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A masterly performance

The Westmorland Gazette, Clive Walkley

A large audience greeted Daniel Rowland (violin) and Natacha Kudritskaya (piano) on their first visit to Kendal as guests of the Midday Concert Club …

Their Kendal programme was dominated by César Franck’s lovely Violin Sonata, but before that we heard works by Stravinsky and Ravel.

Stravinsky’s ‘Divertimento for Violin and Piano, after The Fairy’s Kiss’ opened the programme. The work reuses material the composer originally wrote for his ballet, itself based on the music of Tchaikovsky – melodies which Stravinsky had known since his childhood. It is a colourful piece and, as one would expect of ballet music, complex rhythmically, and technically demanding for both players who rose to its varied demands brilliantly.

Daniel Rowland’s style of playing is theatrical: he moves around his performing space, bending and stretching in response to the music, and his balletic style suited this particular piece. In contrast, Natacha Kudritskaya is restrained in her pianistic gestures: her many bravura moments were accomplished without excess movements, but nevertheless with great effect. This combination of theatricality and restraint immediately drew the audience into a performance which was electric.

One of the many impressive features of both musicians’ playing was their ability to move from an extreme pianissimo sound to a climatic fortissimo passage while maintaining a perfect balance between the two instruments.

When the grand piano is fully open, there is always a danger that it can overwhelm a string instrument: this it did not do (at least not up in the balcony).

Next on the programme came a sensitive performance of Ravel’s charming, short Pièce en forme de habanera.

Again, each player caught the atmosphere of this sultry piece with Daniel Rowland relishing a chance to show what a beautiful legato line he could produce in this song without words.

Finally came César Franck’s mighty sonata, a work so well-known and loved by violinists.

The duo gave us a masterly performance marked by subtly of phrasing, strong tone and carefully graded dynamics.

An encore, Kreisler’s Liebesleid, sent us all home happy.

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A powerful communication of the heart of the music

Chichester Observer, Chris Darwin

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Beautifully performed by Daniel Rowland and Natacha Kudritskaya…..Their musical approach is delicious…..

Music Frames, Mattie Poels

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Authenticity you might expect to hear from violinists such as Ivry Gitlis, Ida Haendel, Isaac Stern

Fanfare, Robert Maxham
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Champs Hill Records CHRCD120

Violinist Daniel Rowland and pianist Natacha Kudritskaya begin their program of works by the Romanian composer and violinist George Enescu with a reading of his colorful Third Sonata, “dans le caractère populaire roumain,” that, in the first of its three movements, Moderato malinconico, misses few opportunities for communicating to listeners with bold gestures—in this case sharply defined, dynamically contrasted ones rendered exceptionally exotic by raw, smeary portamentos.

Two generations ago, I heard Isaac Stern make a similar impression in a live performance of the sonata; but in the auditorium the audience could watch as he lobbed pulverized musical phrases at one individual listener after another, making penetrating eye contact with each. I’d have been scared out of my wits if I’d been sitting in a front row.

Rowland and especially Kudritskaya fully indulge the mystery implied in the second movement’s title, Andante sostenuto e misterioso. Their command of timbral nuance hardly suggests makes their playing sound tightly controlled; at times they skirt close to the brink of abandon. In the finale, Allegro con brio, ma non troppo mosso, they once again make Enescu’s fragmentary gesticulations seem larger than life, especially in the tumultuous last page.

Throughout the sonata, in fact, they amply provide the kind of authenticity you might expect to hear from violinists such as Ivry Gitlis, Ida Haendel, Isaac Stern, or the composer himself—they’ve made of the work a force of nature in which they raise actual goosebumps. Yet Rowland never produces a quirkily unpleasant sound from the 1776 Lorenzo Storioni violin he plays—every timbral effect, no matter how lurid, seems to flow naturally from the expressive demands of the music itself.

The duo also finds the generative center of the Second Sonata’s first movement, which, though French in sensibility, contains haunting and daunting moments of overwhelming emotional power. Their reading of the slow movement disappears into a magical wisp of sound; the finale compounds stentorian statement with whimsy.

