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John Whitmore
MusicWeb International, December 2015

Axel Strauss and Ilya Poletaev play with complete authority and they are clearly at home in Enescu’s music… Their performance of Impressions d’enfance is especially fabulous. © 2015 MusicWeb International Read complete review



Robert Maxham
Fanfare, September 2015

Violinist Axel Strauss plays…with commanding technical authority…

For Strauss’s and Poletaev’s technical command and musical penetration, for the engineers’ vivid recorded sound, and for the insightful program notes, this second volume in Naxos’s Enescu series should appeal to almost all listeners. Urgently recommended. © 2015 Fanfare Read complete review



Chris Morgan
Scene Magazine, July 2015

Overlooked for years by scholars, Enescu’s work is receiving the attention it deserves, thanks in no small part to the efforts of violinist Axel Strauss and pianist Ilya Poletaev, who have applied their own musical genius to the composer’s repertoire on this recording. © 2015 Scene Magazine Read complete review



Terry Robbins
The WholeNote, June 2015

…the real gem on this CD is the Impressions d’enfance Op. 28 from 1940, an astonishing suite-like work of ten short movements, played mostly without a break, which traces the day in the life of a child. There’s a folk fiddler, a stream in the garden, a caged bird and a cuckoo clock, a chirping cricket, the moon shining through the window, the howling of the wind in the chimney and a distant thunder storm at night. © 2015 The WholeNote Read complete review



Infodad.com, May 2015

…the series of late miniatures called Impressions d’enfance, Op. 28…is Enescu’s most-complex late duo work, requiring just the sort of attentiveness to detail that it receives from Axel Strauss and Ilya Poletaev as the climax of a CD that is impressive for its playing and even more so for the imaginative and wide-ranging ways in which the composer uses the two instruments. © 2015 Infodad.com Read complete review



David Denton
David's Review Corner, April 2015

George Enescu was, in many ways, the greatest musician ever born in Romania, though he was a self-imposed perfectionist who completed just thirty-three works. For violin and piano he left only sufficient scores to fill two discs, this second one containing works at each end of his career. The earliest come from his fourteenth year—the Ballade and Tarantella—were salon pieces, the latter showing how technically brilliant he must have been as a violinist at that age. Two years later came the First Sonata, a gorgeous piece replete in melodic invention, two movements of weight and high impact surrounding a rather sad central Adagio. Maybe he used tremolo too often in both instruments, but that aside, the neglect of this score is certainly not justified. He had apparently composed many miniatures in his life, some of which he brought together as the story of a day in the life of a child—Impressions d’enfance. In ten sections, of which two only last a few seconds, we hear a series of musical pictures: a caged bird singing only to be interrupted by the cuckoo clock, and a graphic depiction of a storm outside of the child’s bedroom. Three more short pieces complete a disc that is superbly performed, the German violinist, Axel Strauss, producing a warm tonal quality for the sonata; a gypsy mood for the Hora Unirii, and the delicacy needed for the Impressions. The sonata is very much a duo score, the Russian-born pianist, Ilya Poletaev, a highly responsive and supportive partner. Very good sound. © 2015 David’s Review Corner





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