"Increasingly, I prefer recitals with mixed programs to, say, recordings of all the Chopin etudes or ballades, and this one is one of my favorites. It includes Stravinsky’s tunefully infectious Neo-Classical "Suite Italienne" ("After Pulcinella"), Schubert’s major Fantasie in C Major, D. 934; Ravel’s jazz-laden Sonata for Violin and Piano; and Clara Schumann’s rarely heard Romance for Violin and Piano, Op. 22, No. 1.
The playing on both parts offers a fine mix of virtuosity and blending. The sonics are excellent. And the label is a recently founded one that offers a new home to world-class artists who have been dropped by bigger, more prestigious labels more intent on turning a bigger profit with bigger stars and more popular repertoire.
So just put this on the player and sit back for an hour of wonderful violin and piano duets."
The Capital Times (US) - 31 May 2007
"This is a wonderful recording, with sound as good as the music-making."
positive-feedback.com - December 2006
Recording of the Month
"This is an excellently performed and recorded recital worthy of considerable attention, that was received too late for my list of ‘records of the year"
MuiscWebInternational - 25 November 2006
"This Onyx and KML (for Katia and Marielle Labèque) co-production highlights the advantages of artist-led programming on disc. Mullova and Labèque would hardly be permitted to record such an eclectic selection — Stravinsky’s Suite Italienne, Schubert’s Fantasy in C, Ravel’s Violin and Piano Sonata, and a Clara Schumann Romance — for one of the multinational labels at present. The playing is deeply rewarding in their glittering accounts of the Stravinsky suite — the 1933 transcription of Pulicinella — and the Ravel sonata, Mullova revelling in the jazzy glissandi of the central blues movement.
If one has heard more inward accounts of the Schubert, the virtuosity here is never in doubt, and the Clara piece is a charming rarity. Highly recommended. ****
Sunday Times - 12 November 2006
"Many big-name duos have the appearance and sounds of marrriages of convenience, brought together by record companies during a brief window in hectic schedules to spend a couple of days in the studio. Sometimes it works, but the results often reflect the superficiality of the relationship. There is no danger of that in this marvellous new disc from Viktoria Mullova and Katia Labeque. They have been performing together regularly for years, and this disc has the feel of a genuine recital, a true partnership.
The hushed opening of Schubert’s Fantasie is magical, with the early mist gradually clearing for a journey full of genial joie de vivre. Mullova’s slides in Ravel’s Sonata, captured in fine sound, have the fluidity and freedom that can only be achieved when understanding between violinist and pianist runs deep, while the pacing of the Perpetuum mobile is masterly. It might be thought that the Ravel would be closest in spirit to Stravinsky, but the Schubert emerges as its more natural partner. Not that the Suite Italienne is at all lacking in elan, though some might prefer a more driven rhythmic approach. Clara Schumann’s Romanze is a sublime postlude to an imaginative and enjoyable disc." *****
BBC Music Magazine - January 2007
"She [Mullova] and Katia Labèque make a bravura duo…For the close and congenial collaboration that this program displays in every measure, as well as for the program itself, the recital deserves a recommendation of pressing urgency, one that the names themselves almost guarantee in this kind of repertoire."
Fanfare - June 2007
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