Wednesday 18 November 2015

Some quite stunning playing from Natalia Lomeiko on her new disc of Prokofiev’s Violin sonatas for Atoll

Violinist Natalia Lomeiko was born into a family of musicians in Novosibirsk, Russia. She studied at the Specialist Music School in Novosibirsk with Professor A. Gvozdev, at the Yehudi Menuhin School in England with Lord Menuhin and Professor N. Boyarskaya, at the Royal College of Music and the Royal Academy of Music with Professor Hu Kun. 

She has since established herself internationally winning numerous prizes in the Tibor Varga, Tchaikovsky, Menuhin and Stradivari International Violin competitions. In 2000 she received the Gold Medal and 1st Prize in the Premio Paganini International Violin Competition (Genoa, Italy) and the 1st prize in the Michael Hill International Violin Competition (Auckland, New Zealand) in 2003. Natalia Lomeiko was appointed a Professor of Violin at the Royal College of Music in London in 2010.

Since her debut with the Novosibirsk Symphony Orchestra at the age of seven, she has performed as soloist with many orchestras around the world under many distinguished conductors. Her recordings for Dynamic, Fone, Trust Records and Naxos have received an enthusiastic response.

Natalia Lomeiko’s latest recording of Prokofiev’s Violin sonatas for Atoll  has just been released. She is joined by violinist Yuri Zhislin  and pianist Olga Sitkovetsky

ACD 513
2 CDs
Great care and thought is given by Olga Sitkovetsky to the opening of the Andante assai of Sonata for Violin and Piano No. 1 in F Minor, Op. 80 before Natalia Lomeiko brings some fine violin textures.  These two players develop the music through some passionate passages bringing intense emotion. Lomeiko provides superb textures with bold, dynamic piano accompaniment and later some exquisite little rapidly rising and falling decorations.

There are razor sharp short phrases with pinpoint accuracy from both soloists in the Allegro brusco where they find an intuitive response to each other. This violinist provides some extremely fine tone in the more flowing central section before some intensely dramatic passages. In the quieter moments they bring some fine poetry with Lomeiko finding a very fine, spontaneous delicacy.  

There is a whimsical opening to the Andante before these players slowly reveal the melody.  Lomeiko provides some lovely gentle, rather withdrawn harmonies, Sitkovetsky adding an equally haunting accompaniment. This is an exquisite performance of one of Prokofiev’s most lovely movements with a continuous flow of invention before the strange little coda.

These players launch quickly into the Allegrissimo - Andante assai, come prima with some terrific, free flowing, brilliantly phrased and shaped playing, really catching Prokofiev’s rather brittle ideas. They move through passages of relentless development and flow with some quite stunning playing before returning to the rising and falling motif of the first movement as the andante arrives before leading to the resigned coda.

Natalia is joined by violinist Yuri Zhislin for Prokofiev’s Sonata for Two Violins in C Major, Op. 56. There is a lovely sweetness of tone in the Andante cantabile as Lomeiko enters, soon joined by Zhislin as they weave a lovely melody together, both bringing a fine tone and some lovely interplay of lines. Their individual tones complement each other wonderfully, each finding quieter moments of fine detail.

Short staccato phrases from both players open the Allegro before we are taken forward with these two players finding a terrific rapport, rising through some wonderful passages before the coda.  

There is a slow, finely paced Commodo  (quasi allegretto) which finds these players revealing much quiet, intense emotion. There are some exquisite higher textures as well as perfect control and restraint.

They bring much wit and playfulness to the opening of Allegro con brio with fine phrasing as well as lovely textures and harmonies. There are many moments of exquisite detail with some lovely little phrases, finely shaped before a lovely coda.

There is a beautifully relaxed, flowing opening to the Moderato of the Sonata for Violin and Piano No. 2 in D Major, Op. 94a, Lomeiko bringing some lovely little decorations before the music picks up in energy momentarily. The music soon finds its poise to flow forward, Lomeiko and Sitkovetsky revealing an underlying disquiet that seems to hide under the quieter passages between the short outbursts of energy. The music subtly gains in intensity as the movement progresses before regaining the more relaxed nature for the gentle coda.  

A spiky piano motif opens the Presto - Poco piu mosso del – Tempo 1 soon joined by the violin with Lomeiko helping to push the music forward through some tremendously fluent passages.  These two fine musicians always find the poetry in this music with Lomeiko providing exquisite violin textures and sonorities through the gentler, quieter, thoughtful Poco piu mosso del with some rather quixotic phrases before picking up again with the opening theme to drive forward, both bringing some fine rhythmic phrases, finding a terrific buoyancy before the sudden coda.

In the beautifully conceived Andante Lomeiko and Sitkovetsky bring a wonderfully controlled flow, a subtle ebb and flow, with wonderful phrasing and some subtle dissonances that are rather fine. The Allegro con brio – Poco meno mosso – Tempo 1 - Poco meno mosso - Allegro con brio brings a buoyant, determined theme for violin and piano to which these two bring a fine rhythmic bounce. They weave some fine phrases around each other as the movement develops as well as moments of quite lovely beauty, Lomeiko always finding variety of textures and timbres. They later pick up the pace to move rhythmically and buoyantly to the coda.

This is another terrific performance. 

The poetic side of Natalia Lomeiko and Olga Sitkovetsky is to the fore in Prokofiev’s Five Melodies for Violin and Piano, Op. 35 that is on the second disc. There are some lovely gentle phrases from both violin and piano in the Melody No. I. Andante yet these two players always find the subtle increases in passion. There is a lovely gentle, forward pulse from the pianist in No. II. Lento, ma non troppo over which Lomeiko lays a free flowing melody before briefly picking up rhythmically and moving to the relaxed coda. They move into No.III. Animato, ma non allegro with a passion before slowing and finding a gentler nature, reflective and restrained with exquisite violin phrases and a most sensitive piano accompaniment. There are some lovely violin harmonies towards the end. They bring some lovely shaping to the delightful No. IV. Andantino, un poco scherzando, a light and attractive piece with a super coda. Finally there is a lovely flowing No. V. Andante non troppo that soon picks up with some spiky rhythms so typical of this composer before finding a flow. These two players provide a lovely tempo and phrasing before Lomeiko brings the most exquisite phrases in the quiet coda.

These are absolutely terrific performances from all concerned. They receive first rate recordings from Andrew Keener made at the Concert Hall, Wyastone Leys, Monmouth, UK and Henry Wood Hall, Southwark, London, UK. The booklet notes are confined to a personal view from Natalia Lomeiko.

The one oddity with this release is that the 80’ 54’’ total playing time for both discs would surely have fitted on one CD. Indeed, the tracking information on the rear insert shows these works as on one single CD. 

However, for all the confusing tracking problems this is a most beautiful new release that is available from Amazon for the price of one CD. 

Since reviewing this disc, distributor's Nimbus have informed me that the tracking information on the rear insert of the CDs will be corrected on all existing stock. 

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