Reviews

Early 20th Century Jewels

"This fascinating release groups four composers, near contemporaries, whose lives straddled the latter part of the 19th century and the early 20th century. Two of them, Debussy and Roussel, were French, Huybrechts was Belgian and Schulhoff Czech. The common denominator, in each case, is the flute and viola, two instruments which almost certainly complement each other. Each composer carefully selected a particular configuration of instruments in an attempt to achieve a unique sound colour.

 

Of all the works here, the Debussy will be the most familiar, and it has been generously well-served on disc. I have a particular affection for the Decca recording by the Melos Ensemble (Cecil Aronowitz (viola), Osian Ellis (harp) and Richard Adeney (flute)). That recording may be showing its age sound-wise, but this newcomer is top of the range."

 

"Ingrid Procureur's playing has a charming elfin-like delicacy. The work surfs the waves of many changes of tempo and mood. Some performances I have heard sound disjointed. Here there is an overarching integrated logic to the overall scheme."


"The works showcase a pleasing blend of tonal hues, and the performers have a real feel for the music. Their enthusiasm, commitment and outstanding musicianship secure the performances' success."

© 2018 Stephen Greenbank

Early 20th Century Jewels

"Here is one of those albums that could only exist in today’s wide-open recording field."

"A clutch of little-known but superb musicians playing a group of mostly French chamber music of the early 20th century, of which only the Debussy Sonata is familiar to many concertgoers.

I have two other recordings of the Debussy piece, including an equally superb reading by members of the Nash Ensemble on a Virgin Classics CD that, though recorded many years ago, has since become a classic. The things that strike you about this recording are its warmth and superb clarity of sound: the three instruments are miked in perfect equipoise, which particularly helps the harp to be heard much more forward in the soundspace. Flautist Kanda, violist Rubenstein and harpist Procureur have exactly the combination of relaxation and forward momentum to make the piece work.

"Roussel’s Trio is much more rhythmic in nature and not quite as concerned with impressionist feelings or opaque textures."

 

"As in the performance of the Debussy, I was particularly struck by the warm sound as well as by the way these musicians match their styles and approaches to create a unified approach. There are no superegos here trying to outdo one another, but genuine musicians who evidently enjoy playing with one another. Every note and phrase is imbued with life and feeling; even the more technical passages are not used for showing off technique but rather for displaying their well-thought-out interplay. Thanks to the exceptional clarity of sound, every nuance and note is as clear as if you were sitting in the midst of them while they were playing,"

"I was particularly impressed by the unusual yet cogent music of Albert Huybrechts,"

 

"Schulhoff’s very strange-sounding Concertino for Flute/Piccolo, Viola & Double Bass, though composed in the 1920s (1925), is not one of his ragtime-influenced pieces of the sort that made him famous in the early 2000s. It is, however, typically adventurous, in this case not just harmonically (note the edgy extended chords he used) but also in the way he spreads those chords out among the three instruments."

 

"In my view this is the newly-discovered gem of the set, even finer than the Huybrechts piece." 

"All of the musicians on this recording play extremely well, not just in and of themselves but in terms of understanding their roles in the ensemble passages. A great album, well worth exploring."

© 2018 Lynn René Bayley

Early 20th Century Jewels

"Wat een aardig idee om dit viertal intieme kamermuziekwerken voor verschillende bezettingen, maar steeds met de fluit in een belangrijke rol, bijeen te brengen."

 

"Wat onder meer opvalt is de grote pluriformiteit van de vier werken die binnen een tijdsbestek van een paar decennia op verschillende plekken in Europa werden geschreven. Het leeuwendeel van de uitvoerende taak valt aan de fluitiste en de altviolist toe. Gelukkig tonen alle vijf betrokken musici niet alleen hun vertrouwdheid met de verschillende genres en stijlen, maar ook hun grote technische en muzikale kunnen. Dat leidt tot een heel aantrekkelijke uitkomst van dit optreden."

