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Kevin Filipski
The Flip Side, May 2018

The remarkable renaissance continues for Russian composer Mieczyslaw Weinberg (1918–1996), who has gone from nearly unknown to towering genius thanks to a flurry of recordings and performances over the past decade or so. This disc pairs his striking and lyrical Violin Concerto (1959)—played with apt vigorousness by Benjamin Schmid—with two attractive concertos by another under-the-radar Russian, Dmitry Kabalevsky (1904–1987), Weinberg’s contemporary in the Soviet music sphere. Claire Huangci dispatches the lively 1961 Piano Fantasy (after Schubert’s solo piano classic) with tuneful ease, while Harriet Krijgh makes the most of the melodious Cello Concerto No. 1 (1948–9). Cornelius Meister sensitively leads the ORF Vienna Radio Symphony Orchestra in all three works. © 2018 The Flip Side

David W Moore
American Record Guide, May 2018

…the Vainberg is beautifully played and better balanced between forces than either of the Kabalevsky works. …The Kabalevsky Cello Concerto and the fascinating Fantasy are good, too… © 2018 American Record Guide Read complete review on American Record Guide

Richard Whitehouse
Gramophone, April 2018

Torleif Thedéen tackles both Kabalevsky cello concertos, the second a masterpiece from the later Soviet era, while Michael Korstick includes the Fantasy alongside all four piano concertos. Admirers of the three gifted soloists featured here should not hesitate to acquire this disc… © 2018 Gramophone Read complete review on Gramophone

Steven A Kennedy
Cinemusical, February 2018

The recording opens with the Violin Concerto in g, Op. 67 by Miecszyslaw Weinberg (1919-1996). …This is easily a concerto that can stand alongside the more familiar Prokofiev works and provide excellent opportunities for virtuosity. Schmid tackles this work quite well adding just the right bite when needed, but really bringing out the beautiful lyricism of this excellent work.

There are two works by Kabalevsky featured on the album. The first is the Fantasy in f (1961) which is based on Schubert’s 1828 piano-four hand work (D940). This is essentially an opportunity to explore orchestration and this is what Kabalevsky does to great effect. He turns Schubert’s little fantasy into a Russian piano concerto, complete with a third-movement cadenza. Written for Emil Gilels, who recorded the work as well, it is essentially a completely new piece that at times sounds like what a composer might create for a modern film. As such it is quite a curiosity that it great pops material. Pianist Claire Huangci fortunately understands this connection more to Rachmaninov perhaps than Schubert and the sort of semi-improvisational style that is necessary when it comes to her beautifully-rendered cadenza.

Finally, we get a chance to hear the acclaimed Dutch cellist, Harriet Krijgh. Krijgh has recorded a number of classic repertoire items to great acclaim. Here she explores this first of Kabalevsky’s two concerti for the instrument. …Of course, Krijgh is much further along than a starting cellist and she gives this work an excellent read through filled with great touches of wit and beauty. If nothing else, the concerto teaches the tropes of modern concerti that a young artist will continue to be challenged with along their own performance trajectory. © 2018 Cinemusical Read complete review

Barry Forshaw
Classical CD Choice, January 2018

There is a provocative mix of Soviet composers on this expertly played disc—two musicians who underwent very different experiences under the oppressive Stalin regime that ruined the lives of so many of their peers. Kabalevsky, more adroit at passing through the requisite hoops, escaped largely unscathed, but Weinberg (not least for his Jewishness in a notably anti-Semitic era) had his wings clipped—which makes his an astonishingly prodigious output under these circumstances all the more impressive. Listening to the various pieces on this disc makes it clear that Weinberg is the more accomplished of the two composers, although both wrote music full of invention and character. The more substantial work, Weinberg’s Violin Concerto, is given an extremely authoritative reading here. © 2018 Classical CD Choice

Records International, January 2018

Most collectors of Soviet-era concertante works are likely to have recordings of two of the above pieces but, unless you’re a Kabalevsky specialist, probably not his Fantasy. Coming from 1961 and conspicuous in its lack of opus number, this is not a mere orchestration but a fever-dream (another good term is the note-writer’s “remix”) which adds to and subtracts from Schubert’s original (there’s a cadenza!), throws in thick dollops of Russian orchestral color and may leave you wondering if Comrade Dmitri was a secret admirer of Liberace. This is a guaranteed guilty pleasure whose presence in your collection is up to you to admit or not to your friends. … © 2018 Records International

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