Yuri Zhislin and Natalia Lomeiko













"Husband and wife duo, violinist
Natalia Lomeiko and violist Yuri Zhislin, gave technically flawless performances that were joyous in interpretation and perfectly harmonious"

New Zealand Herald July 2011

HALVORSEN CD Fanfare Magazine Feb 2012

Jascha Heifetz played Johann Halvorsen's Passacaglia with William Primrose. Itzhak Perlman and Pinchas Zukerman later took it up, and these violinistic celebrities have helped keep the composer's name before audiences. The Sarabande con variazioni, based, like the Passacaglia, on a theme by George Frideric Handel (the Passacaglia takes the Passacaille from Handel's Keyboard Suite No. 7 as its basis), has not received such frequent attention. It's longer and perhaps more imposing and requires strong left hands to execute its numerous massive double-stops and chords as well as an agile right one to survey its widely varied bowings. Violinist Natalia Lomeiko and violist Yuri Zhislin take the theme a bit more quickly than audiences familiar with it from its key role in Barry Lyndon might remember, and their subsequent tempos in the variations follow suit, although the duo brings a haunting poignancy and spectral piquancy, respectively, to the two relaxed variations near the work's center. And despite the power they generate at the end, their approach remains generally light and virtuosic.

In the more popular Passacaglia, they adopt similarly sprightly tempos, and while they may not play with the almost self-conscious though wittily understated virtuosity of Perlman and Zukerman and may not sound so arch as do Heifetz and Primrose, they take greater advantage of the variations' expressive opportunities. Once again they make a great deal of the more reflective central variation, and their approach to even the most straightforward variations combines flexibility and playfulness, with the concluding variation fusing brilliance with pounding rhythmic insistence. Halvorsen's invigorating Concert Caprice on Norwegian Melodies (both Lomeiko and Zhislin playing violin) doesn't enjoy such frequent outings as even the Sarabande, but its straightforward virtuosity (at times it sounds a bit like one of Heinrich Ernst's variations on "The Last Rose of Summer"--of course in a setting for two rather than one violin, ostensibly rendering it more playable) should ingratiate it with audiences who enjoy violinistic figuration stretched to accommodate a generously stuffed bag of tricks (Caroline Waight's notes suggest that the thick textures may have been suggested by the Hardanger fiddle).

By comparison with Halvorsen's generally effervescent though occasionally darkly-hued works, Antonio Bartolomeo Bruni's Six Duos (Book IV) for violin and viola sound less subtle and surely less virtuosic, though no less straightforwardly melodious and surely no less dramatic (consider the outburst in the middle of the first movement--all the duos fall into two--of the First Duo). Bruni, who and served as the director of the Opéra-Comique, seems to have drawn on his theatrical experiences in these duos in both their agitato and their cantabile passages--as he also seems to have done in his 25 Studies for viola, which should help a violist develop a singing style as well as a basic technical command. Both Lomeiko and Zhislin produce a heavier tonal weight in these works, but they're also attuned to their melodic elegance and their tantalizing rhythmic playfulness (as in the First Duo's second movement). Some of the Duos (as in the Second's first movement), on the other hand, sound more earnest or, as in that work's second movement or the introduction to the Fifth Duo's opening movement, simply more introspective. But the tone of the Fourth Duo's suave first movement seems to predominate. Violinist Angelo Cicillini and violist Fabrizio Ammetto included Bruni's Duos on Mondo Musica 96078, which I warmly recommended in Fanfare 23:4; Lomeiko's and Zhislin's articulation sounds sharper and their rhythms, more pointed, and the recorded sounds at once closer and cleaner, though it has plenty of the warmth radiated by Mondo Musica's engineers.

