Charm, Passion, And Acrobatics

Music For Viola And Piano

Désiré-Émile Inghelbrecht composer
Pierre Kunc composer
Ernest Chausson composer

Misha Galaganov viola
John Owings piano

Release Date: June 10, 2022
Catalog #: NV6434
Format: Digital

The story of Misha Galaganov’s CHARM, PASSION, AND ACROBATICS began when the artist uncovered a trove of forgotten, 19th century viola music in a private library. The music on this album from composers Pierre Kunc, Désiré-Émile Inghelbrecht, and Ernest Chausson has long gone unplayed; Kunc’s musical manuscripts, for example, were kept under lock and key by the Society of Authors, Composers and Publishers of Music until 2021. Featuring challenging virtuosic pieces alongside expressive, impressionistic masterworks, this album celebrates the boundless potential of the viola. The music transports the listener to a French salon of the Belle Époque, guided by Galaganov and Owings’ sensitive and technically-masterful performances.


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Track Listing & Credits

# Title Composer Performer
01 Nocturne for Cello (or Viola) and Piano Désiré-Émile Inghelbrecht Misha Galaganov, viola; John Owings, piano 4:10
02 Sonata For Viola And Piano: I. Très modére; Animé mais pas trop Pierre Kunc Misha Galaganov, viola; John Owings, piano 15:22
03 Sonata For Viola And Piano: II. Intermède “Schumann” Pierre Kunc Misha Galaganov, viola; John Owings, piano 3:36
04 Sonata For Viola And Piano: III. Très lent Pierre Kunc Misha Galaganov, viola; John Owings, piano 7:36
05 Sonata For Viola And Piano: IV. Assez animé Pierre Kunc Misha Galaganov, viola; John Owings, piano 8:42
06 Prélude et Saltarelle Désiré-Émile Inghelbrecht Misha Galaganov, viola; John Owings, piano 6:01
07 Impromptu Désiré-Émile Inghelbrecht Misha Galaganov, viola; John Owings, piano 6:03
08 Rapsodie for Viola and Piano:
Fêtes - Recueillement – Danses
Pierre Kunc Misha Galaganov, viola; John Owings, piano 11:04
09 Piece for Cello (or Viola or Violin)
and Piano, Op. 39
Ernest Chausson Misha Galaganov, viola; John Owings, piano 7:25

Recorded March 11 – 16, 2018 at PepsiCo Recital Hall, Texas Christian University in Fort Worth TX
Recording Session Producer and Engineer Scott Probst
Editing and Mixing Jim Jackson
Cover photo Jack Settle

Executive Producer Bob Lord

Executive A&R Sam Renshaw
A&R Director Brandon MacNeil

VP of Production Jan Košulič
Audio Director Lucas Paquette

VP, Design & Marketing Brett Picknell
Art Director Ryan Harrison
Design Edward A. Fleming
Publicity Patrick Niland, Aidan Curran
Content Manager Sara Warner

Artist Information

Misha Galaganov

Misha Galaganov


Dr. Misha Galaganov performs solo and chamber music concerts in major concert halls in the United States, Middle East, Latin America, Europe, and Asia. He has premiered about 30 compositions for viola alone, viola with piano, and viola in chamber music, written for him by composers from Israel, Russia, Mexico, Peru, Belgium, Italy, Uruguay, and the United States. As Principal Viola of the Dallas Chamber Symphony, he also premiered many pieces written for small symphony orchestra and string chamber ensembles.

John Owings


Praised for his exciting pianism and sensitive artistry, John Owings’ versatile career has ranged from solo and chamber music recitals to concerto appearances in major cities in the United States, Latin America, Europe, and Asia. His critically acclaimed albums include piano music by Samuel Barber, Aaron Copland, Elliott Carter, Robert Casadesus, and Julius Reubke, as well as chamber music by Eric Ewazen, Richard Lavenda, Quincy Porter, and Elena Sokolowski.

A native of San Antonio, Owings received his formal training at the University of Texas, The Royal College of Music in London, and The Juilliard School, where his teachers were Rosina Lhevinne and Martin Canin. His other teachers have included Géza Anda, Dalies Frantz, Karl Leifheit, and Wilhelm Kempff.

Gold medalist of the Robert Casadesus International Piano Competition in Cleveland, Owings also won the Vianna da Motta International Competition in Lisbon, the London Liszt Society Competition, and the Musical Arts Competition in Chicago.

An active proponent of chamber music, Owings has collaborated with many distinguished musicians. He and his colleagues Misha Galaganov (viola) and Gary Whitman (clarinet) formed Trio Con Brio, an ensemble that has commissioned and premiered new works by over a dozen living composers.

