Sounds of War (2015)

Poulenc, Janacek, Leos Janacek, Prokofiev

Maria Milstein, Hanna Shybayeva

Sounds of War
Violinist Maria Milstein and pianist Hanna Shybayeva formed a duo since 2013. The affinities they share in the approach of the repertoire as well as their common passion for chamber music resulted in many collaborations that evolved into this, their debut album together.

Born in the former Soviet Union and emigrating later to the Netherlands, both musicians share a strong link through their connection to Russian musical traditions. Inspiration for the album came from their extensive research into the repertoire for violin and piano. The three Sonatas struck both Hanna and Maria with their powerful messages that remain equally relevant today.

The works on this album share a common feature in that they were all composed during times of war. For each of these composers, artistic creation provided an outlet for expression and communication in oppressive times. Their expressions of distress are very personal ranging from direct, descriptive depictions of the atrocities of war to nostalgic recollections and alternative realities. The Sonata by Francis Poulenc was dedicated to the memory of the Spanish poet Frederico Garcia Lorca who was executed during the Spanish Civil War. The composer’s wit and humour are overshadowed by tragedy and turmoil with the beautiful Intermezzo serving as a poignant homage to the deceased poet. Leoš Janácek’s Violin Sonata from 1914 is an expression of his personal pain and torment. The fragile nature of humanity is juxtaposed with the surrounding insanity of the times. Sergei Prokofiev’s dark and ruthless First Sonata is a masterful depiction of the horrors of war and totalitarianism.

As performers, Maria Milstein and Hanna Shybayeva found it fascinating to bring together these masterpieces of chamber music repertoire written by very different composers, each finding his own personal way to reflect the surrounding chaos.

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Maria Milstein

Born in Moscow in a family of musicians, Maria Milstein (1985) starts the violin at the age of five. Her family moves to France in 1991. She studies in Fiesole with Pavel Vernikov, in Amsterdam Conservatory with Ilya Grubert and in London with David Takeno. Between 2011 and 2014 Maria is Artist in Residence at the Queen Elisabeth Music Chapel, in the class of Augustin Dumay.
Maria is a prizewinner of major international competitions and awards such as “Città di Brescia” and “Premio Rodolfo Lipizer” in Italy, the ARD Competition in Munich (Piano Trio Category) and the Lyon International Chamber Music Competition (both as violinist of the Van Baerle Trio), as well as the Concertgebouw Vriendenkrans Competition and the Kersjes Prize in the Netherlands. She has been selected for international concert tours such as the “New Masters on Tour” of the Holland Music Sessions, or the ECHO “Rising Stars” with her Van Baerle Trio.

Maria appears as a soloist with the National Orchestra of Belgium, the Brussels Philharmonic, the Royal Chamber Orchestra of Wallonie, the Musica Viva Orchestra of Moscow and Amsterdam Sinfonietta, and in 2013 she collaborates with the Liège Royal Philharmonic Orchestra for the recording of Saint-Saëns works for violin and orchestra (Zig-Zag Territoires, 2013).
Maria performs as a soloist with conductors such as Michel Tabachnik, Jean-Jacques Kantorow, Christian Arming, Christopher Warren-Green, Alexander Rudin, Augustin Dumay, Reinbert de Leeuw and Ivan Meylemans. A highly appreciated chamber musician, she plays together with renowned artists such as Elisabeth Leonskaja, Gary Hoffman, Abdel Rahman El Bacha, Hannes Minnaar, Philippe Graffin, Liza and Dmitri Ferschtman and Alexander Kniazev.

Since 2004, Maria forms together with pianist Hannes Minnaar and cellist Gideon den Herder the Van Baerle Trio. Very successful at several international competitions, the trio has released two albums: a debut CD with works by Saint-Saëns, Loevendie and Ravel (Etcetera Records, 2012), which received an Edison award in 2013 in the category “best debut CD”, and an album dedicated to Mendelssohn piano trios (Challenge Records, 2014), with the exclusive recording of the early version of Mendelssohn’s First Trio. Both CD’s received lavish reviews in the international press. The Trio tours extensively in Europe, performing at major venues such as the Musikverein in Vienna, the Philharmonie in Cologne, Cité de la Musique and Auditorium du Louvre in Paris, Concertgebouw in Amsterdam, Bozar in Brussels, the Philharmonie in Essen and many others.
Since 2014 Maria holds a teaching position at the Conservatory of Amsterdam. Maria plays on a violin by Jean-Baptiste Vuillaume from 1860.


