La Scena Musicale

Sunday, 14 December 2008

Œuvres pour violon et orgue

Anne Robert, violon; Jacques Boucher, orgue
XXI 1626 (61 min 13 s)
*****
Music for the organ and violin has received little attention for the last 120 years, but this disc of 13 pieces from eight composers demonstrates how both Romantic and Modern composers value the two instruments. The gems are found at the beginning and end. The album opens with the gloomy organ chords of the late Romantic Swedish composer Gustav Hägg’s Adagio, Op. 34. After the first few solo bars, the violin enters singing a dejected melody that sets the tone for the entire album.
Canadian composer John Burge’s dramatic and musical Variations Éclectiques, written especially for Robert and Boucher, closes the album. Based on variations of minor and chromatic themes heard in the first few bars, the 15-minute piece is driven, yet haunting. The violin is played with precision and poise while the organ permeates with rhythmic, yet dark themes, occasionally pushing the tempo into a 3/4 waltz. While the music borders on the sinister, the duo brings to life Burge’s ghostly lyricism. Other highlights include Paul Gläser’s lamenting Troestung and Herman Schroder’s well crafted Funf Stücke für Violine und Orgel. The poignant melodies from Robert’s violin and Boucher’s lyrical, yet often melancholic, organ create a powerful and emotional hour of music.

- Andrew Buziak

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