" ... There is no doubt that Verkholantseva
binds with the harp a lot of her intimate emotions. Her pulse of a modern,
ambitious, energetic personality of the youthful range doesn't sink as she
appears at this parlor saloon instrument ... "
"Harper's Bazaar", Moscow, April 1998
" ... Combining faultless technique with her own
poetic nature and charm, she extracts a level of sound and beauty from the
instrument that leaves audiences astonished ... "
"The Moscow Times", June, 1999
" ... Two Russians, harpist Anna Verkholantseva and
violonist Alexandre Trostianski, performed the work by Thomas Rajna.
Verkholantseva, the young prizewinner of the 1997 International Moscow Harp
Competition, is regarded as one of the top harpists in the world ...
Newspaper", Cape Town, September, 1999
that the balance of violin and harp duos leave the impression of a harpist
trying feverishly to cover a piano score, the A&R folks at Eganrecords made two brainy
decisions with regard to a violin and harp disc. First, they included only
works written for that instrumentation, shunning the usual transcriptions.
Second, they found a violin and harp duo that can flat-out play. The two
Trostiansky and Verkholantseva are
equally brilliant, displaying a near-perfect balance of jaw-dropping
technique, heartfelt expressions, and flawless ensemble. With a musical
maturity that belies their years, these two make the disc's program sound
natural, unforced, and refined.
The duo's familiarity with each other comes as no great
surprise: they performed the premiere of two of the four pieces on the disc
at the 1999 World Harp Congress in Prague. These two pieces, one by Ukranian
composer Valeri Kikta and the other by Hungarian Thomas Rajna, are written in
a way which embraces the unorthodox nature of the violin and harp ensemble,
instead of attempting to obscure it. What really makes these two pieces work,
however, are the dazzling performances of Trostiansky and Verkholantseva.
Trostiansky's violin acts as an extension of his voice, with flawless
intonation and a rich sound that both soars and simmers when either timbre is
called for. Verkholantseva plays in much the same way, with a keen sense of
drama and expression. These two player's performances are thoroughly
convincing, especially on the Kikta and Rajna works they know so well.
The Kikta Sonata explores rich harmonies and varied
colors but is substantive enough to satisfy the chamber music devotee.
Rajna's Suite is perhaps a bit more transparent, but its well-conceived
structure and interesting, tuneful quality are more than enough to make this
a fitting finisher for the disc. Both pieces are worthy additions to the
repertoire. In perhaps the ultimate compliment to the purist, the strikingly
natural technique displayed here-especially by harpist Verkholantseva-prompts
favorable comparisons to the best violin and piano duos.
Rounding out the disc are a few chestnuts by Rossini
and Saint-Saens, also well.played and roundly enjoyable. But harpists will
find the most interest in the two new works, expertly composed and
thrillingly performed. This isn't just another harp record; this is chamber
music at its best, with two young stars providing some serious fireworks.
Column" Magazine, Collector's Corner CD Review by Darin Kelly, October