In 1906, when the people of the Czech town of Policka raised funds to send the local talent Bohuslav Martinu to the Prague Conservatoire, it was with the hope that he would become a violin virtuoso. Martinu’s real passion lay in composition, however, and within a few years his failure to apply himself to his studies led to his expulsion from the Conservatoire. Remaining in Prague he was a regular in the second violin section of the Czech Philharmonic, while throwing himself into composition. In 1923 Martinu moved to Paris, where he received tuition from Albert Roussel, and this marked the end of his career as a violinist. Whether he ever tried his hand at the viola isn'tRead more known, but he clearly enjoyed its distinctive sound: several early orchestral scores feature prominent viola solos, and later in his career, after a further move to the U.S.A., Martinu were to compose four works which all belong to the central 20th century repertoire for the instrument. Maxim Rysanov, one of today's leading viola players, has gathered these works on this disc, opening with the Rhapsody-Concerto from 1952. In this lyrical two-movement work, characterized by sustained legato writing, sudden changes of mood and texture and a vivid style of orchestration, Rysanov is supported by the BBC Symphony Orchestra, conducted by the eminent Martin? expert Jirí Belohlávek. The two Duos for violin and viola which follow are slightly earlier (from 1947 and 1950, respectively) and were written with the husband-and-wife team Joseph and Lillian Fuchs in mind. Here the young Russian violinist Alexander Sitkovetsky joins Rysanov, in two scores where exacting technical demands bring the reward of an astonishing richness in sounds and variety from such a sparse instrumentation. Maxim Rysanov closes the disc in the company of the pianist Katya Apekisheva, performing the Viola Sonata of 1955 – like the Rhapsody-Concerto in two movements, with a tough, passionate mood that often recalls the composer's better-known cello sonatas. Read less
Works on This Recording
Rhapsody-Concerto for Viola and Orchestra, H 337by Bohuslav Martinu Performer:
Maxim Rysanov (Viola)
BBC Symphony Orchestra
Period: 20th Century Written: 1952 Date of Recording: 11/10/2011 Venue: Live Barbican Hall, London, England Length: 19 Minutes 30 Secs.
Duo for Violin and Viola no 2, H 331by Bohuslav Martinu Performer:
Alexander Sitkovetsky (Violin),
Maxim Rysanov (Viola)
Period: 20th Century Written: 1950; Paris, France Date of Recording: 12/2012 Venue: Potton Hall, Suffolk, England Length: 15 Minutes 19 Secs.
Sonata for Viola and Piano no 1by Bohuslav Martinu Performer:
Maxim Rysanov (Viola),
Katya Apekisheva (Piano)
Period: 20th Century Written: 1955 Date of Recording: 12/2012 Venue: Potton Hall, Suffolk, England Length: 16 Minutes 36 Secs.
Average Customer Review: ( 1 Customer Review )
Beautiful Music Beautifully PlayedAugust 18, 2015By David H. (Cheshire, CT)See All My Reviews"These pieces must be some of Martinu's loveliest, and the sound of the viola, so infrequently heard at any great length as a solo instrument, is truly beautiful. It's 20th-century music, and for me that means it requires a little more listening than other types before it gets into my head and my heart, and frankly, these pieces aren't quite there yet. But I have no doubt that they're going to be! I'm really enjoying listening to this disc."Report Abuse