Kristine Blaumane

Cello

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Elena Langer: Landscape With Three People

Elena Langer: Landscape With Three People


Langer, E:

Landscape With Three People

Snow

The Storm Cloud (Tucha)

Two Cat Songs

Ariadne

Stay O Sweet


Anna Dennis (soprano), William Towers (countertenor), Nicholas Daniel (oboe), Roman Mints (violin), Meghan Cassidy (viola), Kristine Blaumane (cello), Robert Howarth (harpsichord), Katya Apekisheva (piano)

A selection of chamber works by Elena Langer (b.1974, Moscow), notable for their playful counterpoint and delicate textures. The London-based composer delights in exploring the endless soundworlds of voices and instruments.

'Landscape With Three People' dates from 2013, with texts by poet Lee Harwood.

Elena moved to London to complete her degrees first at the Royal College of Music and then at the Royal Academy of Music. She has studied with Julian Anderson, Simon Bainbridge, Gerard McBurney and taken lessons with Sofia Gubaidulina (Centre Acanthes, France), Dmitri Smirnov, Jo Kondo and Jonathan Harvey. In 2002 and 2003 Elena was the first ever composer-in-residence at the Almeida Theatre, London.

She has received commissions and performances from organisations such as The Royal Opera House's ROH2, Zurich Opera, Carnegie Hall, The Britten and Strauss Festival in Aldeburgh, Park Lane Group, St. Petersburg's Music Spring, Chamber Music Series "XX/XXI" of the Bayerische Staatsoper (Germany). This recording project was generously funded by Blyth Valley Chamber Music, the Ralph Vaughan Williams Trust and a large number of individuals. The new CD will be launched in parallel with the first public performances in Cardiff of the composer’s 'Figaro Gets A Divorce', a new opera for Welsh National Opera under David Pountney.

“[Landscape with Three People] nimble and light, sensual without forcing the point, folksy but not quite fey; whimsical, in the deconstructed manner of Berio or Nono. The two voices lilt together [and]…the performance is excellent — especially from Dennis, whose voice is beautifully grainy but still laced with metal. The album also contains older Langer songs including the haunting Russian lament Tucha and a feverish 17-minute monologue called Ariadne.” The Guardian, January 2016 ****

“This is the first disc solely dedicated to the music of Elena Langer and it offers and exquisitely performed showcase of her vocal-chamber works…here the human voice is also centre-stage in music of crystalline, bright purity…the refined voices of Anna Dennis and William Towers intertwine with moving lyricism…Dennis inhabits every corner of the lamenting, lovesick Ariadne in her thorny, freewheeling monologue” BBC Music Magazine, April 2016

“[Langer] is a natural dramatist to her fingertips; everything she touches it just tingles with storytelling … it’s got a lovely texture because of those baroque resources … I feel the spirit of Britten is there… I really love the quality of the voices here, it’s beautifully performed” CD Review, 05/03/2016

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Beethoven: Duos for viola and violin, Trio, Cello Sonata No.5

Beethoven: Duos for viola and violin, Trio, Cello Sonata No.5


Beethoven:

Pieces for a Mechanical Clock WoO 33 No. 4

Pieces for a Mechanical Clock WoO 33 No. 5

Duet for Viola and Cello in E flat major, WoO 32 'Eyeglass'

Piano Trio No. 4 in B flat major, Op. 11 'Gassenhauer', for viola, cello & piano

Serenade for string trio in D major, Op. 8: Theme & variations

Cello Sonata No. 5 in D major, Op. 102 No. 2


Maxim Rysanov (viola), Kristine Blaumane (cello) & Jacob Katsnelson (piano)

Maxim Rysanov and friends turn their attention to Beethoven after two highly praised Brahms Viola CDs, ONYX4033 and 4054. Here we have some rare early Beethoven coupled with some late great Beethoven.

The Sonatine WoO 33 was published together with three movements for mechanical clock that Beethoven composed in the early 1790s. The Sonatine is thought to date from 1797. The Trio Op.11 was composed for piano, clarinet and cello, and here it is heard in Rysanov’s own arrangement with the viola replacing the clarinet. Beethoven’s early Serenade for string trio Op.8 of 1797 was arranged (with the composer’s lukewarm approval – he wrote that they ‘were much improved by me in places’) for viola and piano in 1804 as Op.42. The version used here of the 'Theme, Variations and March' is by William Primrose. Finally, from the composer’s later period, we have the last of his five cello sonatas played by Kristine Blaumane and pianist Jacob Katsnelson.

