Philippe Graffin


Philippe has, as usual, been very busy in the recording studio

and these are some of his latest releases:


BRITTEN Violin Concerto Op 15
(Philharmonia Orchestra / Collon)
Delius Violin Concerto
Robin Milford The Darkling Thrush
(Royal Scottish National Orchestra / Lloyd-Jones)
Dutton Epoch CDLX7320

"I defy anyone not to be profoundly moved by the reserves of pathos and emotional candour that this intrepid fiddler quarries in the concerto's powerful closing minutes. It's the standout item on this two-channel hybrid SACD and no fan of either Britten or Graffin should miss hearing it."
Andrew Achenbach, Gramophone October 2015

Jongen Violin Concerto Op.17
Adagio symphonique Op 20
Fantasia Op 12
Lazzari Rapsodie
Hyperion CDA 68005

See reviews of this CD and listen to excerpts on Hyperion's website: click here

Concertos Parlando
BBC Symphony Orchestra and Lithuanian National Philharmonic
COBRA 0040

Tchaikovsky's famous concerto is heard here with a different cadenza for the first time; a mesmerising cadenza by the great Eugène Ysaÿe which every violinist will surely want to hear. The recording also includes Prokofiev's own orchestration of the second of his Five Melodies, a wordless song cycle, recorded alongside Rodion Shchedrin's orchestration of the remaining four, and Shchedrin's Concerto Parlando for violin, trumpet and strings written for Philippe.

Marttinen Violin Concerto Op 13
COBRA 0041

Philippe recorded the violin concerto of Finnish composer, Tauno Marttinen (1912-2008) with the Turku Philharmonic and conductor Ari Rasilainen.

Awarded a DIAPASON D'OR by the French press:

Timpani 1C1186

"Philippe Graffin et Henri Demarquette illuminent de leur sensibilité vibrante et frémissante les deux pages concertantes de Philippe Gaubert et font véritablement honneur à la famille des cordes françaises. Ce disque est une pure merveille."

String Trio & Quintet
Timpani 1C1179

"le rendu touche ici à la perfection." Diapason fev 2012 (5 diapasons)

ESCHER Violin Sonata, de LEEUW Sonatina
PIJPER Violin Sonatas Nos 1 & 2, VOORMOLEN Pastorale
with Jelger Blanken, piano
ONYX 4080

"Philippe Graffin here champions four 20th-century Dutch composers, forging a Dutch-French entente that is audible in some of the music as well… First rate, spry and sensitive playing makes Graffin's and Blanken's advocacy persuasive" (Gramophone)

Frederic D'ERLANGER Violin Concerto in D minor Op 17; Poème in D major
Frederick CLIFFE Violin Concerto in D minor

With BBC National Orchestra of Wales / David Lloyd-Jones
Hyperion CDA 67838 (The Romantic Violin series)

"Graffin plays superbly, with all the fire and tenderness required, and with glorious tone." International Record Review 'Outstanding' category, Feb 2011

"Philippe Graffin's tonal sweetness, beguiling expressive intensity and mellifluous technique combine to make each phrase ring out with the sunshine freshness of new discovery"     The Strad - see full review below

Concerto No 1 / Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra/George Vass
Concerto No 2 / Orchestra Nova/George Vass

Dutton CDLX7261

"The French violinist Philippe Graffin, for whom the Second Concerto was intended, offers effortlessly spine-tingling interpretations" Fanfare (USA May/June 2011)
"The extensive Vivacissimo finale […] provides the most breathtaking bravura on the disc, superbly negotiated by Philippe Graffin, whose beauty of tone in the slower, gentler sections is also a thing to marvel at."
BBC Music Magazine, February 2011

"The violin concertos here have the advantage of polished solo playing from Philippe Graffin […] A touch of Mahlerian angst in the later stages opens up regions that, in Matthews's music, are all the more telling for their rarity."
Gramophone, April 2011

DELIUS Suite for Violin and Orchestra RTvii/1a DUTTON CDLX 7226
Légende RTvii/3a
Double Concerto for violin and viola RTvii/5ab
BBC Concert Orchestra / David Lloyd-Jones
Sarah-Jane Bradley, viola

