Classical review: July 27

Prokofiev: Violin Sonatas, Five Melodies for Violin and Piano. Natalia Lomeiko (violin.) Atoll CD.
Prokofiev: Violin Sonatas, Five Melodies for Violin and Piano. Natalia Lomeiko (violin.) Atoll CD.
This generous 81-minute disc features the popular, but fiendishly difficult, Sonatas for Violin and Piano No 1 and No 2, (Op. 80 and Op. 94a) and also the Sonata for Two Violins Op. 56 with Natalia Lomeiko's husband Yuri Zhislin as second violinist.

Five Melodies Op. 35 were composed in 1920 and make a delightful filler. Olga Sitkovetsky is the pianist in most of these works and has partnered Lomeiko on the keyboard for more than 20 years.

Russian Lomeiko was hailed by Lord Menuhin as ''one of the most brilliant of our younger violinists'' and has established herself as an internationally renowned violinist and as professor at the Royal College of Music in London.

She has won numerous awards and prizes, in the Tchaikovsky, Menuhin, Stradivari and Tibor Varga International Violin Competitions, and in 2000 became gold medallist and first prize winner of Premio Paganini, as well as winning the Michael Hill International Violin Competition.

She gives an exemplary and entrancing performance on this fine CD.

Half of the brilliant showpieces on this album were written abroad; the earliest, the Five Melodies, originally for voice and piano, was written in the United States, and the double sonata in France.

Having performed the latter a lot with her husband, Lomeiko says ''this is a long-anticipated opportunity to share our insight into this piece''.

From picturesque and lyrical slow movements to the folk-inspired last movement the writing for the violins is brilliant, both parts interwoven so that it's often hard to tell which violin is playing.

Verdict: Exquisite playing delivers sparkling Prokofiev delights.


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