Hanna Shybayeva

Having started her international career since the age of eleven, Hanna Shybayeva transformed from being a child prodigy to the mature and exciting musician she is today, whose playing is praised by press and public alike for its deep musical interpretations, capturing energy, great sense of form and its rich colour palette. Being devoted to music in every form, Hanna enjoys her solo peformances as much as being a partner in both chamber- and vocal music.
Since 2008 she is a core member of the New European Ensemble. The ensemble is made of young soloists and chamber musicians from across Europe and is quickly becoming one of the most innovative, vibrant and versatile ensemble’s for new music.
Born in 1979 in a family of musicians, Hanna began her piano-education at the age of six. In the course of time, she won many prizes in Europe and the US, and had a busy schedule participating in festivals and giving solo-recitals as well as concert-performances with orchestras in Europe, Russia and the US, such as the Philharmonic Orchestra of Belarus, the North-Osetia Philharmonic, the Philharmonic Orchestra of Belgrad, the Kammer-orchester Lünen, the Philharmonic Orchestra of Dortmund, the Minnesota Symphony Orchestra (US) and the Chamber Orchestra “Amici della Musica” (Belgium). She was privileged to work with conductors such as Yuri Ziryuk, Gennadi Provatorov, Joachim Simon, Angel Shurev, Lygia O’Riordan, Moshe Atzmon, Marc Russell-Smith, Yaron Traub, Kevin Edusei, Hans Leenders and Neeme Järvi, and was awarded grants from Unesco/New Names (Moscow). the G.Soros Foundation, the Spivakov Foundation (Moscow), the Yuri Egorov Foundation (Amsterdam), Yamaha Music Europe and the Prince Bernhard Cultural Foundation of The Netherlands.
At the age of eighteen Hanna left her hometown (Minsk) in search of new possibilities to learn and to explore her talent, and after having spend a year travelling through Europe, she came to The Netherlands in 1999 to continue her studies with Naum Grubert at the Royal Conservatory in The Hague, where she graduated in June 2005 as Master of Music with the highest distinction.
Her first CD-album (2000) was broadcast on Dutch classical RADIO-4, and in 2001 she won the two top-prizes at the YPF National Piano Competition in Amsterdam. Shortly afterwards, Philips-Universal released her second CD-album, which was highly regarded in the Dutch press, and she appeared as soloist with the Netherlands Philharmonic Orchestra in the Amsterdam Concertgebouw.




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Sounds of War (2015)

Poulenc, Janacek, Leos Janacek, Prokofiev

Maria Milstein, Hanna Shybayeva

    Parool, dec 2015

No 1 in the most beautiful classical music of 2015 : Maria Milstein and Hanna Shybayeva play on their truly stunning debut CD violin sonatas by Poulenc, Janacek and Prokofiev, and the result is a beauty that hurts. All three pieces were written in a time of war, what the emotional charge is greatly increased. Milstein and Shybayeva play from the depths of the soul.

Eric Voermans[read full review]

    NRC zomergids, 18 juli 2015

One of the best classical albums of 2015 until summer: Sounds of War Normally you would choose for a 30 years young musician words as "great debut", but for Milstein this is totally inapplicable. Her mature tone shines, her technique stuns but it is especially the soulful glow of her playing, great also accompanied by pianist Hanna Shybayeva, which inevitably drags. Normaal zou je bij een musicus van 30 dan welwillende woorden als “geweldig debuut” kiezen, maar op Milstein is dat totaal niet van toepassing. Haar rijpe toon glanst, haar techniek verbluft maar het is vooral de zielvolle gloed van haar spel, geweldig begeleid ook door pianiste Hanna Shybayeva, die onherroepelijk meesleept.

Misha Spel[read full review]

    Gramophone june 2015

Linking these three violin sonatas under the title 'Sounds of War' produces a powerful recital. All three make considerable emotional as well as technical demands, and Milstein an Shybayeva have clearly studied them in depth. These are thoughtful, powerful interpretations.

John Warrack

    Luister juni 2015 -

Milstein zet al direct in het eerste deel grootse accenten, op een manier die mij zeer bevalt. Ze bereikt hiermee het hoogst bereikbare dramatische effect. Milstein en Shybayeva ontmoeten vor Janáceks vioolsonate wel pittige concurrentie in Kremer en Argerich op DG. Maar voor Prokofievs sonate zijn ze in een aantal aspeten te prefereren. De opname is uitstekend, waarbij de goede balans tussen viool en piano positief opvalt.

