Gramophone: Editor's Choice September 2011.
Described as 'a prince among violists', Maxim Rysanov was in 2010 chosen to perform at the Last Night of the Proms. On that illustrious occasion he played his own adaptation of Tchaikovsky's Rococo Variations, in a performance described by one reviewer as so seductive that it 'almost made one forget that it had been composed for the cello.'
For the present disc, Rysanov has chosen to record the work with the expert support of the Swedish Chamber Orchestra under the conductor Muhai Tang. The strings of that orchestra also join him in another work usually performed on the cello – and usually with the original piano accompaniment. Schubert's Sonata in A minor was composed for the arpeggione, a synthesis of cello and guitar invented in Vienna in 1823, and soon all but forgotten. It is in fact only Schubert's glorious sonata that has ensured that the name – if not the instrument itself – has survived. Commissioned by the soloist, the Bulgarian-born composer Dobrinka Tabakova has orchestrated it with the aim to 'retain the lightness and delicacy of the accompaniment, and remain as true to the original score as possible.’
The programme is rounded off with the one completely original composition on this disc, namely the autumnal Romance in F major by Max Bruch, who in his 73rd year used all the skill acquired during a long life to express his nostalgia for a musical language irrevocably lost. On his previous disc for BIS, Rysanov also turned to the cello repertoire, performing three of Bach's suites for solo cello. That recording was selected for a special recommendation in The Strad and chosen as Classical CD of the Week in the Daily Telegraph. On the German website klassik.com, one reviewer proved particularly prophetic as he wrote that 'Rysanov, if he continues to record such successful transcriptions for the viola, will be giving cellists a hard match in their traditional repertoire.'