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Joseph Magil
American Record Guide, May 2012

The two works for violin and viola by the Norwegian Johan Halvorsen…are delightful. Natalia Lomeiko is a very polished violinist, and Yuri Zhislin’s mellifluous viola playing and fine-sounding instrument are wonderful. They play beautifully together, and balances are always well judged and sonorous.

These are enjoyable pieces that are greatly helped by the tonal contrast of the viola…they have enough energy to avoid monotony. Natalia Lomeiko and Yuri Zhislin are excellent musicians and technicians with pristine intonation. I can find no fault in these performances. © 2012 American Record Guide Read complete review on American Record Guide online



Robert Maxham
Fanfare, May 2012

...the duo [Natalia Lomeiko and Yuri Zhislin] brings a haunting poignancy and spectral piquancy, respectively, to the two relaxed variations near the work’s center.

In the more popular Passacaglia, they adopt similarly sprightly tempos…they take greater advantage of the variations’ expressive opportunities…they make a great deal of the more reflective central variation, and their approach to even the most straightforward variations combines flexibility and playfulness, with the concluding variation fusing brilliance with pounding rhythmic insistence. Halvorsen’s invigorating Concert Caprice on Norwegian Melodies (both Lomeiko and Zhislin playing violin) doesn’t enjoy such frequent outings as even the Sarabande, but its straightforward virtuosity…should ingratiate it with audiences who enjoy violinistic figurations…

By comparison with Halvorsen’s generally effervescent though occasionally darkly hued works, Antonio Bartolomeo Bruni’s Six Duos (Book 4) for violin and viola sound less subtle and surely less virtuosic, though no less straightforwardly melodious and surely no less dramatic…Both Lomeiko and Zhislin produce a heavier tonal weight in these works, but they’re also attuned to their melodic elegance and their tantalizing rhythmic playfulness…Some of the duos (as in the Second’s first movement), on the other hand, sound more earnest or, as in that work’s second movement or the introduction to the Fifth Duo’s opening movement, simply more introspective…Lomeiko’s and Zhislin’s articulation sounds sharper and their rhythms more pointed, and the recorded sounds at once closer and cleaner…

Throughout the program…Lomeiko and Zhislin produce sweetly homogeneous textures that hardly ever sound abrasive, and their ensemble retains its sense of unanimity throughout even the greatest difficulties. Naxos’s lively recorded sound presents both instrumentalists in balanced fidelity with enough reverberation to ensure warmth in addition to clarity. Enthusiastically recommended to all types of listeners. © 2012 Fanfare Read complete review on Fanfare



David Denton
David's Review Corner, November 2011

Talented amateurs will be pleased to discover Bruni’s Six Duos for violin and viola, though the Halvorsen pieces are on a completely different level of difficulty. Born in Italy in 1757, Bruni made a career as an orchestral violinist working in Paris, later becoming the director of the Opera-Comique. The Six Duos for violin and viola were composed when he was twenty and explore different styles and modes of expression, and probably intended for personal enjoyment rather than as concert pieces. Each is in two movements of differing tempos, the juxtaposition between fast and slow changing as we pass through the six works. There is sufficient likeable melodic invention to make them attractive to the performer, while the technical demands are modest. The Halvorsen works date from the early 20th century, the first two written on themes by Handel with a structural relationship to the Baroque era. The third work is for two violins and based on Norwegian folk-music, dance rhythms being its main inspiration. All are highly attractive, the Saraband and Passacaglia using the viola in a largely accompanying mode, though there are passages of interplay between the two instruments. By contrast the Concert Caprice for two violins have voices of equal weight that intertwine to a high degree of complexity. Here Yuri Zhislin moves from viola to violin and is very much at home on either, a fact that equally true in his concert appearances. The violin throughout is played by his wife, Natalia Lomeiko, who, like Zhislin, is a professor at London’s Royal College of Music. Their intonation is immaculate; balance between their instruments—that are unnamed in the programme notes—is perfect, and the general sound of exemplary quality.






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10:47:07 AM, 14 July 2014
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