A dedicated teacher, Owings’s students have won national and international competitions and enjoy successful careers as performers and educators. He has given master classes in the United States, England, Italy, Colombia, Peru, China, Korea, and Japan, and has been a guest artist at InterHarmony, MusicFest Perugia, Bucaramanga, the Round Top Festival, and PianoTexas International Academy and Festival.

Owings is the Herndon Professor of Music and Chair of the Piano Division at Texas Christian University where he received the school’s highest honor – the Chancellor’s Award – in recognition of his performances of the 32 Beethoven Piano Sonatas. Six sonatas from these live performances have been released as an album.

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Photo: Curtis Calloway


The idea for this recording project started with the acquisition of a collection of sheet music, scores, and books from the library of Armand Pushman, brother of the famous artist Hovsep Pushman. Armand played viola and studied in the Paris Conservatory, France with a renowned pedagogue, Maurice Vieux. Pushman’s library included many compositions featuring viola that are now largely forgotten. I was excited to discover these undeservingly-obscure viola compositions, and I hope that the album will inspire you to seek and perform the pieces featured here.

— Misha Galaganov

Pierre Kunc (1865–1941) was a French organist and composer of beautiful prize-winning compositions, but now his music is undeservingly forgotten because it has never been reprinted! Until very recently, only copyright owners had access to most of Kunc’s manuscripts, guarded by the Society of Authors, Composers and Publishers of Music (SACEM) in Neuilly-sur-Seine; however, according to Kunc’s grand-nephew, C. François Pellecer, the year 2021 marked the beginning of free access to Kunc’s music for all! This gives opportunities for new publications and for renewed interest in performances of his music. Sonata for Viola and Piano (Orchestra) (1921) was written for Paul-Louis Neuberth and his Viola Alta – a very large instrument designed in the late 19th century by Hermann Ritter and Karl Adam Hörlein. In the early 20th century, such instruments sported E string in addition to the regular four viola strings. It is most probable that Neuberth’s Viola-Alta was one of the five-string instruments, because the register for viola is often very high in the sonata, with double stops that can be played naturally on violin, but are high and challenging on viola. The music of the sonata is reminiscent of that by C. Frank, Debussy, and others, but it also has an unmistakable individuality. This piece should take its rightful place alongside the best original viola sonatas – it can be performed on a regular instrument as was done for this recording. Rapsodie (1939) was written for Maurice Vieux and was the last piece published by Kunc. It is a virtuosic work that showcases the possibilities of viola as a solo instrument, and it requires more-than-average technical powers from a performer. The subtitle Fêtes – Recueillement – Danses (Festivities – Contemplation – Dances) hints at a wide range of characters and moods; the composition lends itself to a variety of interpretations and allows substantial performing freedom.

— Misha Galaganov

Désiré-Émile Inghelbrecht (1880 – 1965) was a prominent French conductor, composer, and a close friend of Debussy. He championed Debussy’s music throughout his life, and his recorded interpretations of Debussy’s and Ravel’s works are outstanding. Inghelbrecht was also the first to conduct Mussorgsky’s opera Boris Godunov in France.

Prélude et Saltarelle for Viola and Piano (1907) is one of Inghelbrecht’s early compositions and was probably inspired by his father, who was a viola player at the Paris Opéra.. It is a very charming, salon-type virtuosic piece that fills a niche in viola showpiece repertoire. Being a good violinist, Inghelbrecht knew how to write for the instrument effectively. Unlike the Saltarelle, Impromptu (1922) is a very intense, short, challenging piece, which features much more complex rhythms, harmonies, whole-tone scales, and other techniques of the 20th century. Despite its intensity and harmonic language, the composition is usually an audience pleaser. While researching Inghelbrecht’s output, it was a nice surprise to discover that Nocturne (1905), listed in the composer’s catalog as a work for cello and piano, is also written for viola! This simple, beautiful work is a gem, and it should be performed much more often by both cellists and violists.

— Misha Galaganov

Piece for Cello (or Viola or Violin) and Piano, Op. 39 (1897) by Ernest Chausson (1855 – 1899) is the most well-known work on this program. Tragically, Chausson’s life ended (as a result of a bicycle accident) when he was only 44. Op. 39—his last published piece—seems to indicate changes and transformations in Chausson’s compositional style. Unfortunately, we will never know what other masterpieces he would have written had he lived longer! In a way, Chausson’s slow painstaking way of composing music reminds one of Gustave Flaubert’s slow painstaking way of writing novels. Both were perfectionists who worked on exact choices of words or musical notes until fully satisfied; both published comparably little… Op. 39 is a masterwork. It manages to take a listener through a very meaningful musical journey in only seven minutes, and it is very dense in emotional content; however, this is also the reason why Op. 39 is not easy to understand on the first hearing. Performers should program it in the middle of their recitals, as the audience needs to be “warm” to fully appreciate this meaningful composition.

— Misha Galaganov