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. 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.
(5/5 stars) - Classic. This duo of Russian pianist Irina Nuzova and American cellist Wendy Warner beautifully pargade a stimulating cross-section of works by beloved 20th century Russian composers Prokofiev, Rachmaninoff, and Scriabin and modern cats Miaskovsky and Schnittke. As performed by this twosome, these pieces have certain commonalities - deep, rapturous emotional expression that avoids schmaltziness and technique for the sake of etc. Warner's fluid, amber-hued cello is one of the most plaintively poetic sounds this writer has heard all year and Nuzova's style is stark, lyrical, and rhythm-bound. -- Icon Magazine, Mark Keresman, August 2010
Chicago cellist Wendy Warner plays with a rich tone and spot-on intonation as well as a perfect understanding of the subtle and not-so-subtle stylistic differences that inform this music of different eras, different esthetics. Her partner, Moscow-born and American-educated Irina Nuzova, is in full accord with Warner, whether supplying the ripe chords of the Scriabin or the intricate passagework of the Rachmaninoff. -- Audiophile Audition, Lee Passarella, August 2010
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. -- Classical Candor, John J. Puccio, August 2010
They [Wendy Warner and Irina Nuzova] revel in the score's riches, Warner drawing a tone of great depth and vibrancy from her cello, while Nuzova matches her partner with luxuriantly resonant sound across her piano's full range. -- Fanfare Magazine, Jerry Dubins, August 2010