YSAŸE; CHAUSSON; BOUCHKOV Violin Works
In a sense, there are three artists on this disc from Marc Bouchkov and Georgiy Dubko. This isn’t just a thoughtful and imaginatively conceived recital programme; it’s a full-blown love letter to Eugène Ysaÿe. Everything here takes Ysaÿe as its starting point: his own music, naturally – including the Fifth and Sixth Sonatas for violin solo – but also Chausson’s Poème, which enshrines the soul of Ysaÿe’s playing, and two slight but touching unaccompanied homages to the master by Bouchkov himself.
But the main story here is what Bouchkov believes are the premiere recordings of two fairly sizeable concertante works by Ysaÿe. Légende norvégienne is an enjoyably melodious folk-song fantasy that somehow comes out sounding almost Hungarian. The Fantaisie is a more substantial proposition whose two movements sweep from storm-tossed grandeur to glittering bravura. Bouchkov is more than on top of its technical demands, and adds as a bonus a transcription of an unpublished song, which the pair play with eloquent sweetness.
In fact, the playing throughout is well suited to this music. French-trained Bouchkov has an unmistakably Gallic sound – fierce and tight at the top, full-blooded and sultry at the bottom – and he takes a real delight in Ysaÿe’s rapid-fire shifts of musical character. I particularly liked the way his twilit, ‘covered’ tone started to shine and then blaze in the ‘L’aurore’ movement of the Fifth Sonata. Dubko is an alert and sympathetic partner, though he doesn’t quite match Bouchkov’s sense of fantasy – more colour wouldn’t have gone amiss in the rather pedestrian piano reductions of the orchestral accompaniments to the Fantaisie and Poème. In fact, a full orchestral recording of some of these rediscoveries wouldn’t go amiss, either. Hyperion, are you listening?