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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

Jan Smaczny
BBC Music Magazine, January 2002

"The players bring a strong sense of advocacy to the neglected F major Sonata."

MusicWeb International, November 2001

"A disc that has more than passing interest to recommend it, and promises similar pleasures from its successors in this series."

Michael Jameson, November 2001

"There's certainly a niche for a budget series devoted to Dvorak's oeuvre for violin and piano. The violinist here, Qian Zhou, at first might not seem a familiar name, but many will remember her participation in the TV documentary featuring the late Isaac Stern's visit to China, 'From Mao to Mozart,' which has been broadcast by networks throughout the world. The American pianist Edmund Battersby accompanies Zhou with praiseworthy skill and sensitivity. Their program begins with a honeyed and alluring account of the lovely F minor Romance. It's good for a change to hear it played with keyboard accompaniment rather than in the orchestral edition as a makeweight filler on discs with the A minor concerto.

The Sonata in F has been surprisingly neglected on CD, making this impressive reading doubly welcome. But the two Supraphon recordings by Josef Suk are in a class apart in many ways, for Suk has one of the most personal, distinctive, and instantly recognizable tones around, and he plays this music with forceful insight and complete lack of self-aggrandizing rhetoric. Zhou and Battersby play with tremendous fire and energy (try them in the sizzling finale of Op. 57 for example), and also get plenty of punch and drama where it's needed, as in the big development section of the first movement of the F major sonata. But I wonder if anyone ever played the Four Romantic Pieces more bewitchingly than Itzhak Perlman and Samuel Sanders on their EMI recording, which also includes the Sonatina in G Op. 100. In both works, Perlman's masterful technique and matchless skill in vocalizing and inflecting his sound lends something special to his performances. Zhou hasn't the same skills--at least not yet--but plays with fine technical command and considerable feel for the music. Hopefully, these artists can retain such a consistently high level of musicianship in the next volume of this continuing cycle.

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