Throughout the program, varied though it may be, Lomeiko and Zhislin produce sweetly homogeneous textures that hardly ever sound abrasive, and their ensemble retains its sense of unanimity throughout even the greatest difficulties. Naxos's lively recorded sound presents both instrumentalists in balanced fidelity with enough reverberation to ensure warmth in addition to clarity. Enthusiastically recommended to all types of listeners.
Robert Maxham

Wigmore Hall 2011 Hannah Gill Bachtrack.com

In this programme packed with Romantic intensity, the Russian Lomeiko-Zhislin duo demonstrated their versatility and ingenuity in crafting a programme of varied instrumental combinations.

First they were joined by pianist Katia Skanavi for three pieces by Bruch, whose skill as a miniaturist was reminiscent of Grieg and Dvorak in its persuasive lyricism. This was an ideal appetiser, opening with a beautifully phrased piano introduction and dark viola sonorities contrasting with the fleeting, almost weightless central piece in the trio. The brooding intensity reached a climax in the third piece, with repeated piano chords and a strident unison from violin and viola.

The piano was absent from the two works that followed, allowing us to hear what the two string soloists were really capable of. The Ysaÿe Sonata was characterised by fearsome double-stops and a dense, highly chromatic counterpoint that was unrelenting throughout. Referred to by his contemporaries as the ‘King of the Violin’, Ysaÿe’s Sonatas for solo violin are in a similar vein, pushing the boundaries of what was possible on the violin in much the same way that Liszt did for the piano.

To the unknowing listener, this sounded like rather more than just two violins, as the instruments were able to mimic a variety of orchestral effects. This lengthy work ran the gamut from imitative fugue to an exuberant conclusion reminiscent of the ‘gypsy’ violin style of playing, complete with pizzicato and sparkling artificial harmonics. In Martinu’s ‘Three Madrigals’, Zhislin swapped his violin for the viola in a work that explored instrumental colour, such as the chattering of bird-like trills in the highly effective second movement. These two challenging works served as a lesson in the possibilities of solo strings, capable in themselves of creating a rich and varied sound world.

The highlight of the evening was Brahms’ Trio op. 40, more commonly known in the version for Horn and Violin (the horn replaced here by viola). Like the Bruch pieces which opened the programme (where the more commonly heard clarinet version was replaced by violin), the use of a string combination lent the work a greater homogeneity, though sometimes at the cost of obscuring the independence of each part.

Here the trio perfectly captured the warmth of the opening gesture, with just enough of an ominous hint at the impending darkness in the melancholic Adagio mesto (‘sadly’). This was offset by an almost military finale, which raced along with its pentatonic bugle call.

MAHLER Brisbane, Australia Courier Mail

Maestro Concert 5
Queensland Symphony Orchestra
ConductorJohannes Fritzsch
Violin Natalia Lomeiko
Viola Yuri Zhislin
Concert Hall, QPAC
Reviewer Suzannah Conway
Reviewed Saturday 4 June 2011

The Queensland Symphony Orchestra is performing three of Mahler’s nine symphonies this year to celebrate the centenary of the composer’s death. The recent fifth symphony under Conductor Laureate, Muhai Tang, was sublime. A less popular and more troubled work, the ambitious Symphony No.6 in A minor, known as the Tragic, is particularly demanding for conductor and orchestra alike.

This proved to be a wonderful night. Inspired by Chief Conductor, Johannes Fritzsch, the orchestra demonstrated complete confidence and commitment in their collective and solo playing. The Maestro’s interpretation brought intelligence and understanding to this colossal work, while the composition’s layered textures and crossover themes were expertly managed across the many changes of mood and tempi. Played with tremendous strength by an enlarged orchestra of 110 players, including 60 strings, the sombre opening notes of the first movement were chilling. Led by flutes and violins, Alma’s melody soared over the brooding percussive marching theme with powerful musical depth.

Wisely offering the Andante before the Scherzo, the brutal intensity of the symphony gained some respite in this quieter movement. Fine work by horns, woodwind, harps and high strings added a sad poignancy, evocative of the alpine scenery Mahler loved.

