Alexander Grechaninov saw much change in the course of his long life (1864-1956), fleeing Revolutionary Russia into exile, first in Paris and then the United States. A member of the second generation of nationalist composers — he was a student of Rimsky-Korsakov and Taneyev — he never abandoned an essentially Russian lyricism, as these attractive but largely unknown viola works make clear.
Elena Artamonova, viola Nicholas Walker, piano
Viola Sonata No. 2 in F major, Op. 172 (1943) https://d3i77y9w5vf4up.cloudfront.net/TOCC0234/TOCC0234t04.mp3
Transcriptions of Claude Debussy (pub. 1946) https://d3i77y9w5vf4up.cloudfront.net/TOCC0234/TOCC0234t13.mp3
Early Morning, Op. 126b (1930) https://d3i77y9w5vf4up.cloudfront.net/TOCC0234/TOCC0234t15.mp3
In modo antico: Suite, Op. 81 (1918) https://d3i77y9w5vf4up.cloudfront.net/TOCC0234/TOCC0234t25.mp3
Catalogue No: TOCC0234EAN/UPC: 5060113442345Release Date: 07.04.2014Composer: Alexander Grechaninov Artists: Elena Artamonova, Nicholas Walker
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Jonathan Woolf :
“…There is a high quotient of charm in Grechaninov’s chamber music, and that is an element that figures prominently here [Sonata Op. 161]. His penchant for vocal composition ensures that the melodies are at all times winningly warm, not least in the lyric effusions of the central Canzona movement. I hear hints of Spanish music in the finale though there is certainly a strain of Russian folklore buzzing merrily throughout, and some passages sound almost like Dvořák. …[Sonata Op. 172:] Here Slavic folk affiliations are to the fore, and a vigorous and engaging variation for solo piano too. I was most taken by the third variation where the piano’s gruff enquiries are met by a pliant viola response. There’s a viola cadenza before the spirited and exciting toccata-like coda. …These richly lyrical works, all pretty much unknown, receive highly persuasive and stylistically apt performances from Artamonova – who writes the excellent booklet notes – and Nicholas Walker. Well worth getting to know, in fact.” MusicWeb International
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