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Kenneth Keaton
American Record Guide, January 2015

[Irina Kulikova] is a remarkable artist, deeply expressive, with complete technical command. Every note counts with her, and she shapes the music with a romantic sensibility balanced by exquisite taste.

Beautiful music played beautifully… © 2015 American Record Guide Read complete review on American Record Guide

David Denton
David's Review Corner, October 2014

You are going to love this disc, the three living Russian composers remaining in the pleasing world of tonality, and are here superbly performed by Irina Kulikova. Having started her travels around her homeland and abroad at the age of twelve, this remarkably gifted guitarist is celebrating her 25th birthday as a performer. Little wonder that along the way she has won the four major guitar competitions in Italy, Spain, Austria and Germany, for there are few virtuosos in her elevated league. Both of her hands are so unfailingly nimble and meticulously clear, even the most technically demanding music seems so easy and relaxed. I am also delighted that we hear nothing in the movement of her left hand, while intonation is spotlessly clean. It is good that she has chosen music by her contemporaries, the youngest, Konstantin Vassiliev, writing in the established traditions of guitar music, the Three Forest Paintings often calling for an outgoing display of finger agility. Dedicated to her, Swan Princess points to the many moods of the bird from its graceful appearance through to an inner aggression. The Three Lyric Pieces pay homage to Rachmaninov, Barrios and Villa-Lobos, the content of each a pastiche on their style of composition. Born fifteen earlier, in 1955, Sergey Rudnev’s The Old Lime Tree, is based on a folk-song, Kulikova’s expressive handling bringing out the yearning and beauty of the score. Between Steep Banks is an introspective picture expressed in muted colours. From the same era Viktor Kozlov’s Dedication to the Russian Land points to a national nature that extends from old-world melancholy to the vivacity of their folk dances, while the Flying Dutchman isfull of interesting effects, and a loving picture of his wife as the Beautiful Elena. Another magical product from Naxos’s Canadian recording team. © 2014 David’s Review Corner

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