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Kenneth Keaton
American Record Guide, November 2011

[Kulikova’s]…previous recording was enthusiastically reviewed (J/F 2010) and was one of my Critic’s Choice recordings for the year. This one is every bit as good. She has a beautiful sound and a real musician’s heart. She has technique to spare, but never uses it as an end in itself. She shapes her phrases beautifully, with a near-perfect sense of balance and pacing. Her playing is a joy to hear.

This is a thoroughly satisfying recital.

To read the complete review, please visit American Record Guide online.

David Denton
David's Review Corner, July 2011

The Russian-born guitarist, Irina Kulikova, has been making a habit of winning first prizes, the most recent being the prestigious 2008 ‘Alhambra’ International Competition. It was not unexpected, Kulikova already having built a concert career with appearances in major venues throughout Europe. This would appear to be her debut recording and it provides the opportunity to perform her guitar transcription of Bach’s First Cello Suite. She is certainly not the first to have made such a transcription, but the accompanying booklet offers nothing in comparing the content of her arrangement with others before. So taken at face value it would seem a well-thought through adaptation keeping within the Baroque mode. The other major work, Castelnuovo-Tedesco’s Guitar Sonata ‘In Homage to Boccherini’, also appeared a few months back in another of Naxos’s Guitar Laureate discs from Andras Csaki. I spoke very favourably of him, but apart from Kulikova’s rather brighter sound in the upper octaves, there is little to chose between them. Indeed the Naxos series shows just how many richly talented young guitarists we have emerging from competitions. Kulikova shows through this nicely varied disc—Del Rey’s California Suite a pleasingly lightweight score—a perfectly clean technique with left-hand shifts that are so unobtrusive, while in Tarrega’s Recuerdos de la Alhambra the precision of her right hand gives a most even ‘accompaniment’ to the melody. She does, of course, have the massive benefit of a superb sound from Naxos’s celebrated Canadian recording team.

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