Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
|Johannes Brahms, Katya Apekisheva, Jacob Katsnelson|
Brahms: Music for Viola
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Viola superstars are rare, but Rysanov is the real thing
Santa Fe Listener | Santa Fe, NM USA | 12/26/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Will the flood of great Russian string players ever cease? It comes close to the truth to call Ukrainian violist Maxim Rysanov the Vengerov of the viola. He plays with the same heroic tone and great passion. Here, Rysanov, just voted the Gramophone's Young Artist of the Year 2008, totally transforms Brahms' late viola sonatas -- origiannnly written for clarinet -- setting them on fire where other musicians are content to pay melancholy homage. The variety and drama imparted to both sonatas is impossible to miss. But there's also a special Russian mystery that is unique to this version. Onyx's impeccable sonics don't hurt, either. Rysanov is paired with equally dynamic pianists in Katya Apekisheva and Jacob Katsnelson, especially the former.
All great violists try to expand the instrument's repertoire, and here Rysanov adds his own arrangemenet of the Brahms Violin Sontas #1 in G major, whose sad beauty perfectly suits the viola's faint mournfulness. As a duo, the pianist and violist continue to be in perfect accord. Another arrangement follows (this one by the composer, I assume) of the Horn Trio Op. 40. Turning the work into a normal piano trio doesn't distort any of the lines, but I'm afraid there's a big problem in exchanging the horn's plangent, dominant brass tone with the recessive viola -- the result sounds listless and without color. Turning the Clarinet Trio Op. 114 into a piano trio with viola sounds more convincing, perhaps because the autumnal tone of this late work is more suitably subdued. Kristine Blaumane provides cello playing as sterling as his partners'.
There would probably be a wider market if the two trios had been left out and the three sonatas fit on to a single generous CD, but as it is this is a brilliant recording, by far the best account of the viola sonatas that I have ever heard.