Reflets - Rudin / Noack
Ars Produktion ARS 38 235
Classical - Chamber
Catoire: Violin Sonata
Tchaikovsky: Valse-Scherzo, Op. 34
Rachmaninov: 2 Morceaux, Op. 6
Boulanger: Nocturne, Cortege
Faure: Romance, Op. 28
Ravel: Violin Sonata No. 2
Fedor Rudin (violin)
Florian Noack (piano)
Review by Adrian Quanjer - June 2, 2017
A Belgian pianist and a Russian violinist speaking the same language? Yes they do. Florian Noack is from the Francophone part of Belgium and Fedor Rudin, born in Moscow, studied with Pierre Amoyal in Paris. But French is not their only common language, theirs’ is in the first place musical. Their unique interplay becomes immediately apparent in the first item of their programme, called ‘Reflets’.
The title ‘Reflets’, was chosen to reflect that “all works of art are connected in one way or another, … because they share a common tradition”, and furthermore, because it “is related to our personal histories”, by which, I suppose, is meant the French-Russian connection. Whatever spiritual reflections motivated both to choose their selection of French and Russian pieces, is not of overriding importance, it’s their common music making that counts and will no doubt please the listener.
Georgy Catoire, may not be an all too familiar household name, but he did write some attractive music. His Sonata no. 1, the opening piece in this varied programme, certainly doesn’t breathe anything new, as it still is firmly anchored in the late romantic tradition. In a certain sense it embodies the gist of all that is to follow: A Russian composer with French roots combining influences from both sides. A synthesis of Tchaikovsky and Debussy as it is said? Maybe, but I’m not a proponent of such ideas. For me it is in the first place a continuation of the music of its time and place and, therefore, with perhaps a few exceptions, more Russian than anything else. (Listen to his post-romantic Symphony in C major).
Rudin, expertly supported by Noack, shows himself to be a competent fiddler, much more than I thought of him in a previous recording for ARS as a member of the Fratres Trio, were he was kind of muffled between the piano and the saxophone. In this Sonata he gets the prime seat, ably setting the tone for an entertaining series of miniatures, embraced by the two major items: Catoire’s astonishing and pleasantly rewarding Sonata and Ravel’s famous jazz inspired second Violin Sonata.
Indeed, Tchaikovsky’s Scherzo lands the listener in Fritz Kreisler’s territory, just like the following short pieces by young Rachmaninov, Madame Lili Boulanger, a younger sister of Nadia's, and the delightful Romance from the hands of Gabriel Fauré. All unpretentious yet particularly well played with a soft and round 1680 ‘Paganini-D’Anunzio’ Stradivarius violin. Real mind cleaning stuff in hectic times.
Of course, the real proof of the pudding lies in the interpretation of Ravel’s Sonata, where the competition lurks from every corner, of which no less than 9 in high definition. We all have our particular preferences. Any rendition faces some major difficulties: shading colours and intensities in the first movement, feeling for the ‘blues’ in the second and mastering the virtuoso elements in the third. Rudin does a decent job as far as all three are concerned, but however good he is, it is hard to beat Rosanne Philippens (Rhapsody) or such talents as Alina Ibragimova (violin) & Cédric Tiberghien (piano) on Hyperion in the low-res domain, as well as other readings, which I’m sure readers have in mind.
But looking at the total, there is much to enjoy on this disc. A varied cross section of attractive Russian – French violin repertoire with for many a welcome ‘discovery’ of Georgy Catoire’s violin sonata, of which only a hand full of recordings are available on RBCD.
The sound recording is of the usual high ARS-Produktion standard.
Copyright © 2017 Adrian Quanjer and HRAudio.net