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Classical - Released May 7, 2012 | Warner Classics International

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Classical - Released July 9, 1990 | RCA Red Seal

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Classical - Released April 15, 2016 | RCA Red Seal

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Classical - Released December 29, 1998 | RCA Red Seal

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Classical - Released September 7, 1998 | RCA Red Seal

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Classical - Released January 1, 2002 | Deutsche Grammophon (DG)

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Classical - Released July 29, 2008 | Onyx Classics

Solo recitals of viola music are constrained by the paucity of repertory for the instrument. Players have to depend almost exclusively on arrangements, which makes this disc by the Russian violist and conductor Yuri Bashmet a bit puzzling. It consists of a hodgepodge of pieces that works better individually than collectively. Admittedly this is a hazard of the favorites-and-encores type of release, but even bearing that in mind Bashmet seems to jump around more than average. The main issue is the presence of more than 20 minutes of viola da gamba music by Marin Marais, plus a concluding little dance by Rameau. You can leave aside doubts about the advisability of performing Marais on a viola and piano; Bashmet's lively old-school readings, which don't try to be Baroque in the least, are enjoyable on their own terms. But the juxtaposition of Marais with the "Farewell Scene" from Prokofiev's Romeo and Juliet may cause you to examine your CD player to see whether it's skipping, and thus to come to a bad end in heavy freeway traffic. None of this is to say that the pure sensuousness of Bashmet's playing doesn't come through here. Experience the viola's purring in the slow movement from Jan Benda's Violin Concert in G major (track 8), and then contrast it with the instrument's dry tone in the Stravinsky Chanson Russe. The scherzo from the jointly composed F.A.E. Sonata (the work was by Brahms, Schumann, and Albert Dietrich, but the scherzo is Brahms'), originally for violin and piano, is rich and energetic in a viola transcription. Old-school though the whole concept may be, this disc is best suited to an Internet-era mode of listening: take it in bits and pieces, and you'll be fine. © TiVo
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Classical - Released September 7, 1998 | RCA Red Seal

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Classical - Released December 29, 1998 | RCA Red Seal