"The Suite for Violin and Légende (with Graffin at his most beguiling and sweet-toned) emerge here as treasurable, nostalgia-fuelled gems of ecstatic ardour. The unaccountably neglected Double Concerto for Violin and Viola is brought stunningly to life by Graffin and Bradley"
Classic FM Editor's Choice / November 2009

"The other rarities here, all performed with sensitivity by the BBC CO under David-Lloyd-Jones, will be welcomed by Delius's admirers, particulary, perhaps, the Double Concerto in the version for violin and viola, in which Philippe Graffin and Sarah-Jane Bradley are ardent, affecting soloists."
Geoffrey Norris, The Daily Telegraph

"In this [Suite] and the Légende - a fragrant nocturne with plenty of contrasts - Philippe Graffin plays with ardour and rich tone."
International Record Review

HUNGARIAN DANCES with Claire Désert, piano/luthéal ONYX 4039
Virtuoso pieces by Bartok, Brahms, Debussy, Dohnanyi, Hartmann, Hubay, Liszt, Kreisler Monti, Scarlatescu, Vecsey.
A recital CD to accompany Jessica Duchen's novel Hungarian Dances (Hodder & Stoughton).

"A startlingly beautiful collection of encore pieces, played with skill, wit and seductive tone… French violinist Philippe Graffin is one of the most gifted and well rounded players you'll ever hear; few players can tease out those false harmonics as deftly… passionate performances."
Strings, USA / March 2009

"An enthralling, exceptional recital, to be thoroughly recommended."
Gramophone / February 2009

"Philippe Graffin explore un univers baigné de notalgie mais aussi d'espoir, alternant pièces authentiques et transcriptions, comptines insolites (Hartmann) et refrains enivrants (Danse hongroises de Brahms). Bravant tous les défis, il affronte même la Méphisto-Valse de Liszt. On goûte l'une des plus délicieuses interprétations de la Marche miniature viennoise depuis celles de Kreisler… Un disque réfléchi, sensible et très attachant."
Diapason, France

Violin Concerto No 3 K216;

Sinfonia Concertante K364 (2 CD set)
Het Brabants Orkest
Duos for Violin and Viola Nos 1 & 2
with Nobuki Imai

"Balanced and luminous: these words best describe this recording. In the orchestral works, including the Violin Concerto no 3 and the Sinfonia Concertante for violin and viola, one marvels equally at the remarkably elegant solos as at the gracious, yet virile orchestral playing. The balance is so well dosed that it seems as if this music, so often stiff was only ever meant for dancing. Philippe Graffin unveils for us a Mozart familiar and yet unexpected; surprisingly poised and imaginative.

The same chemistry is found in the second CD where Philippe Graffin and Nobuko Imai, who have worked together for many years, play the two Duos for violin and viola K423 and K424 with total simplicity. There is no need for more: sensitivity and sobriety know how to deliver this music of all its charm and freshness."

Le Monde de la Musique / November 2007

Edward ELGAR - Violin Concerto
Ernest CHAUSSON - Poème

- original manuscript versions -

Royal Liverpool Philharmonic/Vernon Handley

"The beauty he brings to the central Andante is unsurpassed on disc. The finale misses nothing in red-blooded virtuosity or weight, and Graffin dives around his instrument with a real sense of outgoing brio." The Strad

"Romantic ardour comes easily to the French violinist Philippe Graffin, and his fiery playing is well suited to the tender musings of the Elgar concerto" The Times

"Graffin's performance is most distinguished. I cannot remember one on disc that so magically exploits the range of pianissimo that the score asks for. This is not a barnstorming performance, as so many are with this massive work, but one which in total concentration brings out to the full the tenderness and poetry, not just in the central slow movement but in the other movements too, not least in the accompanied cadenza which is yearningly beautiful." The Gramophone

"If seeing the manuscript helped Philippe Graffin approach the music with the freshness that exudes from just about every bar of the Concerto, sop much the better. This is a passionate, strongly argued performance with Graffin's extrovert solo performance well supported by the RLPO and Handley." BBC Music Magazine