© 2018 Jan de Kruijff

Early 20th Century Jewels

"Un bel enregistrement thématique, servi par de remarquables interprètes, qui permet aussi à l’auditeur de lever un coin du voile sur les mondes musicaux trop tôt interrompus d’Albert Huybrechts (1899 -1938), compositeur belge, type même de l’intransigeance et de la malédiction (Valérie Dufour) et de Erwin Schulhoff (1894-1942), compositeur tchèque, victime des nazis. Très recommandé."

© 2018  Emilio Brentani

Anna Segal - Chamber music for harp

« Anna Segal’s music for harp is refreshing. It is simply beautiful, tuneful music, with no concern for elaborate compositional devices. Her rich harmonies and colors evoke a pastoral aesthetic, akin to the chamber works of Ravel and Delius. The works with clarinet are especially melodious, achieving spontaneity without excessive ornamentation. The Concertino for Harp, Clarinet, and String Quintet is the best piece on the album. The Suite shares the same instrumentation as the Concertino, except the clarinet is switched out for an oboe. It is a lighter work; the Concertino is more elevated. In each of the larger works, the bass in the string quintet brings a welcome fullness to the color palette. »

 

« charming record »

© 2018 Stephanie Boyd

Anna Segal - Chamber music for harp

« The Double Concertino for harp, clarinet and string quintet, running to a substantial 21 minutes, is in three movements. Its darting energy and slow-blooming nostalgia play to one of Talitman's expressive strengths." "At various times it is reminiscent of Ravel and of Samuel Barber's Knoxville. The piece ends basking in the easy midday heat. »

« Image for harp and violin cleverly entwines a mesmerising harp line with a gangling solo violin line. »

« The Suite for harp, oboe and strings has five movements and moves us into a more subtly and variably coloured world. This blends Mediterranean warmth, Stravinskian bleakness and Ravel-style lambency. It's all attractive and if the focus can be unstable the sense of motion constantly shifting is never less than agreeable. »

© 2018 Rob Barnett

Anna Segal - Chamber music for harp

« It really struck my fancy for its ability to stop me from whatever I was doing to simply sit and listen." »

« The CD begins with the unlikely pairing of harp and clarinet in a concertino with small string ensemble. It is mostly a nod to the Impressionist era, light and airy with plenty of sunshine.»

"Image for violin and harp featuring Daniel Rubenstein is a breath mint miniature of uneven meter gliding along a high wire with no net, each step cautiously placed, but with insouciance and exaggerated gracefulness. It is one of my favorite moments in the disc.»

« Anna Segal expands the theme with a space age Lullaby that will surely induce creative dreams if not sweet ones, and a Ballade that feels the most grounded and song-like of the entire album. Both for solo harp, Rachel Talitman shares her virtuosity in not the large gesture and complex finger-twister, but in the legato line that pulls our own heart strings.»

 

« Oboist Adrian Eble calls the ensemble to order with a plaintive melody in a Suite of Dances that features (...) the excellent Ensemble Mendelssohn. This quality of sound is most successful in the movement called “Riflesso” or reflecting. Anna Segal’s palette is most interesting in this pastel world that is less about getting there, than being there"

© 2018 Alison Young

Anna Segal - Chamber music for harp

« Ze heeft uiterlijk een zachte, angelische gloed die afstraalt op haar muziek. Dat kan men al onmiddellijk merken bij het eerste in drie bewegingen uitgevoerde Concertino voor harp, klarinet en strijkkwartet. Zelfs het Scherzo brengt je al onmiddellijk in een droomwereld. »
 
« Een verdere ballade, dans, reflectie  en vooral het Image for Harp and Violin bevestigen het impressionistische karakter van haar composities. Het zijn geluidsschilderijen met een flinke portie pointillisme gekenmerkt door zachte pastel. Telkens met de grootste betovering ingespeeld door Rachel Talithman en haar Mendelssohn Ensemble. Jean-Marc Fessard nam de klarinetpartijen voor zich en Adrien Eble die van de hobo.

