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Barry Brenesal
Fanfare, January 2017

The Istanbul State SO is no second-rate ensemble, but boasts impressive sections and soloists. James Buswell performs with a tone that recalls Heifetz in its perfect control of pressure, dynamics, and color. His cantabile phrasing is a delight, and his technique, immaculate. © 2017 Fanfare Read complete review

David Hurwitz, January 2017

...much of Erkin’s music has what at first sounds like a relatively cheesy, B-movie oriental quality about it, but this impression turns out to be superficial. His is the genuine article. I take him at his word when he says that the inspiration of Turkish folk music is real, and great fun it is.

New to disc, or so it seems, is the Violin Concerto, played with evident enthusiasm and vibrancy by James Buswell. This is a major statement, exciting and well written for the instrument, and the best thing to be said for it is that it has plenty of good tunes and no dead spots.

These performances, with fully professional native forces under the enterprising baton of Theodore Kuchar, have plenty of the necessary gusto and verve. It would be very good if this disc represents a possible new series for Naxos; Turkish music needs some systematic, persuasive advocacy. © 2017 Read complete review

Stephen Estep
American Record Guide, November 2016

The orchestra is more than competent, and Kuchar has both vitality and restraint. © 2016 American Record Guide Read complete review on American Record Guide

Stephen Greenbank
MusicWeb International, August 2016

The Istanbul State Symphony Orchestra and Theodore Kuchar offer well-managed and convincing interpretations. The Fulya Cultural Centre, Istanbul provides an ideal acoustic to showcase the orchestral detail of these alluring scores. © 2016 MusicWeb International Read complete review

Michael Wilkinson
MusicWeb International, July 2016

[The Violin Concerto] is something of a virtuoso concerto, highly attractive, especially as played here, with sympathy and insight, by James Buswell.

Köçekçe is a briefer piece, based on dance tunes. It requires a large orchestra with plenty of percussion, and is an enjoyable curtain-raiser.

Theodore Kuchar…presides over committed performances which have both excitement and clarity, as well as some sensitive playing in more reflective moments, as in the theme-and-variation slow movement of the symphony. © 2016 MusicWeb International Read complete review

Remy Franck
Pizzicato, July 2016

Turkish composer Erkin is best known for his piece Köçekçe, and so we happily welcome this CD with his passionate Violin Concerto and his Second Symphony which is somberly remembering the Second World war in the first two movements. Committed and colourful performances as well as a quite good recorded sound make the CD recommendable. © 2016 Pizzicato

Rob Barnett
MusicWeb International, June 2016

The 1943 Köçekçe is a highly spiced piece of nationalistic brilliance and is Erkin’s most performed work.

Buswell revels in this romantic-athletic music and there is gripping shared attack between him and the orchestra in the finale. © 2016 MusicWeb International Read complete review

Lynn René Bayley
The Art Music Lounge, June 2016

Both Erkin as a composer and Kuchar as a conductor grab one’s attention from the very start and simply do not let go until the final notes have died away. This is a gem of an album, easily one of the best of 2016 so far. © 2016 The Art Music Lounge | An Online Journal of Jazz and Classical Music Read complete review

David Denton
David's Review Corner, June 2016

While Western Europe was coming to terms with the new music initiated by the Second Viennese School, Turkey was consolidating music of a previous generation. At the forefront of the ‘Turkish Five’—which included Ahmed Saygun—was Ulvi Cemal Erkin, a student of the legendary Nadia Boulanger in the late 1920’s. His return to his homeland from Paris in 1930 marked the beginning of a career that divided his time between a highly productive composer and the mentor of the next generation of Turkish musicians. He consolidated Western tonality into his native classical music, while ‘educating’ his listeners in the more conservative elements of twentieth-century music. There are passing relationships with Boulanger, but he was essentially a personal voice with a ready vocabulary of melodic invention. By any standard, the Violin Concerto is both a pleasing and an imposing score, its three movements lasting half an hour, and offering the soloist a virtuoso cadenza in the closing pages of the opening Allegro giusto. Bird twitterings in the violin dominate the slow movement before a brilliant finale is characterised by an oriental dance. The Second Symphony was completed in 1958, having begun ten years earlier. Its opening movement is gripping, its strength coming from the driving rhythms that become the dominating feature of all that follows, the folk tune influences making for an engaging finale. To complete the release we have a joyous dance rhapsody, Köçekçe. Much of the disc’s success comes from the conductor, Theodore Kuchar, who obtains from the Istanbul orchestra an excellent standard of performance, and he, in turn, enjoys a very good sound quality. © 2016 David’s Review Corner

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