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ON 4033
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ON 4033
(this is a multiple CD album sold separately)

Brahms: Brahms and the Viola

The Classical Shop
release date: October 2008

Originally recorded in 2008


Kristine Blaumane


Katya Apekisheva


Jacob Katsnelson


Maxim Rysanov


Boris Brovtsyn



Gnessin College of Music, Moscow

Slabodkin Center Music Hall, Moscow


Pyotr Kondrashin


Maria Soboleva


Paul Moseley


Maxim Rysanov



Pyotr Kondrashin


Maria Soboleva


Record Label



Total Time - 124:29
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Sonata in F minor for clarinet/viola and piano, Op. 120 No. 1

1 I Allegro appassionato 7:52
2 II Andante un poco adagio 5:35
3 III Allegretto grazioso 4:09
4 IV Vivace 4:59

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

  (arr. viola Klengel/Rysanov)  
5 I Vivace ma non troppo 10:33
6 II Adagio 7:56
7 III Allegro molto moderato 8:05

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

8 I Andante - Poco più animato 7:56
9 II Scherzo: Allegro 6:59
10 III Adagio mesto 7:18
11 IV Finale: Allegro con brio 6:03
 Boris Brovtsyn violin
 Katya Apekisheva piano

Select Complete Single Disc for

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

1 I Allegro amabile 8:54
2 II Allegro appassionato 5:00
3 III Andante con moto - Allegro non troppo 7:41

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

4 I Allegro 7:59
5 II Adagio 8:36
6 III Andantino grazioso 4:14
7 IV Allegro 4:40
 Kristine Blaumane cello
 Jacob Katsnelson piano

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 Rysanov’s viola playing is a delight. But to bulk out this collection of Brahms’s music for the viola to two well-filled discs requires the inclusion of two works better known in other instrumental guises. With the best will in the world, it’s hard to imagine that Brahms really considered the viola to be an adequate substitute for the horn in his Op 40 Trio. Superb though Rysanov’s contribution is, it can never compensate for the lack of brass timbre. In the Op 78 Violin Sonata, the transposition is marginally more convincing. But it’s only when you hear the late works for which Brahms genuinely specified the viola - the two sonatas of Op 120 and the Trio with cello and piano Op 114 (even though, in the scores, the viola has to share all them with the clarinet) - that you can hear Rysanov at his most persuasive, and delight in his musicianship for its own sake."

Andrew Clements

The Guardian - 29 November 2008

"Brahms gave the meagre viola repertoire a huge boost with his arrangements of his late clarinet sonatas and trio. All three works acquired a more veiled cast in the process. But while the viola is less attuned to the cussed side of the trio, its plangent timbre enhances the reflective, twilit moods of the sonatas.
The other arrangements here are more problematic. The G major Violin Sonata becomes a much more sombre affair transposed down to D major for viola. Inevitably, too, the viola is an uncomfortable substitute for the horn in the Op 40 Trio, above all in the rollicking "hunting" finale.
That said, Maxim Rysanov, in close communion with his colleagues, quells misgivings with his lustrous, burnt-sienna tones and Brahmsian generosity of feeling.
On occasion the players can overdo the dreamy or rueful lingerings. But these are performances of great beauty and expressive subtlety, recommended especially to those who like the music’s autumnal regret underlined."

Richard Wigmore

Daily Telegraph - 24 October 2008

"Two wonderful young viola players currently grace the British musical scene: Lawrence Power and the Ukraine-born, London-based Rysanov, whose tone and musicianship are captivating here. Like any serious violist, he quite reasonably lays claim to a full corpus of Brahms’s music, including the two late sonatas usually assigned to the clarinet, the E flat horn trio and the marvellous A minor clarinet trio. On top of that, he has commandeered the G major violin sonata in his own edition of Paul Klengel’s transcription (the other arrangements being Brahms’s). It all makes for a double album of sustained intensity, haunting mellifluousness and acute pleasure."

Paul Driver

Sunday Times - 16 November 2008

"But for the first Violin Sonata, all the arrangements on this superlative double-disc are Brahms’s own.

Clarinettists may protest, but the F minor and E flat Sonatas have special intimacy here, while the dialogue in the E flat Trio for horn/viola, violin and piano is intensified. Rysanov’s tone is magnetic, from its sparkling top to its burnished bass. Violinist Boris Brovtsyn, pianists Katya Apekisheva and Jacob Katsnelson and cellist Kristine Blaumane are equally impressive."

Anna Picard

Indeoendent On Sunday - 16 November 2008

"Brahms for viola played at a very, very high level—one of the best of the year!"  *****
Stephen Ritter

Audiophile Edition USA - 23 December 2008

                                   - "Outstanding" -

"Let me say right away I adored these discs...Rysanov is a superb player, with quite the silkiest, most seductive tone I’ve heard in a long time..."

International Record Review - January 2009

                                            - Editor’s Choice -

Gramophone - January 2009

                                        - Best of the Year 2008 -

Audiophile Edition USA

                                             - Recording of the Month  -

MuiscWebInternational - February 2009

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