The WarnerNuzova duo — cellist Wendy Warner and pianist Irina Nuzova — makes its recording debut with five late-Romantic Russian works on an album dedicated to the memory of one of Warner’s mentors, the illustrious Russian cellist, composer, and conductor Mstislav Rostropovich (1927–2007).
Fittingly, two of the pieces were originally written for Rostropovich: Nikolai Miaskovsky’s rarely heard Sonata No. 2 in A Minor for Cello and Piano, Op. 81; and Alfred Schnittke’s Baroque-inspired Musica nostalgica, for violoncello and piano.
This is the first American recording of Miaskovsky’s mellifluous Sonata No. 2, a work that’s rarely performed outside of Russia. It will be a discovery for most listeners.
Alexander Scriabin’s Etude Op. 8, No. 11, is a beautiful encore piece brimming with chromatic harmonies; Sergei Prokofiev’s Adagio from Ten Pieces from Cinderella, Op. 97b, is based on a duet from his ballet; and Sergei Rachmaninov’s Sonata in G Minor for Cello and Piano, Op. 19, is a riveting four-movement work from the same period as his Second Piano Concerto.
“The performing duet of Wendy Warner on cello and Irina Nuzova on piano play as all good partnerships should, as one. In their case, it's almost as if one performer were playing both instruments, they are so attuned to one another's feeling and responses. The two women, who have been performing together as the WarnerNuzova cello and piano duo since 2008, play with style, with grace, with refinement, and with deep emotional attachment, yet always placing the music above any showmanship on their part. Most important, however, they appear to reach into the heart of this heart-wrenching music and convey its inner spirit with not only clarity and precision but with ultimate passion. They are consummate artists.”
—John J. Puccio, Classical Candor
Producer James Ginsburg
Engineer Bill Maylone
Recorded October 27–30, 2008, in the Fay and Daniel Levin Performance Studio, WFMT, Chicago
Cello 1772 Giuseppe Gagliano
Cello bow François Xavier Tourte, c. 1815, the “De Lamare” on extended loan through the Stradivari Society of Chicago Steinway Piano; Charles Terr, Technician