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David Moore
American Record Guide, May 2019

…Azarashvili’s music for cello and piano is worth hearing. It is replete with folk-like melodies handled in a tonal way, treated in a dramatic and classical fashion and with humor and lightness.

These two players put across the music with enthusiasm. Suleiman is a German-American cellist who studied with Elmar Issakadze (Irma’s father) and with Daniil Shafran and Natalia Gutman, both cellists well known to record collectors. He will become known as well. Irma Issakadze was a child prodigy in Tbilisi and studied with the famed Ludwig Hoffmann in Munich and with Vladimir Krainev in Hanover. These two work well together and give us a lovely and well-recorded program worth your time. Let’s have more! © 2019 American Record Guide

David Denton
David's Review Corner, January 2019

Outside of that region once called the Soviet Union, the name of the Georgian composer, Vaja Azarashvili, will be little known, though he was highly prolific. Born in Tbilisi in 1936, and coming from a musical family, he was to receive the impeccable education as a composer that prepared him for the vast amount of music he was to write in every genre. It was his First Cello Concerto in 1969 that gave him a degree of international exposure, and the present disc offers his complete works for cello and piano. Covering 1961 to 2006, he has used a modern version of tonality, or to put it into a recognisable place in history, you would say it mirrors Shostakovich in his most melodious mood. The earliest score—the short First Cello Sonata—is couched in a warm and sensual mode. Sixteen years later, and in the usual four movements, the Second Sonata introduces a piquancy and a degree of austerity in the long slow movement, only to end in the energized world of folk music. The disc from therein is given to short cameo compositions, including five contrasting ones then gathered together in 2006 as the Preludes for cello and piano. Finally a group of pieces in cello/piano arrangements by the composer, mostly in sentimental mood. The much acclaimed German cellist, Alexander Suleiman, plays the music with affection, understanding and, when required, technical brilliance, while the Tbilisi-born, Irma Issakadze, is the highly supportive pianist. © 2019 David’s Review Corner

Records International, January 2019

Azarashvili has achieved a prominent place in Georgian culture through his highly successful output of the lyrical, memorably melodic sentimental ‘light music’ that spans popular and classical music and has long been hugely popular in the states of the ‘Russian Federation’. … The 2006 Preludes, like the sonatas, are firmly in the composer’s ‘serious’ style, and are especially original in their idiom and punchily demonstrative in their projection of diverse moods, while remaining (like everything else here) thoroughly tonal and approachable. © 2019 Records International Read complete review

Rob Barnett
MusicWeb International, December 2018

The music here, written over 45 years, is largely approachable and when it explores the periphery goes no further than the Shostakovich symphonies. The shorter pieces have, it seems, quite a following in Georgia and have the ‘legs’ to make new friends anywhere.

Alexander Suleiman and Irma Issakadze clearly believe in this strong, companionable music, rich in sentimental tendencies. The recording, made in Germany, allows the two musicians to ‘speak’ to full effect. © 2018 MusicWeb International Read complete review

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