"Graffin's romantic warmth and volatility combined with Vernon Handley's Elgarian instincts and some fine playing from the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic makes this a disc anyone ought to get plenty of pleasure from. It's a unique recording you might want to file alongside Albert Sammons, and the young Yehudi with the composer." BBC Radio 3 Record Review

"The result, lyrically played by Philippe Graffin and the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra under Vernon Handley on the Avie label, is understated in a recognisably English way. It is all the more appealing for confirming the work's essential Englishness - an Englishness that abjures flashy tricks and jingoistic bombast in favour of closely reasoned discourse and the quiet confidence of genius." Norman Lebrecht, Evening Standard / 26 April 2006

"In the shade of forests
The Bohemian world of Debussy, Enescu, Ravel"

ENESCO - Impressions d'enfance Op 28
RAVEL - Tzigane for violin and luthéal (original version)
DEBUSSY - Complete works for violin and piano


This CD was an Editor's Choice in The Gramophone December 2005 issue:

"Highlights include Graffin's newly discovered revision of Ravel's celebrated Tzigane and a commanding performance of the Debussy Sonata. All sound fresh and vibrant in the hands of one of the most versatile violinists of the moment." The Observer 1 May 2005

"Superb performances, passionately played, beautifully phrased. These two musicians were born to play together; their sympathy for each other as an ensemble is uncanny. Graffin's lush, even lusty tone is well matched by Désert's fleet fingers. Never outshining the other, they are a true duo, and their music-making is perfectly enthralling."    Music Web / May 05

See also:

"From the darting gestures of the solo-violin first movement and the disorientating harmonies of the second this (Enesco's Impressions d'enfance) is an ear-challenging and forward-looking work, whose bird-calls have more in common with Messiaen's than Ravel's. Ravel's Tzigane is more standard fare but it's dramatically defamiliarized here, not only by the way Graffin relishes the music's irony, but even more by his decision to follow Ravel's original intentions and use a luthéal for the accompaniment. This arcane instrument, invited just after World War 1 by Georges Cloetens, is a piano adapted with machinery that offers several stops (including cimbalom effects). Individually and in combination, these alterations of the piano's basic sonority offer a dazzling and often magical array of colors, and they give the music an exceptional tang.
The Debussy Sonata is even more central to the repertoire than Tzigane - but here, too, the effect is hardly standard, as Graffin turns in a capricious, even impulsive, reading that makes the music of the music's odd turns. His account of the early Ravel Sonata is similarly responsive to the music's moment-to-moment needs and similarly refreshing. As for the transcriptions: the disc includes them as part of Debussy's "complete works for violin and piano". performances which are just as alert and finely focused as those of the major works. Claire Désert provides expert collaboration, handling even the luthéal with aplomb - and the sound is excellent. Enthusiastically recommended."
   Fanfare (USA) NovDec 2005


Duo Concertante (with Nobuko Imai)

Vilnius Festival Orchestra / Lithuanian Symphony Orchestra
Conductor: Robertas Servenikas

"Barkauskas composed Jeux, a 20-minute, multi-sectional concerto-in-all-but-name, especially for Graffin. Here the Frenchman's sensuous, golden sound, quicksilver reflexes and heightened sensitivity to colour really come into their own as wave upon wave of ear-tweaking textures and timbres roll past the listener." BBC Music Magazine / August 2005

"In both these live concerto performances, Graffin plays with tremendous accuracy of pitch and a sweet tone. He is one of the most interesting young fiddlers around." Fanfare (USA) / Jan-Feb 06

- Selected as one of the Best Recordings of 2005 by -
"Throughout these works, one is happily aware of a creative force that manages to be innovative within an accessible and attractive frame. The sound-world is an embracing one, the unlabored emotional content always rings true, and all the performances have the call of authority and commitment."
For full review follow this link:

Other recent releases:

Violin Concerto (world première)

Violin Concerto


Johannesburg Philharmonic / Michael Hankinson

Coleridge-Taylor was a black Afro-English composer living in late Victorian England who surmounted the racial prejudice prevalent at that time to become the best known composer in England with his cantata Hiawatha’s Wedding Feast written when he was only 22.
Graffin & Avie’s discovery of his neglected Violin Concerto - written for American virtuoso Maud Powell and premiered by her in the US in June 1912 three months before the composer collapsed and died - recorded here by Graffin and the Johannesburg Philharmonic on the tenth anniversary of democracy in South Africa, has attracted the most incredible press coverage. Here is a small selection:

