violin

World Premiere
Weinberg’s Concertino (cello)!

Irish-Appalachian Celebration

an inspirational performance

An indispensable acquisition

The finest we have had in years

bewitching sound

Simply amazing

A splendid addition

One of the most enjoyable

quite superb!

utterly essential

A wonderful introduction

An outstanding CD


One of the finest versions

Support us financially by purchasing
this through MusicWeb
for £13.50 postage paid world-wide.

Réne de BOISDEFFRE (1838-1906)
Works for Viola and Piano – Volume 1
Mélodie, Op. 6 [5:05]
Six Pièces, Op. 15 [13:20]
Trois Pièces, Op. 20 [9:51]
Trois Pièces, Op. 26 [10:57]
Berceuse, Op. 34 [4:30]
Trois Pièces, Op. 40 [11:19]
Élévation, Op. 48 [3:36]
Marcin Murawski (viola)
Urszula Szyryńska (piano)
rec. 2017, Academy of Arts in Szczecin, Poland

Réne de Boisdeffre – a name to provoke a quick visit to Wikipedia, because I had never heard of him. His aristocratic name is actually Charles Henri Réne le Mouton de Boisdeffre and he was born in the Bourgogne-Franche-Comte region of France in 1838. Acte Préalable have already issued two CD’s of his music for violin and piano, and here we have volume 1 of his works for viola and piano.

His musical output is almost entirely for chamber forces or voice and/or chorus. No operas and just one orchestral work. The sleeve note says that he was of a conservative musical disposition which led to his output being neglected both before and after he died in 1906. I can believe that, but I must say that he had a vivid melodic ability, amply displayed here in some sixteen very short pieces. They don’t vary in style from the earliest op.6 to the latest op.48 and could easily have come from the pen of Massenet or Gounod when composing in lighter mode – I am tempted to say ‘for the salon’. Indeed, they are so melodic, so ‘singable’ that I feel sure that, had he been so inclined, he could have produced music for the L’Opéra Comique. Take the Berceuse op.34 – its gently swaying, lullaby rhythm could easily find a place as a sentimental aria and the Elegie from Six Pieces op.15, in its falling phrases could form the basis for a gentle love duet.

As with previous Acte Préalable recordings of his music, the impetus appears to have come from Jan A. Jarnicki, who devotes his time to re-discovering the works of forgotten composers. There was not enough original music for viola to fill 2 CDs, so Boisdeffre’s own transcriptions of works originally composed for other forces have been supplemented by the violist’s own arrangements.

The ample sleeve notes describing each piece have been written by the violist, Marcin Murawski. He is most enthusiastic about the music, saying that the listener should “savour the beautiful cantilena (of the Adagietto of the Six pieces op.15) which will, without a doubt remain in their subconscious for a long time”. He is undoubtedly correct, and if you respond to Cecile Chaminade’s short pieces, you will probably like this CD as well.

The recording is full, with an occasionally forward presence for the viola, although I note that he says that an attenuator was used on his instrument for the recording of the Berceuse.

Jim Westhead



Advertising on

Donate and keep us afloat


New Releases

Naxos Classical

Nimbus Podcast

Obtain 10% discount

Special offer 50% off

Musicweb sells the following labels
Acte Préalable
(THE Polish label)
Altus 10% off
Atoll 10% off
CRD 10% off
Hallé 10% off
Lyrita 10% off
Nimbus 10% off
Nimbus Alliance
Prima voce 10% off
Red Priest 10% off
Retrospective 10% off
Saydisc 10% off
Sterling 10% off

Follow us on Twitter

Subscribe to our free weekly review listing

Sample: See what you will get

Editorial Board
MusicWeb International
Founding Editor
Rob Barnett
Senior Editor
John Quinn
Seen & Heard
Editor Emeritus
   Bill Kenny
Editor in Chief
MusicWeb Webmaster
   David Barker
MusicWeb Founder
   Len Mullenger