One of the most grown-up review sites around

51,000 reviews
and more.. and still writing ...

Search MusicWeb Here



International mailing

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

Some items
to consider


colourful imaginative harmony
Renate Eggebrecht violin

Leticia Gómez-Tagle
Chopin, Liszt, Scarlatti

Guillaume LEKEU

Book 1 Book 2 Book3
Mota The Triptych: -Website

Acte Prealable returns
with New Releases

Superior performance

Shostakovich 6&7 Nelsons

Verdi Requiem Thielemann

Marianna Henriksson
An outstanding recital

Arnold Bax
Be converted

this terrific disc

John Buckley
one of my major discoveries

François-Xavier Roth
A game-changing Mahler 3


Bryden Thomson


Vaughan Williams Concertos

RVW Orchestral


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

René de BOISDEFFRE (1838-1906)
Works for Viola and Piano 2
Suite orientale, Op.42 [10:14]
Deux morceaux, Op.51 [10:15]
Reverie, Op.55 [4:16]
Suite, Op.56 [9:36]
Andantino, Op.60 [5:06]
Scènes villageoises, Op.86 [11:57]
Trois pièces pittoresques, Op.93 [11:15]
Marcin Murawski (viola)
Urszula Szyryńska (piano)
rec. 2017, Academy of Art, Szczecin

As has been noted before in discs devoted to his violin and flute music, René de Boisdeffre was something of a master melodist. In the wake of such as Gounod, Massenet and Lalo he wrote with supreme ease in the cause of beguiling chamber and instrumental music. That he was soon to be eclipsed by the greater harmonic daring of other better-known names should not have been enough to consign his name to historic silence to quite such an extent as it did. So, it’s good to be reminded of these matters in this second volume of his viola music, though it should be pointed out that he wrote only a small amount of original music for the instrument. Much here has been arranged for the instrument or else is heard in composer-sanctioned alternative instrumentation.

Boisdeffre wrote character pieces best exemplified by the Suite orientale in which the specificity of the image is rendered hazy by the rather generic, but very beautiful, melodies. The music is, in truth, no more oriental than Albert Ketèlbey, but instead offers an extremely lyrical, even songfully folkloric perspective, hinting at salon, but evoking reverie. This seemingly innate gift for melody is direct and honest, the finale’s Danse orientale in no sense Rimsky-like but extremely attractive on its own terms. The first of the Deux Morceaux sounds a little Bruch or Fauré-like in its yearning, even quietly mournful way whilst its companion moves from a near-invocation of Saint-Saëns’s swan to more earnest folksome expression. The Suite, Op.56 was originally conceived for the cello but arranged for viola by Marcin Murawski. There are some rare baroque hints in places but above all ripe and restful warmth.

Some of the pieces were originally cast for oboe and one can well imagine its Eclogue strains. One such is Andantino, Op.60, a simple ABA schema belied by the elegant refinement of the long-breathed lines. Scènes villageoises is a three-movement and compact set and was also originally conceived for the oboe. Its easy movement and warm-hearted generosity of spirit, with strong, rolled piano chords, and charming dance motifs, are as immediately attractive as the Barcarolle finale of the Trois pièces pittoresques.
Murawski’s tone is weighted more to the alto than the tenor, and this lends a lyric urgency to his playing and he is finely accompanied by the alert Urszula Szyryńska. They’ve been given a good recording within which to flourish and the notes are pertinent and to the point.

Jonathan Woolf



We are currently offering in excess of 51,000 reviews

Advertising on

Donate and keep us afloat


New Releases

Naxos Classical

Nimbus Podcast

Obtain 10% discount

Special offer 50% off
15CDs £83 incl. postage

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
Editor in Chief
John Quinn
Seen & Heard
Editor Emeritus
   Bill Kenny
MusicWeb Webmaster
   David Barker
Jonathan Woolf
MusicWeb Founder
   Len Mullenger