Reviews

"I hadn’t been aware of Miriam Kramer previously, but she plays with a gorgeous tone and seems well nigh flawless. This disc includes all of Szymanowski’s music for violin and piano, which gives it an advantage over several other releases that are less complete. Considering its bargain price, it becomes an immediate first choice for any one wanting Karol Szymanowski’s violin music. This covers his career from earlier works vaguely reminiscent of Scriabin and German late romanticism to Debussy and Stravinsky with bits of Middle Eastern influences. Perhaps the best work is also the longest, the sonata. The Notturno and Tarantella is spectacular, while Pawel Kochanski’s transcription of the ‘Song of Roxanne’ from King Roger is a fine short work. Notes and recordings are very satisfactory, and Nicholas Durcan accompanies well."

- CARL BAUMANN -

American Record Guide - 2007

"Who is Karol Szymanowski? Is he the composer of the wildly romantic but still tonal Violin Sonata? Is he the composer of the lyrically impressionistic but no longer quite tonal Mythes? Is he the composer of the archly modernist and weirdly neo-tonal Berceuse d'Aïtacho Enia? In this superlative 2005 disc by violinist Miriam Kramer and pianist Nicholas Durcan, Szymanowski is all these composers and more, and best of all, he's always himself and always convincing. Kramer has a big, passionate tone when it's wanted; a sweet, tender tone when it's needed; and a superb technique all the time. She's amazingly ardent in the Sonata, deeply expressive in the Romance, radiantly colorful in the Mythes, austerely luminous in the Berceuse, palpably sensual in the Notturno and Tarantella, and supremely moving in the concluding transcription of the "Chant de Roxane" from the opera King Roger. Pianist Durcan is as much a partner as an accompanist and he supports Kramer with sympathy and affection. Recorded in Potton Hall in Westleton in Suffolk and produced and engineered by Michael Ponder, this disc will amaze those who know Szymanowski's music -- and confound those who only think they know Szymanowski's music."

JAMES LEONARD -

Allmusic.com - 2007

"Friends of Music launched its 2018 series at the Durban Jewish Centre on Tuesday (16 January) with a recital by the American violinist Miriam Kramer and her regular partner, British pianist Nicholas Durcan.

 

Engaging these distinguished artists, who delivered an evening of superb music making, proved a major coup. They opened their finely curated programme with Bartok’s six contrasting Romanian Dances, written for piano between 1915 and 1917, here arranged for violin and piano by Zoltan Szekely. These were followed by the sublime Adagio from JS Bach’s Sonata No 3 in E Major BWV 1016 for Violin and Keyboard, music straight from heaven if ever there was.

 

The centre piece of the evening’s programme, Sir Edward Elgar’s highly charged but rarely heard Sonata for Violin and Piano Opus 82 was performed with both intensity and tenderness, evoking the sense of nostalgia that is a hallmark of Elgar's oeuvre, particularly his late compositions. Composed in 1918, while staying at Brinkwells Cottage in the idyllic woods of West Sussex in England, the Sonata was among the last works he wrote.

 

As a timely nod to the current upsurge of global women’s solidarity, Kramer and Durcan opened the second half of their programme with an impromptu inclusion of the charming Romance Opus 23 by the American composer, Amy Beach (1867 – 1944).

 

The varied pace and tone of the programme continued with idiomatic performances of Robert Schumann’s Fantasiestucke Opus 73; two tangos by Astor Piazzolla, Oblivion and Libertango; and Swiss Jewish composer Ernest Bloch’s passionate Nigun (from Baal Shem). The evening ended with Kramer’s bravura account of Pablo de Sarasate’s flamboyantly virtuosic Zigeunerweisen Opus 20, which brought the audience to its feet."

WILLIAM CHARLTON-PERKINS -

Copydogonline.com - 2018

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