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Track(s) taken from CDHLL7562

Concerto for viola and strings


Maxim Rysanov (viola), The Hallé Orchestra, Delyana Lazarova (conductor)
Studio Master FLAC & ALAC downloads available
Studio Master:
Studio Master:
Recording details: September 2022
Hallé St Peter's, Ancoats, Manchester, United Kingdom
Produced by Steve Portnoi
Engineered by Tony Wass
Release date: October 2023
Total duration: 19 minutes 47 seconds

‘The Song of the Enchanting Viola’ was the working title for this concerto, alluding to our minds’ tendency to float into another world while listening to music, and creating mental images and stories. The emotional content of the piece is quite clear and the four movements each represent a different emotion. A highly virtuosic work, it shows the full range of the viola and requires great stamina from the soloist. There is a lot of string crossing and leaps and, much like a crossword, the soloist has to find the most logical route through the work.

The opening chord is confident and striking and plunges the soloist straight into a challenging passage with the very first phrase. This is the character with which the rest of the movement continues, before reaching the demanding cadenza towards the end. In many ways this movement acts as an overture for the concerto, as many of its musical ideas are used in different contexts throughout the piece.

The second movement is nostalgic yet elevating, with a lamenting solo viola melody that leads a dialogue with an equally passionate solo violin line. Almost like a lullaby, it’s a very intimate, soulful and lyrical movement.

The third movement starts with an overtone effect, developed by Maxim Rysanov. It is a playful movement, the most animated in the concerto, characterised by pizzicato strings and a dialogue with the soloist that builds the tension for the final movement. There is no break between the third and fourth movements, and the start of the finale is marked by a change in tempo and a pentatonic chorale. This final movement, like the first, is confident and powerful, presenting material from previous movements in a different light before ending right at the top of the soloist’s fingerboard.

Maxim Rysanov and I studied together at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama and he was one of the first people to commission a piece from me. I had written a number of smaller chamber pieces for him before this much larger work. He premiered the concerto on 16 February 2004 at St John’s Smith Square, London with the Russian Chamber Orchestra of London, conducted by Julian Gallant.

from notes by Dobrinka Tabakova © 2023

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