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Phil Muse
Audio Video Club of Atlanta, October 2019

American violinist Annelle Gregory attracted attention several years ago with an album of original works and transcriptions for violin and piano by Sergei Rachmaninov (see Classical Reviews 4/2017). Now the L.A. native expresses her ongoing love of repertoire that is Russian, rare, and rediscovered with a couple of attractive works by Sergei Taneyev and Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov. Both provide plenty of opportunity for an ambitious young mistress of the violin to savor a lot of delicious virtuosity.

The music is certainly attractive, and Annelle Gregory does much to bring out both its abundant charm and its fire. © 2019 Audio Video Club of Atlanta Read complete review

David Denton
David's Review Corner, August 2019

Sergey Taneyev had little in common with his contemporaries’ interest in musical nationalism, realism or even in fairy-tale fantasy, leaving him an isolated composer.

He had been a pupil of Tchaikovsky and was to become the composition mentor of many famous names, including Rachmaninov and Scriabin, though at heart he remained a musical conservative. His sizeable library of works covered everything from opera to solo instrumental scores, but, as he lived into the twentieth century, he added nothing to the progressive aspects that were overtaking Russian music. So it was that in 1909, when he came to write the Suite de Concert, he shaped it in the style of a Baroque suite in five movements, with a Theme and Variations at its heart. Tchaikovsky’s influences do surface in the virtuoso writing for the soloist, particularly in the grandiose opening Prelude and the dexterity required for the Gavotte, the Presto finale using the Tarantella dance. Much though I enjoy and promote Taneyev, his problem was finding thematic material that would readily reside in your memory, pleasing though this work proves to be. Twenty-two years earlier Rimsky-Korsakov had completed his Fantasia on two Russian Themes, and whatever their source, they offer the soloist a goodly measure of technical showmanship, the orchestral part coming as an attractive backdrop. All of this bodes well the young American multi-award winning soloist, Annelle Gregory, with the opportunity to strut her brilliance and sweet toned quality in the upper reaches. She is well supported by the chamber sized Kyiv Virtuosi Symphony from the Ukraine, under the sure-handed guidance of their Music Director, Dmitry Yablonsky, one of Naxos’s most frequent recording artists. So snap up two coupled rarities. © 2019 David’s Review Corner

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