Pavane - works by Ravel, Fauré, Debussy, Dubugnon for viola and piano / Rysanov


The viola continues apace advancing its share of representation as a solo instrument in the catalog of classical recordings. We generally see a half dozen or so added to the catalog each month, and if memory serves me, there are now four titles on Expedition Audio devoted to the viola as a solo instrument (you can search E.A. for "viola" to find them). To illustrate just how far the instrument has come in a relatively short period of time, consider that the Conservatoire de Paris, established in 1795, did not offer a viola class until 1894; ninety-nine years after the establishment of the violin and cello programs! Where did orchestras get enough violists for, well, the Romantic period?

Violist Maxim Rysanov's program on this BIS Super Audio CD is made up of some very familiar charmers from composers of the impressionist period plus two pieces by one composer who is working today, Richard Dubugnon, born in 1968. Highlights of the earlier works include Ravel's Pavane pour une infante défunte, Debussy's Clair de Lune and Fauré's Pavane. These are all transcriptions, of course, and the hushed, wistful tone of the viola benefits Rysanov's superbly musical performances. The two works by Richard Dubugnon, Incantatio, in three movements and Lied are both transcriptions by the composer of earlier works for cello and for double bass respectively. We offer his Lied as a sample of Mr. Dubugnon's work. Incantatio is somewhat less tonal, darker and edgier. I found both to be very interesting.

Mr. Rysanov is a prizewinner of the Genera International Viola Competition and was the Classic FM Gramophone Young Artists of the Year. He is accompanied by pianist Ashley Wass, a winner at the London International Piano Competition and prizewinner at the Leeds Piano Competition. From the excellent booklet notes comes this quotation of François Couperin: "I love that which touches me much better than that which surprises me." If you feel that way too, you'll enjoy this recording.

Richard Dubugnon: Lied, Op. 44b