"Soloists who search library stacks for lost masterpieces are as likely to turn up dross as gold. But in Samuel Coleridge-Taylor's Violin Concerto, Philippe Graffin, a French violinist, has found the kind of gem that makes the effort worthwhile [...]
The work announces itself with stateliness and grandeur, qualities that provide a constant backdrop as the violin line moves fluently between poles of passionate introspection and agile dance. The slow movement begins arrestingly, with a hint of a turn-of-the-20th-century Gallic accent, a gentle style shift that tempers the prevalent Germanic Romanticism.
Mr. Graffin plays the work in the spirit of its time, with well-judged portamento to give the sweetly turned melodies an extra measure of shapeliness and heart. Even in speedier, more overtly virtuosic passages, he maintains a singing, beautiful tone.
He is just as eloquent and a notch more dramatic in Dvorak's A minor Concerto (Op. 53). This work has never been quite the crowd pleaser that Dvorak's Cello Concerto is, but it is winning a bigger audience as more violinists take it up.
Another find here is the Johannesburg Philharmonic Orchestra. It produces a lush sound that suits the music, and it ably mirrors Mr. Graffin's interpretive impulses."

Allan Kozinn / New York Times / 22 August 2004

"Abetted by polished and passionate playing from the recently formed Johannesburg PO under its British-born chief Michael Hankinson, Philippe Graffin triumphantly demonstrates what an effective, endearing work it is, acutely responsive as he is to its bittersweet lyricism - try the gorgeous central Andante - while equally relishing the many opportunities for solo display in both outer movements." GRAMOPHONE Editor’s Choice / July 2004

"The concerto speaks as vividly as its partner on this disc, the Violin Concerto by Dvorak. The language, in which the influence of Dvorak goes hand in hand with that of Elgar and Brahms, is confident and the ideas are strong. The immensely gifted Graffin plays both works beautifully." Sunday Times 23 May 04

"Powell called him "the black Dvorak" and it was an apt description. There is a similar native charm in the melodies and in the enchanting orchestration. The slow movement is especially beautiful, with the kind of wistfulness we find in Elgar, and the rhythmical finale needs the kind of virtuosity that the French soloist Philippe Graffin brings to it here. The pairing with Dvorak’s concerto is a happy idea. Always overshadowed by the great Cello Concerto, this is a splendid work and Graffin gives it an exceptionally lyrical and heartfelt interpretation." Sunday Telegraph 26 Apr 04

"His Violin Concerto, long neglected and now receiving its CD premiere, echoes the Czech composer’s gift for wistful lyricism, melodic spirit and evocative mood. Graffin and Michael Hankinson are inspired advocates." Financial Times, 8 May 04

"One may hear echoes of Grieg, Dvorak, Elgar, American spirituals... But none of this distracts from the individuality of Coleridge-Taylor’s own voice, especially in the gorgeous central slow movement. Philippe Graffin and the Johannesburg Philharmonic play with refinement and plenty of feeling. It sounds as though they , and conductor Michael Hankinson, fully believe in this music. And the results justify their faith." BBC Music Magazine June 2004

Norman Lebrecht on Coleridge-Taylor. To read Norman Lebrecht article on Coleridge-Taylor and this recording which appeared in the Evening Standard on 7th April 2004 click here

Suite: "Dans la Montagne"

