Brahms Works for Viola I

Onyx: ONYX4033

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Brahms Works for Viola I


Gramophone Magazine

Editor's Choice - January 2009



Catalogue No:


Release date:

29th Sept 2008




2 hours 4 minutes


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Brahms Works for Viola I


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)

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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.

Johannes Brahms: Sonata in F minor for clarinet/viola and piano, Op. 120, No. 1

I. Allegro appassionato

II. Andante un poco adagio

III. Allegretto grazioso

IV. Vivace

Johannes Brahms: Violin Sonata No. 1 in G major, Op. 78 (arr viola Klengel/Rysanov)

I. Vivace ma non troppo

II. Adagio

III. Allegro molto moderato

Johannes Brahms: Trio in E-flat major for horn/viola, violin and piano, Op. 40

I. Andante - Poco piu animato

II. Scherzo: Allegro

III. Adagio mesto

IV. Finale: Allegro con brio

Johannes Brahms: Sonata in E-flat major for clarinet/viola and piano, Op. 120, No. 2

I. Allegro amabile

II. Allegro appassionato

III. Andante con moto - Allegro non troppo

Johannes Brahms: Trio in A minor for clarinet/viola, cello and piano, Op. 114

I. Allegro

II. Adagio

III. Andantino grazioso

IV. Allegro

Gramophone Magazine

January 2009

“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.”

BBC Music 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…”

Gramophone Classical Music Guide


“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.”

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