Wilt u ook dromen? Deze schijf kan werkelijk de uwe worden. »
 

© 2018 Veerle Deknopper

Suites & Partitas of Modern Times

“Imaginative programming and imposing performances” 

 

“Daniel Rubenstein’s admirable technique” 

 

“The final work in this impressive programme is Sonapartita by the Pittsburgh-born composer Don Freund, written for this duo’s programme of new music for violin and piano inspired by a Baroque ancestry. Freund contributes his own programme note, helpfully pointing out the extensive musical references to Bach, and other modern composers like Lukas Foss and Stravinsky for whom such a resource has also been important. The title is a tribute to ‘Nach Bach’, a harpsichord piece by Georges Rochburg, and the third movement Presto is an exact replica of the final movement of J.S. Bach’s G minor Sonata for solo violin with piano bits added. Other elements are derived from ancient dance forms and echoes of the composers "life-long immersion in the music of Bach." 

 

“This well-filled CD has top performances by this duo, whose musical pedigree has already been proven on the international competition circuit.” 

Dominy Clements 

Suites & Partitas of Modern Times

"The play on earlier aesthetics was an integral feature of 20th-century music, as this collection attests. Suite italienne (1933) derives from the ballet Pulcinella that launched Stravinsky's neo-classical phase, while Tartiniana seconda (1956) transforms the Baroque virtuoso's style into the intricately contrapuntal idiom characterising Dallapiccola's later output. Daniel Rubenstein and Muhiddin Demiriz bring robustness and sensitivity to the first piece and catch the incisive elegance of the Dallapiccola - not least in its touching “Variazioni” finale.

Even finer is Schnittke's Suite in the Old Style (1972) - an unassuming by-product of his provocative First Symphony, given here with a combination of wit and a deft irony that makes the closing “Pantomime”, in particular, convey more than it states. Lutoslawski's Partita (1984) pays tribute to the Baroque both in the coursing energy of its outer movements and intense pathos of its central Largo; as also its extemporised “ad lib” sections whose successful realisation - as here - is crucial to the effectiveness of the overall work.

Welcome also is the inclusion of music by two much less familiar composers: the Belgian Frédéric Van Rossum, whose Graffiti (1968) is a tensile sonatina packing a high degree of incident into its four minutes; and the American Don Freund, whose Sonapartita, noch nach Bach (2001) pays thoughtful homage to Bach's solo violin music - not least in the wistful poignancy of its final “Siciliano”. Decent if close-miked sound, informative notes and a disc that, as with all good recitals, makes coherent listening in its own right."

Richard Whitehouse

Suites & Partitas of Modern Times

“This 2006 collection by violinist Daniel Rubenstein and pianist Muhiddin Dürrüoglu features five modern works for violin and piano that are clearly indebted to the partita, and one short piece that is a drastic condensation of it.” 

 

“To close, Rubenstein and Dürrüoglu-Demiriz perform Don Freund's Sonapartita Noch Nach Bach (2001), which brings a spirit of postmodern appropriation to the album in its ruthless recycling of J.S. Bach's Sonata in G minor.“

 

“The relaxed recital atmosphere of this recording is a plus, and the musicians' interpretations are always appropriate, even though the moods of these pieces are highly varied. The sound of the recording is clean and warm, and the acoustics of the Théatre Saint-Michel, Brussels, are resonant without being a distraction.” 

 

Blair Sanderson

Suites & Partitas of Modern Times

“There is something very refreshing about a disc which almost makes a virtue of its plainness.” 

 

“The Stravinsky is an arrangement the composer made of movements from "Pulcinella" for him to play with Samuel Dushkin. It is probably the best known piece here, and comes across freshly with plenty of bounce but without the thick vibrato-laden tone which some better known violinists have been known to inflict on it.” 

 

“The final piece, by the American Don Freund, was written specifically for this CD and takes its name from Bach’s two great sets of works for unaccompanied violin – the Sonatas and the Partitas. (…) It is an enjoyable piece, and one which I hope will have a life beyond this disc.” 

 

“The two performers have set themselves a formidable task with this programme, but come out of it very well.” 

 

“Overall this is a disc that is likely to provide much - possibly unexpected - pleasure.” 

 

John Sheppard

Suites & Partitas of Modern Times

"Indiana University faculty composer Don Freund holds his own in distinguished company on a CD featuring "Suites & Partitas of Modern Times", these including Stravinsky's Suite Italienne, Alfred Schnittke's Suite in Altem Style, and Dallapiccola's "Tartiniana Seconda." Freund's "Sonapartita, Noch Nach Bach" is a heady blend of tradition and modernism suggestive throughout the composer's devotion to the master, Bach."