“Arranging and unearthing are key words here...Hard though it might be to sum up this assortment in a simple category, it is chamber music playing of intimacy, range and flair.” The Observer, 5th August 2012

“the individuality and strength of idea that Beethoven brings to a classical format is dynamically vivified; the Clarinet Trio sounds thoroughly idiomatic in its viola manifestation; and Katsnelson and Blaumane give a sublime, sinewy performance of the Fifth Cello Sonata. A fascinating disc.” The Telegraph, 10th August 2012

“This is the kind of disc that could easily get overlooked, offering as it does a potpourri of mostly lesser-known Beethoven. But that would be a great shame, for it's packed full of delicious surprises, superbly played...there are plenty of opportunities to relish the beauty of Maxim Rysanov's sound in the upper reaches...The rip-roaring finale [of the Clarinet Trio] is particularly effective, dancing with wit and rhythmic elan.” Gramophone Magazine, Awards Issue 2012

“In the Clarinet Trio, Rysanov has adapted the violin part (itself Beethoven's own alternative for the perkier wind instrument) for viola. No harm in that, especially when the playing is as polished as this. But the lone masterpiece here is the Cello Sonata, Op. 102 No. 2, and Kristina Blaumane and Jacob Katsnelson really plumb the depths of its great Adagio.” BBC Music Magazine, November 2012 ****

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Brahms Works for Viola II

Brahms Works for Viola II


Brahms:

String Quintet No. 2 in G major, Op. 111

with Boris Brovtsyn (violins), Julia Deyneka (viola), Kristine Blaumane (cello)

Clarinet Quintet in B minor, Op. 115

(arranged for viola)

with Mariana Osipova

Two songs for contralto with viola obbligato, Op. 91

with Alice Coote (mezzo-soprano) & Ashley Wass (piano)


Maxim Rysanov completes his survey of all Brahms’s chamber works to feature the viola.

On this companion CD to ONYX4033 he is joined by Alice Coote and Ashley Wass in the Two Songs op.91, and takes the solo viola part – the clarinet role – in the op.115 Quintet.

Richard Mühlfeld, the clarinettist for whom Brahms wrote his two sonatas and the quintet, managed to coax Brahms out of self-imposed retirement, and the result is the wonderful Indian summer of late chamber works. Joseph Joachim remarked that the clarinet parts would work well transcribed for viola. Brahms lavished much care on these arrangements, and they have entered the repertoire for the viola, in contrast to the transcriptions of the clarinet sonatas for violin, which remain virtually unperformed.

There may also have been a commercial motive in making such adaptations: the wider the market for chamber music, the more money the publisher and composer would receive. Either way, these transcriptions are valuable additions to the repertoire of the viola.

Maxim Rysanov performed at the 2010 BBC Proms, including the Last Night.

“Viola discs are flooding the market currently...but this Brahms chamber music CD from Maxim Rysanov steals the limelight...It's addictive.” The Observer, 27th February 2011

“In the rhapsodic musings of the slow movement Rysanov becomes the idealised incarnation of the gypsy fiddler that Brahms surely had in mind when composing that uniquely florid part. The whole work recieves a performance of such intensity and expressive unanimity that I'm convinced this version was worth disinterring.” BBC Music Magazine, April 2011 ****

“Rysanov demonstrates yet again his sensitivity and empathy with these pieces. The rich warmth of his tone complements the melancholic autumnal feel which pervades this collection of late works, particularly in the compelling songs, with Alice Coote's beautiful emotive vocal phrasing.” Classic FM Magazine, May 2011 *****

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Leonid Desyatnikov: The Leaden Echo

Leonid Desyatnikov: The Leaden Echo


Desyatnikov:

Return

world premiere recording

Du Côté de chez Swan

Variations on Obtaining of Dwelling

Wie der alte Leiermann…

The Leaden Echo

Main theme from Moscow Nights (Katya Izmailova) motion picture (1994)

world premiere recording


Roman Mints, William Purefoy, Maxim Rysanov, Kristine Blaumane, Boris Andrianov, Alexei Goribol, Dmitri Bulgakov, Jacob Katsnelson, Anton Dressler, Anna Panina, Fedor Lednev, Pavel Stepin, Serj Poltavski, Evgeny Rumyantsev & Petr Kodrashin

Leonid Desyatnikov is one of the most successful living Russian composers. The release of Leaden Echo with words by Gerard Manley Hopkins is one of the disc’s six works which the composer considers to be amongst the most important of his output. Roman Mints has brought together some of the finest Russian musicians recording today along with the outstanding young British counter tenor William Purefoy.

“The performances are technically flawless and have a hint of missionary zeal about them, as if the performers know how much Desyatnikov's international standing hangs on their first portrait CD, and the excellent recording captures that sense of excitement.” International Record Review, May 2011

“In this first all-Desyatnikov album released in the UK, we are transported to an eerie, sometimes dream-like and often disturbing soundworld...But it's the title track...which most suggests that Desyatnikov may be a successor of Schnittke's nightmarish world...The performances, supervised by the composer, are exemplary.” BBC Music Magazine, August 2011 ****

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Brahms Works for Viola I

Brahms Works for Viola I


Brahms:

Viola Sonata No. 1 in F minor, Op. 120 No. 1

Katya Apekisheva (piano)

Violin Sonata No. 1 in G major, Op. 78

Katya Apekisheva (piano)

Horn Trio in E flat major, Op. 40

Katya Apekisheva (piano) & Boris Brovtsyn (violin)