Emile Stoffels

    Trouw, 10 april 2015 -

Ongelooflijk dat de musiciennes, beiden geboren in de Sovjet-Unie, pas een paar jaar samenspelen: ze vormen een briljant duo, ieder met een heel eigen geluid, en angstaanjagend direct in hun boodschap. Fluisterend, zoetjes strijkend en ook scheurend over de snaren, zo gaat het er bij Milstein aan toe. Shybayeva haakt aan, spreidt een pianistisch bedje voor de viool en geeft ad rem weerwerk. Iedere noot is raak op dit schijfje.

Frederike Berntsen

    De Telegraaf, 14 maart 2015 -

Van katachtige souplesse tot zangerige lyriek: Milstein en Shybayeva beheersen het tot in de finesses. Ook hun gevoel voor stilte en geheimenis is rijk ontwikkeld.

Thiemo Wind

    Südwest Presse, 14 maart 2015

Es ist nicht nur spannend, sondern geradezu aufregend, den beiden ebenso messerscharf wie sensitiv agierenden Interpretinnen auf ihrer akustischen Tour de Force zu folgen. Ja, in dieser Zusammenstellung öffnen die Werke ganz neue Klangräume.

BURKHARD SCHÄFER[read full review]

    NRC 9 maart 2015 -

The rich mastery of Milstein is stunned. A crisp sparkle in her voice grabs you immediately. In intense musical dialogue with pianist Hanna Shybayeva she takes plenty of risks and leaves jagged edges from mastery to add great depth to the emotionality.

Misha Spel

    Volkskrant 18 february, 2015 -

Al bij de eerste tonen van Poulencs Vioolsonate hoor je dat hier een volbloed muzikante aan het werk is.......Hoewel dit allemaal bepaald geen vrolijke muziek is, is het samenspel van de twee toch bijzonder opwekkend.

Frits van der Waa[read full review]

    Parool, 26 february 2015 -

Het resultaat van hun schitterende debuutCD is van een schoonheid die pijn doet. Hun muzikaliteit is indrukwekkend, het samenspel symbiotisch en de zeggingskracht buitengewoon intens. Ze vloeren de luisteraar in Poulencs langzame deel en opstaan lukt een cd lang niet.

Eric Voermans

Sounds of War (2015)

Poulenc, Janacek, Leos Janacek, Prokofiev

Maria Milstein, Hanna Shybayeva

Binaural:: For this album we chose to record in Binaural as well. This is a perfect solution for headphone users. The recordings are made with the dummy head of Neuman, the KU-100. On a headphone this gives a surprisingly realistic image and it gives you the feeling of being at the session. This idea to develop an extra Binaural catalogue in DSD is initiated and supported by Rivasono in The Netherlands.
Digital Converters: DCS 904 AD/954 DA
Mastering Engineer: Tom Peeters
Mastering Equipment: KEF Reference series 107
Microphones: Bruel & Kjaer 4003, modified by Rens Heijnis,
Mixing Board: Rens Heijnis custom made
Producer: Tom Peeters
Recording Engineer: Tom Peeters
Recording location: Jurriaanse Zaal, De Doelen, Rotterdam Holland
Recording Software: Pyramix
Recording Type & Bit Rate: DSD64

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COBRA0045: Sounds of War
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Sonata for Violin and Piano (1942/43, rev. 1949)- I. Allegro con fuoco
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Sonata for Violin and Piano (1942/43, rev. 1949)- II. Intermezzo- Tres lent et calme
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Sonata for Violin and Piano (1942/43, rev. 1949)- III. Presto tragico
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Sonata for Violin and Piano JW VII/7 (1914/21)- I. Con moto
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Sonata for Violin and Piano JW VII/7 (1914/21)- II. Ballada- Con moto
Leos Janacek
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Sonata for Violin and Piano JW VII/7 (1914/21)- III. Allegretto
Leos Janacek
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Sonata for Violin and Piano JW VII/7 (1914/21)- IV. Adagio
Leos Janacek
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Sonata No. 1 for Violin and Piano in F minor , Op. 80- I. Andante assai
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Sonata No. 1 for Violin and Piano in F minor , Op. 80- II. Allegro brusco
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Sonata No. 1 for Violin and Piano in F minor , Op. 80- III. Andante
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Sonata No. 1 for Violin and Piano in F minor , Op. 80- IV. Allegrissimo
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