 

"The excellent performers are violinist Daniel Rubenstein and pianist Muhiddin Dürrüoglu-Demiriz, both IU alums now based in Belgium (Talent)."

 

Peter Jacobi

Suites & Patitas of Modern Times

« Un enregistrement original centré sur un concept inhabituel : des Partitas des XXe et XXIe siècles composées entre 1993 et 2007 avec un premier enregistrement mondial de la Sonapartita, noch nach Bach de Don Freund. » 

 

« La Sonatapartita noch nach Bach, dernière œuvre présentée, a été composée spécialement pour cet enregistrement par Don Freund, professeur à l’Université d’Indiana où Daniel Rubenstein a poursuivi sa formation d’altiste. Elle sert de synthèse et de conclusion aux œuvres précédentes. Ce recueil est enregistré par deux artistes talentueux qui font la réputation de notre enseignement musical belge. Daniel Rubenstein est professeur d’alto et de musique de chambre au Conservatoire Royal de Mons ; Muhiddin Dürrüoglu-Demiriz, quant à lui, enseigne au Conservatoire Royal de Bruxelles » 

 

« Cette musique du XXe siècle est parfaitement servie par un duo où les accords du violon Paolo Testore de 1735 épouse la puissance du piano Yamaha. Elle nous offre une belle alternance d’âpreté et de poésie à découvrir sans attendre » 

 

Jean-Marie André

Suites & Partitas of Modern Times

“Hudba 20. století přinesla mimo jiné i historizující styly: neoklasicismus a neobaroko. Začal s tím Igor Stravinskij v roce 1920, svým Pulcinellou na Pergolesiho hudbu. Také první skladba tohoto CD je z jeho pera. Je to Italská suita pro housle a klavír v podání belgického houslisty Daniela Rubensteina a tureckého klavíristy Muhiddina Dürrüoglu-Demirize. Oba se rozhodli natočit komorní díla skladatelů 20. století, která se ohlíží za hudbou baroka. Jejich CD vydané roku 2006 se jmenuje jednoduše Suites and Partitas of Modern Times.”

”Daniel Rubenstein své všestranné schopnosti ukazuje jak ve skladbách silně historizujících, tak velmi avantgardních, jako je Partita Witolda Lutosławského. S barokem ji ovšem spojuje jen název.
Důkazem o tom, že Bachův hlas v proměnách staletí neslábne, je Sonapartita, noch nach Bach žijícího skladatele Dona Freunda z roku 2001. Název je malým hudebním vtipem. Znalci Bachova cyklu skladeb pro sólové housle totiž vědí, že sonáty se v něm střídají s partitami jako netaneční a taneční formy. Proto je jejich spojení do jednoho názvu jakousi ironickou zkratkou. Třetí věta Presto je úpravou Bachova Presta z 1. sólové sonáty g moll, v tomto případě s brilantním klavírním doprovodem.”

”Jak asi jde dohromady street-art s italskými houslemi Daniela Rubensteina, které pamatují Tartiniho, se můžete přesvědčit v Graffiti opus 16 Frédérica van Rossuma z roku 1968.”
 
“Housloví virtuosové vždy měli a dodnes mají sportovního ducha. Jakmile v důležitých soutěžích prokáží svoje schopnosti, musí se udržet na vlně zájmu o svou osobu i hru v tvrdé konkurenci. Daniel Rubenstein se za výběrem kompozic na své CD rozhodně neschovává. Všechny technické nástrahy zdolává s odhodláním a jistotou.“
 
Martin Flašar

In the Light of Ravel

"This CD will give immense joy, and is important anyway, because, apart from the Ravel, each piece is a world premiere recording, of valuable and sometimes (as in the Metcalf) quite entrancing ideas."

"The Ravel is an interesting and charming work. The piece has been much recorded, but, for me, this performance is there with the best of them. My benchmark is the famous Decca recording with the Melos Ensemble, coupled with works by Franck and Debussy. The new recording is just a shade more meditative but takes its place alongside the earlier one. Rachel Talitman loses nothing by comparison with Osian Ellis."

