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Jerry Dubins
Fanfare, January 2013

DVORAK: Violin Sonata, Op. 57 / Violin Sonatina, Op. 100 8.554413
DVORAK: Ballad / Capriccio / Silent Woods 8.554730

The two volumes of Dvořák’s “Music for Violin and Piano” were recorded in 1998 and 1999. Zhou’s bowing is smooth, her tone in the instrument’s upper register bright but not strident, and in the lower register, full and cream-textured. Best of all, she gets to the heart of Dvořák’s Czech-inflected rhythms and melodies with expressiveness that eschews the schmaltz, a temptation not easily resisted in the composer’s slow movements and especially in the first and last of the Four Romantic Pieces. Based on Zhou’s playing on these two albums, I’d love to hear more from her. Battersby, of course, being the highly intelligent and sensitive musician he is, complements Zhou beautifully. © 2013 Fanfare Read complete review



Victor Carr Jr.
ClassicsToday.com, April 2002

"This second Naxos Dvorak violin and piano disc presents--in arrangements both by Dvorak and others--works that for the most part were originally composed for alternate media. Among the more interesting are Fritz Kreisler's Slavonic Dances transcriptions (Nos. 2, 10, and 16), played with energy and imagination by Qian Zhou and Edmund Battersby. The duo especially excels in the final Op. 72 dance, wonderfully projecting the music's winsome mood. Dvorak's Humoresque, Mazurek, and Songs my mother taught me are all instantly recognizable favorites, while the Ballad in D minor and Capriccio are the only two works in this collection originally composed for violin/piano duo. The Nocturne in B major is a high point of the disc, although this engrossing arrangement cannot compete with the radiant beauty of the string orchestra original. Naxos' recording sets the performers at a comfortable distance, creating an ideal balance between violin and piano."



Donald R Vroon
American Record Guide, April 2002

"The second volume is a delight -- all lighter pieces. My favorites are the Mazurek and the Capriccio, but there are also three Slavonic Dances here, in Kreisler arrangements, along with a Ballad, a Nocturne, a Reverie, the famous Humoresque, and 'Songs My Mother Taught Me'. All are played with spirit and joy and are never rushed."



Tony Haywood
MusicWeb International

"Though the literature for that most popular of professional and amateur duo combinations, violin and piano, contain some of the world's greatest and most profound music, there is always room for lighter fare. Gathered together here are what might be termed 'encores', highly tuneful, disarming pieces that would sit perfectly in a small group or at the end of a 'heavy' recital. One only has to look at the violinists who have programmed them over the decades to see in what affection many of these items are held; Heifetz, Elman, Huberman, Stern, Vengerov, and many more, have at some time included Dvorak's lovely miniatures in their concerts. It probably all started with the man who did much of the arranging and promoting in his own recitals, the great Fritz Kreisler, and with that sort of endorsement, success is virtually guaranteed.

I didn't catch Volume 1, and I'm not sure how much more material there is to unearth (though I suspect quite a bit), but this instalment is very well performed, and is a greatly enjoyable 'pick'n'mix' entertainment. One feels time and time again that an old friend is calling, such is the familiarity of some of these tunes. Obvious candidates include the Slavonic Dance arrangements, which many will know in their original piano duet form, and Songs my mother taught me, which are part of a bigger set of Gypsy Songs of 1880, and, due to their popularity, have been arranged in several other forms.

Of course, the Humoresque Op. 101, could be considered (along with the slow movement of the New World Symphony) to be Dvorak's most famous tune...The talented young Chinese violinist, Qian Zhou, perhaps takes her cue from an older style of portamento playing, where the player freely slides from note to note... The long romantic phrase that opens [Ballade] is beautifully handled by the two players, and the more dramatic narrative of the central section is not lost on them either. Here Zhou's partner Edmund Battersby (a name new to me) comes into his own, and though none of the pieces tax his technique to the full, it is good to hear them dispatched with such flair.

Another piece which almost goes beyond the 'encore' tag is the Capriccio, thought to be originally for violin and orchestra (a version now lost), and tentatively dated to 1878... It is a quite substantial piece of wide contrast and variety, and the melodic content is full of echoes of more familiar Dvorak, including the Sixth Symphony. The performers appear to enjoy themselves enormously here (and for that matter throughout) and the partnership shows great unanimity and understanding...






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7:13:58 AM, 2 August 2014
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