Terry Robbins
The Whole Note, Canada
March 2015

The three works here—the Fantasia in E Major Op 12, the Adagio symphonique in B Major Op 20 and the Violin Concerto in B Minor Op 17—were all written within a three-year period around the turn of the last century, when Jongen was still in his 20s. All are beautifully crafted Romantic works, with the concerto in particular a major composition with a quite beautiful slow movement.

Also included is the Rapsodie in E Minor by Jongen’s contemporary Sylvio Lazzari (1857—1944). Although born in Italy, Lazzari lived in France for most of his life and was influenced by Gounod, Franck and Chausson as well as by Wagner. His music has remained mostly unperformed since his death, but if this beautiful Rapsodie is anything to go by, then we’ve all been really missing something. Graffin is, as usual, superb in every respect throughout the CD, with a luscious tone, expansive and nuanced phrasing, and sensitivity and passion to burn. He is given terrific support by Brabbins and the orchestra.