Pierre de BREVILLE
Sonata No 1 in C sharp minor


Awarded a Diapason d'Or / December 2004

"Neither work here may qualify as forgotten masterpieces but there is so much to savour and admire that it does make you wonder how such pieces slip into oblivion. Pierre de Bréville (1861-1949) was a pupil of Dubois and, more importantly, Franck, though for stylistic comparisons this sonata owes more to Fauré. It's a substantial (37'36") work composed 1918-19. The first movement has one of those glorious, never-ending soaring melodies that transport you on gossamer wings into the ethereal blue skies of Chausson and Lecoeur. De Bréville follows his brief "gaie, mais pas trop vite" second movement with a "Lamento" based on his own song "Héros, je vous aime", while the opening of the finale, as Martin Anderson observes in his sparkling booklet-note, recalls Alkan.
Canteloube's Suite (this recording uses the original 1906 version rather than its 1933 revision) was written under the tutelage of Vincent d'Indy. It is no less agreeable, airy and unmistakably Gallic. Perhaps the most impressive of its four movements is the second, "Le Soir" though the Debussyesque final movement, "Dans le bois au printemps" shimmers atmospherically - and quotes the same Auvergnat melody that Canteloube later used, famously ,in 'Bailèro from Chants d'Auvergne. Graffin is ideally attuned to this idiom, sensitively partnered by the busy fingers of Devoyon. This, in other words, is Hyperion at its best - two beautiful and unaccountably neglected works revived in outstanding performances, sympathetically recorded and stylishly presented."
The Gramophone , Awards Issue 2004

"Both these extensive and serious works are fine examples of what is best about French Romanticism stretching into the modern era. Played with passion, commitment to idiom and technical fluency, as well as being excellently recorded, these little-known pieces should win wide appeal." BBC Music Magazine, Dec 2004

Earlier Recordings


CHAUSSON Poème Op 25; FAURE Berceuse; WIENIAWSKI Fantaisie brillante from Gounod's Faust; MASSENET Méditation de Thais; SARASATE Fantaisie de Concert from Bizet’s Carmen

with Royal Philharmonic Orchestra / Yehudi Menuhin, conductor

"I first heard Philippe Graffin in Graz, Austria, where I was presiding at a competition and when he played the "Fantasy on the themes of Gounod’s Faust". I was thrilled. Now, some three years later, I am no less thrilled to have collaborated with Philippe Graffin on the present recording which I know will move the heartstrings of all who listen and will call forth the unreserved admiration of all his colleagues." YEHUDI MENUHIN

Concert in D Op 21 and Piano Quartet in A Op 30


Pascal Devoyon, piano;
Chilingirian Quartet;
Toby Hoffman, viola,
Gary Hoffman, cello

Prix Caecilia Prijs, Belgium - CLASSIC CD CHOICE Dec 97 (Cover CD)

"An exemplary recording of one of his finest works." The Times

"Dans le Quatuor nous tenons une version proche de l’idéal par l’équilibre et l’intensité. Philippe Graffin sait de surcroit faire place aux tournures charmeuses, un peu fin de siècle, indissociables du lyrisme de Chausson." Diapason

Poème Op 25 (première recording of the arrangement for violin, string quartet and piano)
Piano Trio in G minor Op 3


With Pascal Devoyon, piano; Chilingirian Quartet; Gary Hoffman, cello


"This is one of the most beautiful discs of chamber music I have ever heard. In every respect it is sheer perfection, the young French violinist, Philippe Graffin, playing with a passion you may be fortunate to hear once in your life." David Denton for The Yorkshire Post

"As a chamber work, the music’s essentially intimate tone is felt more strongly, and Graffin gives a plangent account of the solo part, with something of that sense of freedom that Ysaÿe, the work’s sponsor, would certainly have conveyed... I’d be surprised if next year’s Chausson centenary brings many issues of this quality." Gramophone

RARE FRENCH WORKS for Violin and Orchestra

HYPERION CDA 67294 Fauré Violin Concerto in D minor Op 14; Saint-Saëns Morceau de Concert Op 62; Lalo Fantaisie Norvégienne, Guiraud Caprice; Lalo Guitarre Op 28, Canteloube Poème

with Ulster Orchestra / Thierry Fischer, conductor

Racommandé par Répertoire, Classica ; 4 étoiles du Monde de la Musique

"'Rare' is doubly true: the quality of the playing here deserves that adjective... It is Graffin’s recognition that each of the composers needs a different manner and palette that makes this collection so absorbing... Such a combination of enterprise, imagination and responsive musicianship is rare indeed." Gramophone

"Philippe Graffin is one of the biggest talents amount French violinists - the programme seems to be his choice, which proves he has taste and discrimination, and is an excellent showcase for his talents." BBC Music Magazine

