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Oeuvres Pour Violon Et Orgue / Anne Robert, Jacques Boucher

Release Date: 09/08/2009 
Label:  Xxi   Catalog #: 1626   Spars Code: n/a 
Composer:  Gustaf HäggJoseph RheinbergerAlbert BeckerMax Reger,   ... 
Performer:  Anne RobertJacques Boucher
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
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Notes and Editorial Reviews

OEUVRES POUR VIOLON ET ORGUE Anne Robert (vn); Jacques Boucher (org) XXI 1626 (61:13)

HÄGG Adagio. RHEINBERGER Abendlied. Gigue. BECKER Adagio. REGER Romanze. SCHROEDER 5 Pieces. Read more class="COMPOSER12">GLÄSER Tröstung. Camillo SCHUMANN Andante cantabile. BURGE Variations éclectiques

At the outset of the 20th century, Paul Stoeving suggested in The Story of the Violin that a new age might bring a reconsideration of the kind of accompaniment (or partnership) most appropriate to the violin, noting how sweetly the instrument had always sung in the string quartet. Recorded in 2007 in the Church of St. John the Baptist in Montréal, Anne Robert and Jacques Boucher’s recital explores the 19th- and 20th-century literature for a combination that’s relatively infrequently represented in recordings. (Heifetz’s reading of Vitali’s Chaconne—in Respighi’s reworking of Charlier’s arrangement with Richard Elsasser from 1950—showed how effective the combination could be and how effectively it could be recorded.)

In Gustav Hägg’s Adagio , Anne Robert’s 1735 Guarneri del Gesù occasionally runs afoul of the upper registers of the Church’s Casavant organ—and perhaps of the reverberant acoustic ambiance as well. Its Romanticism never sounds overstated, though Sylveline Bourion’s notes refer to its “ostentatious torment.” Joseph Rheinberger’s Gigue requires greater virtuosity on the part of the violin; the double-stops, however, occasionally seem strained in competition with the organ’s registration. None of the pieces on the program (except for those by Gläser and Schumann) sound like works written for the violin with organ simply accompanying: the organ, on the contrary, seems almost more than an equal partner—and the same may appear true of the duo itself. Robert’s tone may be strong in the lowest registers as well as in the highest, yet it seems limited in variety, especially in comparison with the organ’s extensive timbral range. In slowly moving passages, like those in Albert Becker’s Adagio , the organ sounds particularly static when playing with the sostenuto violin. Max Reger’s Romanze brings still another number in a slower tempo, but its more active organ part prevents the whole from approaching stasis.

Hermann Schroeder’s Fünf Stücke , comprising Präludium, Rezitativ, Fughette, Rondino, and Passacaglia, provide perhaps more variety in movement types than in the types of interaction among the instruments. For example, the Passacaglia’s theme, appearing in the organ’s lower registers, suggests a complex dialogue that the piece doesn’t fully develop (Bach’s ground-bass-like slow movements in his violin concertos, by contrast, sound imposing and consistently interesting in a setting with violin and organ). Paul Gläser’s Tröstung offers the violin and organ further opportunities for close collaboration; and the organ’s role approaches an orchestral one in variety and in the level of its activity (one of my teachers once remarked that Haydn knew better than to conduct his slow movements in whole notes)—and, at the same time, a pianistic one in its interaction with the violin. Camillo Schumann’s Andante cantabile offers a similar type of collaboration; both composers spoke a late-Romantic language rich in sensitive harmonic nuances, and both composers seemed particularly secure in their writing for violin.

The longest piece on the program, and the one that most ingeniously exploits the combined sonorities of the violin and the organ, also paradoxically sets the violin against the most massive organ sonorities. Burge seems aware, however, of the implied acoustic pitfalls and has either sidestepped or exploited them. The furthest of the pieces from traditional tonality, the Eclectic Variations, nevertheless remains accessible and ingratiating throughout. Robert and Boucher make of the work an exciting showcase for their partnership, for their individual virtuosity, and for the tonal possibilities of their instruments either alone or in combination. (Burge wrote it for them, and it realizes much of what the combined forces of violin and organ might conjure in a listener’s imagination.) While the entire recital can be recommended to those who wish to explore repertoire (like that for violin and harp) not so frequently encountered yet promising a great deal, John Burge’s adrenaline-laced tour de force should appeal more broadly than to the curious.

FANFARE: Robert Maxham
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Works on This Recording

Adagio, Op. 34 by Gustaf Hägg
Performer:  Anne Robert (Violin), Jacques Boucher (Organ)
Period: Romantic 
Length: 5 Minutes 34 Secs. 
Pieces (6) for Violin and Organ, Op. 150: no 2, Abendlied by Joseph Rheinberger
Performer:  Anne Robert (Violin), Jacques Boucher (Organ)
Period: Romantic 
Written: Germany 
Length: 3 Minutes 37 Secs. 
Pieces (6) for Violin and Organ, Op. 150: no 3, Gigue by Joseph Rheinberger
Performer:  Jacques Boucher (Organ), Anne Robert (Violin)
Period: Romantic 
Written: Germany 
Length: 5 Minutes 19 Secs. 
Adagio for Violin and Organ, Op. 81 by Albert Becker
Performer:  Anne Robert (Violin), Jacques Boucher (Organ)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1896; Germany 
Length: 4 Minutes 21 Secs. 
Romanze (Andante con moto) en sol majeur by Max Reger
Performer:  Jacques Boucher (Organ), Anne Robert (Violin)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1905; Germany 
Length: 2 Minutes 11 Secs. 
Pieces (5) for Violin and Organ by Hermann Schroeder
Performer:  Anne Robert (Violin), Jacques Boucher (Organ)
Period: 20th Century 
Length: 11 Minutes 36 Secs. 
Tröstung by Paul Gläser
Performer:  Anne Robert (Violin), Jacques Boucher (Organ)
Period: Romantic 
Length: 5 Minutes 14 Secs. 
Andante cantabile, Op. 3 by Camillo Schumann
Performer:  Jacques Boucher (Organ), Anne Robert (Violin)
Period: Romantic 
Length: 7 Minutes 9 Secs. 
Variations Éclectiques by John Burge
Performer:  Anne Robert (Violin), Jacques Boucher (Organ)
Period: 20th Century 
Length: 15 Minutes 23 Secs. 

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