The unrelenting repetitive percussive rhythms of the Scherzo dissolved seamlessly into well-paced lyrical dance sections with precise pizzicato strings. The difficult narrative of the final movement was masterful in delivery, the three powerful crescendos finally disintegrating into a cacophony of sound followed by tentative and carefully placed trombones and horns that faded away to an eerie silence. It was riveting. The fourth symphony will be eagerly awaited later this year.

Mozart’s delightful Sinfonia Concertante in E flat, a masterpiece of crossover form between symphony and concerto, was just the antidote to counterbalance Mahler. Fritzsch commenced with a crisp lightness allowing the orchestral strings, supplemented by perfect oboes and horns, to be a key voice alongside the soloists.

Husband and wife duo, violinist Natalia Lomeiko and violist Yuri Zhislin, reprising their success from 2010, gave technically flawless performances that were joyous in interpretation and perfectly harmonious.

The fast-paced Allegro and Presto movements offered violin and viola solos that chased each other in a constant playful dialogue with the orchestra. The central Andante movement, with its delicate languor, allowed Zhislin to colour his warm and richly-toned instrument perfectly, while Lomeiko’s violin soared beautifully across the stave. The two separate Mozart cadenzas were virtuosic.


RUSSIAN TRANSLATION</

Повторяя успех своего прошлогоднего концерта, дует мужа и жены Ломейко - Жислин исполнил Кончертанте Моцарта технически безукоризненно, их интерпретация была приятной и абсолютно гармоничной.

В первой и третьей частях скрипка и альт постоянно "играли" друг с другом и находились в непрерывном диалоге с оркестром. Вторая часть с ее деликатным томлением позволила Жислину блестяще окрасить свой теплый и тембрально богатый инструмент, в то время как скрипка Ломейко красиво парила по нотному стану. Две каденции были исполнены виртуозно.

BRUCH Wigmore Hall Musical Review
MOZART Moscow, Russia "Kultura

"The highlight of the evening was the performance by the Lomeiko-Zhislin Duo. The Mozart's Sinfonia Concertante is often played these days, and the listeners are offered a wide variety of different interpretations. Lomeiko and Zhislin, however, gave us one of the best versions I have ever heard. They played this beautiful music effortlessly and naturally, not making anything up, following the great composer's ideas: light, happiness, nobility and wisdom.

Their ensemble is phenomenal. It feels like both of them can predict exactly what the other one is about to do. Lomeiko and Zhislin are like twins: they sense the mood, the phrase and the colours of the work in exactly the same way. The viola does not keep any secrets from the violin. It gently decorates musical ideas that the violin creates with its own unique patterns. Sometimes, the same melody is simply shared by the two instruments. The tempos, passages, technical elements - everything was performed effortlessly. But the most significant thing was the sound: tender, transparent and dreamy from the violin, and dark and rich, as honey, from the viola.
"KULTURA, Moscow, Russia

BACH Santiago de Chile

No es fácil redescubrir las obras de Johann Sebastian Bach. En este caso los visitantes entregaron una visión renovada del "Concierto para dos violines cuerdas y contínuo", obra influenciada fuertemente por la música italiana. Participaron la hermosa violinista Natalia Lomeiko como primer violín y Yuri Zhislin en el segundo.

Destacaremos los diálogos y fraseos entre solistas y el "tutti" en el primer movimiento, de gran musicalidad. El segundo fue una muy grata sorpresa al ser tomada la "siciliana" casi a la danza, pero alada. Destacaremos la enorme musicalidad y bello sonido de la igualmente hermosa Natalia Lomeiko, que complementada estupendamente por Zhislin ofrecieron una entrañable versión, en ella incluso lograron sutiles cambios de "color" en el sonido de sus instrumentos, lo que sin duda que realzó más aún uno de los más hermosos movimientos creados por Bach.

Una extrema y elegante precisión virtuosa destacó en el tercero, en los solos y en el resto de las cuerdas, con arcos en correspondencia entre solos y tutti, en una brillante demostración de musicalidad. Santiago de Chile