Viola Sonata No. 2 in E flat major, Op. 120 No. 2

Jacob Katsnelson (piano)

Clarinet Trio in A minor, Op. 114

Jacob Katsnelson (piano) & Kristine Blaumane (cello)


This exciting release gathers together in one neat package the two late sonatas for which Brahms’ viola versions have become standard repertoire together with two trios for Clarinet and Horn that are more rarely heard for viola but work equally well. For this recording Max also plays the Klengel arrangement of the G Major Violin Sonata (with a few revisions of his own)

Played by one of the world’s most charismatic violists Maxim Rysanov, of whom Yuri Bashmet declared “my rival has arrived!” Remarkably, Max has been awarded Editor’s Choice from Gramophone Magazine for both his recital discs to date, including Kancheli’s Styx and Tavener’s The Myrrh-Bearer on ONYX (ONYX4023) of which the reviewer said “it was a privilege to review”

Maxim is accompanied by several of Russia’s most exciting younger generation of players. Katya Apekisheva for example recently won an Editor’s Choice for her debut CD of Grieg Lyric Pieces, while Kristine Blaumane has recently been appointed principal cellist of the London Philharmonic Orchestra

Max embarks on a major Brahms tour with Katya Apekisheva and others to coincide with this release with many dates in UK and France in November (please see ONYX website Concert Schedule for exact details). His other regular recital partners are Janine Jansen, Julian Rachlin and Mischa Maisky.

“In the First Sonata, in which Rysanov is accompanied by the excellent Katya Apekisheva, the music is more freely phrased, with a humorous sense of the latent waltz in the Allegretto and plenty of vigour in the finale. Rysanoc and Jacob Katsnelson are also more effective with the Second Sonata, especially in the agreeably conversational manner they adopt in the final variations, as when the melodic line flows seamlessly between them in the grazioso section.” Gramophone Magazine, January 2009

“…I found Rysanov's performances of both Sonatas compelling, vivid and packed with moments of great musical insight. The two trio performances are also extremely enjoyable…” BBC Music Magazine, January 2009 ****

“Brahms was the first to admit that he hadn't entirely solved the new problems of balance in the works that replace the clarinet with a viola (the clarinet sonatas and the Op 114 Trio). With recording, of course, some help can be given.
The viola is well forward in the performances by Rysanov, and this suits the music's extrovert, eloquent manner. In the First Sonata, in which Rysanov is accompanied by the excellent Katya Apekisheva, the music is more freely phrased, with a humorous sense of the latent waltz in the Allegretto and plenty of vigour in the finale. In the Op 114 Trio, the outside movements benefit from the vivid sense of melodic direction provided by Rysanov and Katsnelson.
The G major Violin Sonata was also written for Joachim, and arranged for viola not by Brahms but by his publisher Simrock's editor Paul Klengel. Transposing it from G down a fourth to D to accommodate the viola loses the music something of its elegance, but this is a persuasive performance. Persuasiveness is also needed in Op 40, which began life as the Horn Trio. Not all the cheerful vigour that Rysanov and Apekisheva provide can make the finale seem anything but a piece of hunting exuberance, but they do splendidly with the Scherzo and the Adagio mesto.”
Gramophone Classical Music Guide, 2010

GGramophone Magazine

Editor's Choice - January 2009

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Barber, Grieg, Martinu: Works for Cello and Piano

Barber, Grieg, Martinu: Works for Cello and Piano


Barber:

Cello Sonata in C minor, Op. 6

Grieg:

Cello Sonata in A minor, Op. 36

Martinu:

Variations on a Slovak folksong for Cello & Piano, H. 378


Kristine Blaumane (cello) & Jacob Katsnelson (piano)

“...Kristine Blaumane… is a technically fine player… Her passionate playing is heard to best effect in Barber's apprentice Sonata…” Gramophone Magazine, Awards Issue 2008

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Roman Mints plays Langer, Mozetich and Schnittke

Roman Mints plays Langer, Mozetich and Schnittke


Langer, E:

Platch for violin and string orchestra

world premiere recording

West Kazakhstan Philharmonic Orchestra, Mikel Toms

Mozetich:

Affairs of the Heart - Concerto for violin and string orchestra

New Prague Sinfonia, Mikel Toms

Schnittke:

Concerto for Three

Concerto for violin, viola, cello and chamber orchestra

Maxim Rysanov (viola) & Kristine Blaumane (cello)

West Kazakhstan Philharmonic Orchestra, Mikel Toms


Roman Mints (violin)

“The Russian violinist Roman Mints demonstrates a huge talent in this stimulating disc of contemporary works. The youngest composer represented here is Elena Langer, born in Moscow in 1974. Her two-movement Platch is an essay in invented folklore… The emotive demands of the solo part require Mints's technique to scale vertiginous heights: as a showpiece of hysterical lament - issuing at last in an old Yiddish lullaby - the piece succeeds admirably.” BBC Music Magazine, May 2007 *****

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