Impressions d’enfance, from 1940, makes very realistic references at times to the world of sound Enescu experienced as a young boy, weaving into its variegated sonic quilt a gypsy fiddler, an old beggar (whom Rowland presents in a surprisingly suave tonal garb), various bird calls, both free and caged (once again, Rowland never goes so far in realistic portrayal that he draws unpleasant sounds from his instrument—his means remain always musical ones), wind in the chimney, and, at the end, sunrise. Though these impressions may be surrealistically vivid, neither Enescu nor the duo ever make them sound maudlinly nostalgic.

With a blockbuster performance of the Third Sonata, a strong-minded one of the Second, and an almost Expresssionistic one of the Impressions, all in recorded sound that is sensitive to both tonal and dynamic nuance, these wide-ranging performances could leave listeners stunned by their power and insight. It’s risky to peer into the future, but this seems like a perfect item for the Want List. Urgently recommended.

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Magnificent chamber music of the highest level – 5 stars

Die Volkskrant

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Among the very finest performances of all three [Enescu] works that I have heard

American Record Guide, Joseph Magil
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The remarkably close partnership between violin and piano that Rowland and Kudritskaya show in these recordings

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Daniel Rowland has a powerful, glamorous tone, gleaming at the top and throaty and rugged down at the bottom, and Natacha Kudritskaya matches him every bar of the way for passion, fantasy and precision.

Gramophone Magazine, Richard Bratby

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5 Stars from BBC Music Magazine for Rowland Kudritskaya Duo's Enescu

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Extraordinary praise for Rowland Kudritskaya Duo CD, Les années folles, on Dutch Radio 4

The Rowland Kudritskaya Duo‘s CD Les années folles was recently reviewed on the Dutch radio station NPO Radio 4, which is the equivalent of the UK’s BBC Radio 3.

The following comments were made live on air on the prestigious Dutch Radio 4 programme Discotabel, on which an expert panel ‘blindly’ reviews new recordings:

High praise from key Dutch national daily, NRC Handelsblad

NRC Handelsblad, Mischa Spel

Daniel Rowland and his piano playing partner Natacha Kudritskaya stand together as a guarantee of quality

Opus klassiek, Siebe Riedstra

Violinist Daniel Rowland was born in London but moved as a child to the village Weerselo in Twente, where he lived for fifteen years. His father is the British composer and conductor David Rowland (1939-2007), who taught at the Twente Conservatory. Daniel studied in the Netherlands with Davina van Wely and in Brussels with Igor Oistrakh. He learned much from the legendary virtuoso and pedagogue Ivry Gitlis. Rowland has been the  first violinist of the Brodsky Quartet since 2007, and in 2005 began his own festival in Weerselo, the Stift Festival, where there is an emphasis on less familiar and contemporary chamber music.

An outstanding recording with sublime playing

Platomania
“[The Rowland – Kudritskaya duo] brings with Les Années folles a magnificent programme for violin and piano”
“an outstanding recording with sublime playing”
“excellent portrayal of the diversity of those turbulent years”

Strong feeling and total immersion; every note had meaning and direction

Smålandsposten, Kjell Nilsson

Imagine the combination of virtuosity and profound musicality. Last spring , we heard the duo Rowland / Kudritskaya in Växjö and these two  certainly have these abilities.

Rowland and Kudritskaya demonstrated their unique musical partnership impressively, and their well-balanced interplay was not only beautiful to listen to but also exciting to watch

Concerto Net, Wiebke Kuester

Kitzbühel, an idyllic village in the Austrian Alps, is rather known for its world cup ski races and its mundane lifestyle. It is not necessarily the place you would expect a superbly curated chamber concert series.

Daniel Rowland and Natacha Kudritskaja – Hudiksvalls Tidning

Daniel Rowland and Natacha Kudritskaja – Hudiksvalls Tidning (27th February 2015)

Joy of playing – in a league of its own

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23/09/2020