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‘Fathers & Daughters’ Fedorov and Zemtsov

All other Channel Classics albums featuring Anna Fedorova and Dana Zemtsov are now on special for 25% off.

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A release no one should be without.

Why? Two of the world’s prominent rising stars, The Ukrainian-born pianist, Anna Fedorova, and the Mexican-born violist, Dana Zemtsov, joined here by their equally renowned fathers, Borys Fedorov and Michail Zemtsov, have created a programme that is as interesting as it is unusual. Rather than repeating the gist here, I suggest reading the detailed liner notes available in the accompanying booklet. What may look like a haphazard musical choice, is all part of a uniquely structured family concept about fathers and daughters; about old and new. About what was, what is, and what will surely remain. That’s why I believe that this is a release that is so out of the ordinary that no one serious about music and human relations should be without it. It bears witness to a bond of talented musicians rooted in the Slavic tradition but having spread their wings into today’s global scene. 

For a good understanding, this release is not about father-daughter Schmalz, nor charming family togetherness. It goes much deeper than that. Best friendships are born when they share the same values under difficult circumstances. Musical life behind the Iron Curtain and the early days after Ukrainian independence never was easy. The result we are privileged to witness here may not always be that easy on the listener’s mind either but is, at the same time, despite laughing faces on the cover, for the better part deeply moving.

Borys Fedorov’s Amarcord, Childhood Memories, a “nostalgic, bittersweet portrayal of the atmosphere their ancestors grew up in”, written for this recording, sets the tone for a recital giving ample expression to the close family and friendship ties. Dana’s soloist role in this three-piece memorial is simply amazing. She lets her viola tell the story, changing her tale between talking and singing with almost unbelievable tonal mastery. 

Borys Fedorov ad Anna Fedorov
Michail Zemtsov and Dana Zemtsov

Michail Zemtsov, too, gives proof of his ability to compose, this time further afield. His Tango Suite, with which the programme concludes, allows the two fathers and the two daughters to play in perfect unity, supported by Nicholas Schwartz, Anna’s husband, playing the double bass. To my ears, their reading is as bittersweet as Borys’ contribution. 

In between these two, I have immensely enjoyed Anna and Dana in Alexander Scriabin’s Elegy Op. 44. The intense beauty of playing confirms their acquired and unassailable fame. Indeed, I wouldn’t want to be without this release. 

A Dutch Connection?

But there is something else. Anna and Dana have become part of the Dutch musical community. So do both their fathers. Superb musicians in their own, internationally recognized rights, they have reached the mature level of highly successful teachers at the Dutch Conservatory in The Hague, Amsterdam, and Utrecht. 

Moreover, the special guest, the bass player featured in the ‘Celebration In 10 Hands’ epilogue is not only Anna’s husband and former member of the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, Amsterdam, but is also the founder of the Davidsbündler Music Academy in The Hague. 

A Dutch connection? So it would seem. The Dutch should be pleased to have such eminence within their borders. 

A collector’s item that has no competition

Last but not least, the Channel Classics recording staff have put this extraordinary album in a proper and highly rewarding engineering framework, leaving no stone unturned to present the listener with what -all things considered- may be called a collector’s item that has no competition

I do hope it will find its way among all those whose interest goes beyond Bach, Mozart and Beethoven.  


Blangy-le-Château, Normandy, France.

Copyright © 2023 Adrian Quanjer and HRAudio.net

Written by

Adrian Quanjer

Adrian Quanjer is a site reviewer at HRAudio, with many years of experience in classical music. He writes from his country retreat at Blangy-le-Château, France. As a regular concertgoer, he prefers listening to music in the highest possible resolution to recreate similar involvement at home. He is eager to share his thoughts with like-minded melomaniacs at NativeDSD.

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