"Robert Groslot’s piece – for 7 instruments (harp, flute, clarinet and string quartet) - is an interesting work, with quicksilver changes in mood, sometimes quite dark, but with moments of attack. I enjoyed it, and look forward to exploring it further. John Metcalf’s Septet was written to honour the parents of the man who had commissioned the work – and parents in general. It is a piece of three connected movements (Scherzo: Calmo: Largamente). I found it instantly appealing – a lovely work, lovingly performed." 

"An outstanding release."

Michael Wilkinson

Chausson Chamber Music

“Die Musiker um den Geiger Jerrold Rubenstein und die Pianistin Dalia Ouziel widmen sich der Musik Chaussons technisch souverän und mit großer Hingabe. Sie haben das rechte Gespür für die Weitgespannte Lyrik, die feinen Strukturen, den schwärmerischen Tonfall und den sinnlichen Klang.
 
Die in Belgien entstandenen Aufnahmen sind untadelig, und eine ansprechende Präsentation vervollständigt den rundum erfreulichen Eindruck.“
 
Sixtus König

Chausson Chamber Music

'The Piano Quartet receives a strong, warm and purposeful performance with Dalia Ouziel the excellent, agile pianist'

'A most welcome set'

 

Eward Greenfield

Chausson Chamber Music

“Het Belgische label Talent timmert de laatste tijd nogal aan de weg, vaak met niet al te gangbaar repertoire. Zo kwam recentelijk een dubbel-cd uit met kamermuziekwerken van Ernest Chausson.“
 
“Met name op de tweede cd wordt bijzonder fraai gemusiceerd: de pianiste Dalia Ouziel en haar collega’s Jerrold en Daniel Rubenstein (viool en altviool), aangevuld met Alexander Dimitriev (cello), maken er een heerlijk tintelend kamermuziekfeestje van. Enthousiast musiceren gaat hier hand in hand met smaak en fijnzinnigheid.“
 
Frits de Haen

Chausson Chamber Music

“Na nahrávce se podílelo mezinárodní uskupení, spojené dnes hudbou a působišti: interprety jsou houslista Jerrold Rubenstein (profesor Královské hudební akademie v Antverpách), klavíristka Dalia Ouziel původem z Tel Avivu, violista Daniel Rubenstein (ač se to nikde neuvádí, podle všeho syn předchozích) a violoncellista Alexander Dmitriev pocházející z Kyjeva a dnes působící v Montpellier a Sharon Quartet”
 
“Pro interprety je obrovským úkolem udržet atmosféru a napětí. Nemám bohužel srovnání, tuším však, že v tomto případě vykonali maximum. Každopádně vytvořili velmi potřebný příspěvek k doplnění našeho povědomí o hudbě, jaká se psala koncem 19. století.”
 
Vlasta Reittererová

Chausson Chamber Music

« Ici donc, deux disques qui réunissent les grandes œuvres de musique de chambre d’Ernest Chausson, interprétées par des musiciens de renommée internationale. »
 
« Les compositions de Chausson, énergiques, animées, mais aussi terriblement graves, au final, ne sauraient laisser indifférent. Ce qui ne peut que participer de son charme. »
 
Dany Sénéchaud

Jan Van Landeghem Chamber Music

“Jan van Landeghem is a Belgian composer, academic, and organist born in 1954. He’s represented on a couple of other releases, but this is his first one-man show. The music here is bright and approachable, stressing beauty of texture and timbre, and deriving energy from moto perpetuo effects.”
 
“The Second Quartet is the best place to start. Its roots are in Stravinsky, Ravel, and Britten, but the experience of positive stylistic plurality, Europe-wide, seems to have pushed Landeghem closer than those composers, to a diatonic base. At the same time, he makes much expressive capital out of dynamics, some repetition, and from differing string effects.”
 
“All these artists serve the composer well, and each work sounds like the work of the same man. The music is often highly expressive, but it is never gut-wrenchingly emotional.”
 
Paul Ingram

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