"Philippe Graffin prouve une fois de plus la grand sincérité de son jeu, la finesse de son inspiration et la pureté de sa sonorité... L’archet alerte, le goût authentique et la conviction du soloiste donnent à ce disque original et courageux sa veritable raison d’être." Diapason

The Three Violin Concertos


Concerto No 1 in A Op 20; No 2 in C Op 58 & No 3 in G minor Op 61

with BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra / Martyn Brabbins, conductor


"Philippe Graffin, whose elegant, emotionally charged playing is strongly reminiscent of the young Menuhin (he has a similar sort of sound) and whose understanding of the idiom seems to me second to none - certainly among modern players." Gramophone

"Philippe Graffin proves himself the Saint-Saëns exponent par excellence ... his lyricism has spine and his vehemence is always cunningly controlled - these are indeed the kind of attributes needed to realise the music of this most civilised composer." The Strad

"Graffin is a real stylist, a player in the Franco-Belgian tradition with exquisitely sweet and focused tone and enviable bravura in the technical hijinks Saint-Saëns demands." Sunday Times

Music for Violin


Violin Sonata No 1 in D minor Op 75 ; No 2 in E flat major Op 102, Triptyque Op 136; Elégie Op 143; Elégie op 160 & Berceuse in B flat major Op 38

with Pascal Devoyon, piano

CLASSIC CD CHOICE Christmas 1999

"Fresh from the extraordinary success of his Saint-Saëns concertos, Philippe Graffin proves even more alluring in the French master’s chamber music. This spellbinding performance had me lost in rapt concentration." Classic CD

"There is no doubt about the sheer pleasure which Graffin and Devoyon find in this music, with a performance exuding wit and heartwarming intimacy." BBC Music Magazine

Rare Transcriptions for violin and piano


Saint-Saëns Caprice brillant; Chopin/Saint-Saëns Nocturne in E Op 62 No 2; Saint-Saëns Caprice d'après l'Etude en forme de valse; Chopin/Saint-Saëns Nocturne in E flat Op 55 No 2; Chopin/Ysaÿe Waltz in E minor Op posth; Chopin/Ysaÿe Ballade No 1 in G minor Op 23; Saint-Saëns Fantaisie for violin & piano after Weber's Oberon; Saint-Saëns L'air de la pendule; Saint-Saëns Fantaisie for violin & harp Op 124

with Pascal Devoyon, piano; Catherine Beynon, harp

5 de Diapason / 4 étoiles du Monde de la Musique

"Philippe Graffin’s performances are especially remarkable for their breathtaking virtuosity, profound lyricism and expressive freedom" The Strad

"Incontestablement l’un des disques de violon les plus originaux publiés ces dernières années. Philippe Graffin défend avec autant de passion que de talent les oeuvres françaises rares." Diapason

"Graffin’s tone throughout is sweet and seductive. His phrasing a thing of pure joy ... a wonderful disc. Buy it." Gramophone

Sonata for Violin & Piano


Suite No 1 for violin and piano Op 11

with Pascal Devoyon, piano

5 de Diapason

"Fine, colourful and lyrical playing by Graffin, who contrasts effectively passages of serious intensity with moments of lighter character and repose." The Strad

"These are sumptuously responsive performances, glowingly recorded and expertly annotated." International Record Review

YSAYE Solo Violin Sonatas


Six Sonata for Violin Solo Op 27;
Poème Elégiaque in D minor Op 12*;
Rêve d’enfant Op 14*

*with Pascal Devoyon, piano

"Philippe Graffin has one major advantage over his rivals: his pure intonation. Even the most demanding of Ysaÿe’s flights of virtuosic fancy sound beautiful, with the accurate tuning complemented by fine tone, thrillingly precise fingerwork, plus excellent recording." Gramophone

" simply cannot imagine this music being played any other way. Even Frank Peter Zimmermann’s otherwise exemplary EMI recordings must play 'second fiddle' to artistry of this order... Graffin not only surmounts the myriad technical intractabilities with which Ysaÿe peppers this music in dashing style, but with an amazingly consistent golden tone, and - most important of all - a mesmerising identification with what this music is all about. One listens as though on some hot-line to the original source of the composer’s inspiration." Julian Haylock, Hi-Fi News

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Caroline Baird Artists is a full member of the International Artist Managers' Association