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Georgi CATOIRE (1861-1926)
Violin Sonata No.1 in B minor, Op.15 (pub 1904) [28:36]
Pyotr Ilych TCHAIKOVSKY (1840-1893)
Valse-Scherzo in C major, Op.34 (1877) [8:54]
Sergei RACHMANINOV (1873-1943)
Deux Morceux de salon, Op.6 (1893) [5:19 + 4:52]
Lili BOULANGER (1893-1918)
Deux Morceaux: Nocturne and Cortège (1911/14) [2:43 + 1:36]
Gabriel FAURÉ (1845-1924)
Romance in B flat major, Op.28 (1883) [5:25]
Maurice RAVEL (1875-1937)
Violin Sonata in G major (1923-27) [16:42]
Feodor Rudin (violin)
Florian Noack (piano)
rec. 2017, Immanuelskirche, Wuppertal

Interrelationships and common traditions set the agenda for this Franco-Russian programme from violinist Fedor Rudin, the grandson of Edison Denisov. As a product of Russian training but also French instruction – prominently Zakhar Bron and Pierre Amoyal - Rudin is well placed to explore the two musical languages.

Two sonatas begin and end the recital. In between, levels of reflection and refraction operate – most obviously Fauré being Ravel’s composition and Lili Boulanger’s piano teacher. He and his fine colleague Florian Noack start with Catoire’s Op.15 Sonata, vesting it with flexible expression and a good quotient of necessary passionate intensity. Whilst they hardly challenge that great 1952 recording by Oistrakh and Goldenweiser in terms of tonal and human richness, they do take the central Barcarolle at a more briskly flowing tempo - convincingly so in fact. Whilst less opulent than the Russian duo they are delicate, and aware of the music’s inherent songful qualities.

The Ravel too receives a reading of superior musical discretion. The Blues pizzicati are not overdone, but they’re not decorous either, and once more fine tempo decisions are taken, the music’s ethos being well-judged. Rudin’s many years in France have perhaps enabled him to absorb the stylised character of the work.

It’s often more the case that one encounters Tchaikovsky’s Valse-Scherzo in its guise for violin and orchestra. The violin and piano version is, however, the original and it’s played with crisp rhythm and good balance. Similarly, the two Rachmaninov pieces, which date from 1893, and are somewhat uncharacteristic, and don’t especially presage his maturity to come, make a well-matched team: the reflective lyricism of the Romance fitting well against the fiery stylised bravura of the Danse Hongrois. Cleverly the Rachmaninov Deux Morceaux are balanced by those of Lili Boulanger, the Nocturne as reflective as Rachmaninov’s Romance and the Cortège almost as dynamic as the Russian’s Dance. Fauré is represented by a charming and stylistically apt reading of his Romance, Op.28.

The music here spans the half-century between 1877 and 1927. With a good church acoustic (never swimmy, however) and pertinent notes this is an attractive proposition. Commercially the presence of the Ravel may count against it, because of the work’s relative ubiquity, but the programming makes sense with it and the performances are poised and refreshing.

Jonathan Woolf



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