REVIEWS

"An outstanding violin and piano recital disc. Ingolfsson’s playing is simply superb throughout a fascinating CD, with Stoupel providing terrific support."
The Whole Note
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Wiedergefunden - Die Violinistin Judith Ingolfsson gräbt Schätze an der Nahtstelle von Romantik und Moderne aus
"Judith Ingolfsson arbeitet mit sinnlichem Ton und klarer Linienführung den Ausnahmecharakter beider Kompositionen mustergültig heraus. Vladimir Stoupel macht sich Magnards Klavierläufe entspannt und elegant zu eigen."
Concerti.de
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Norman Lebrecht’s Album of the Week – Stephan and Magnard
"Judith Ingolfsson and Vladimir Stoupel bring the tragic pair vividly to life in the transparent acoustic of Berlin’s Jesus-Christus-Kirche. There’s an irresistible lyricism to Ingolfsson’s violin lines and no concession to sentimentality. These are lovely accounts of two rare works that you’ll really want to hear."
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Technisch makellos und ausdrucksstark interpretiert
"Stephan und Magnard – in der Gegenüberstellung ergeben sie ein suggestives kulturelles Bild aus beharrenden und vorwärtsstürmenden, reflektierenden und bedenkenlosen Kräften. Die Geigerin Judith Ingolfsson und der Pianist Vladimir Stoupel haben für dieses Programm zurecht eine Einladung zur offiziellen französischen Gedenkfeier zum 100. Jahrestag des Ausbruchs des Ersten Weltkriegs erhalten; noch zwei CDs zu diesem Thema sollen folgen. Sie spielen technisch makellos, mit großem Farb- und Ausdrucksspektrum gerade im Leisen."
Peter Uehling, kulturradio
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STRAVINSKY Divertimento SHOSTAKOVICH Violin Sonata Op 134
"Though the booklet-note writer declares that between Stravinsky and Shostakovich there is a “disparity in the conception of musical art which could not be greater”, they actually share qualities that make this a fascinating record. One is the love of dance rhythms.
It is obvious in the use of some of Tchaikovsky's songs and piano pieces for Stravinsky's Divertimento based on his ballet The Fairy's Kiss, and it is again strongly present in the klezmer-like Allegretto of Shostakovich's powerful Sonata; all seized upon with great brio here, as they need to be. There is also the invocation of earlier composers, with Stravinsky's exuberant Tchaikovsky transformations and with Shostakovich's profound homages to Bach.
Ingolfsson and Stoupel draw the Bach inspiration out in the deceptively straightforward opening Andante and in the long Largo finale to Shostakovich's Sonata, a marvelous, haunting piece of extended musical thought which is handled with superb control. There is also a less readily identifiable but very Russian sense of energy in the more vigorous dance music, which can seem to be on the verge of breaking out of control, especially in the Shostakovich's central movement. Both composers also respond to the inspiration of bell sounds, something again very Russian and vividly invoked here.
These are both strong, perceptive performances, recorded closely and lucidly, in which the complicated ambiguities in the music of both composers take hold powerfully below the sometimes jaunty surface."
Gramophone Magazine
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Powerful recordings of two highly different Russian violin works
"Stravinsky's Divertimento is an arrangement of the music from his ballet The Fairy's Kiss, a homage to Tchaikovsky. Judith Ingolfsson and Vladimir Stoupel work hard to bring out the subtleties in the music, ensuring that this never feels like an accompaniment to a spectacle that's eluding us. Icelandic violinist Ingolfsson, a professor at the Stuttgart Hochschule, has a gorgeously rich and incisive tone, and her colourful shadings of Stravinsky's elegant and magical themes have a feather-light touch. She is given impeccable support by Stoupel, who achieves a delicious transparency of texture. Recorded sound is bright and clean, with a nice bloom on the violin. Darker thoughts shadow Shostakovich's Sonata, yet here the players dare to rein in the expressive intensity, allowing it to creep in gently – the effect is as if one can hear Shostakovich refracted through the delicacy of the Stravinsky. It serves to increase the sense of bleakness and melancholy, from the slow build of the opening Andante through to the driving, dancing second-movement Allegretto. The passacaglia variations of the final, circling Largo, where the undertone of Bach's fugues seems ever present, are a well of tragic intensity – a gripping ending to a powerful and haunting reading."
The STRAD
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Two wildly divergent faces of Russian composition
"Stravinsky's fairytale ballet Le Baiser de la Fee is certainly one of the most tuneful scores Stravinsky ever penned, and even today maintains a wide popularity. This ballet received no less than four reworking's, entirely within the work ethic of the composer, who would make as many versions as needed to supply the needs of any ensemble or performers who wished to have performing scores for their own purposes. On this recording we have the first such arrangement, suggested to the composer by violinist Samuel Dushkin. It works well, and remains a popular adaptation. Stoupel and Ingolfsson play it with a lot of rhythmic flexibility and enjoyment. The Shostakovich is an entirely different emotional experience, one of the most harrowing sonatas in the literature, and light years divorced from the insouciance of the Stravinsky. Stoupel and Ingolfsson again take no precautions with this work, understanding it primarily as a nihilistic meditation on ultimate death, but playing it with a prophylactic reasoning that still maintains focus on the piece as pure music devoid of too many extra-musical associations. It works—they are able to refocus our attention on the notes themselves and present an accessible and cogent argument.?The recording is first-rate with the surround sound floating the two artists nicely all around. Short timing, but excellent concept and performances."
Audiophile Audition
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STRAVINSKY Divertimento SHOSTAKOVICH Violin Sonata Op 134
"Violinist Judith Ingolfsson finds great warmth in the lower registers of her Lorenzo Guadagnini violin for the Sinfonia of Igor Stravinsky’s Divertimento, but she also delivers its jagged rhythmic passages with cocky incisiveness—a brashness that strops a comparably sharp edge on her reading of the second movement (“Danses suisses”). The third provides her, as well as her sympathetic collaborator, pianist Vladimir Stoupel, with an opportunity to blend lyricism with slashing figuration, a challenge they meet with a combination of wit and verve. The last movement displays the unalloyed silver of her instrument’s upper registers—as well of course, as the purity of her tone production—in its cantabile sections. The contrast of an almost metallic brightness with shadows, and shadowy dimness streaked only occasionally by light, that the two works offer, of course, allows Ingolfsson to draw upon the correspondingly contrasting sides of her musical personality, her tone production, and the capabilities of her instrument; all three respond to the challenges of Dmitri Shostakovich’s late work. It seems to be a tough sell; even dedicatee David Oistrakh, who recorded the sonata with Sviatoslav Richter, and who set a very high standard, hardly popularized the piece. Ingolfsson and Stoupel play with reserved puckishness in the first movement, and they hack and slash their way aggressively through the second movement’s thickets of irony. Ingolfsson sounds particularly commanding as she dispatches the movement’s difficulties, and the engineers have captured the dynamic range of the instruments in the most tumultuous sections. By contrast, they set the pizzicato statement of the final movement’s passacaglia theme and the first variations in a very subdued light, which remains through the movement.
Ingolfsson stands in relation to Oistrakh, she demonstrates probing insight into the sonata—as she does into Stravinsky’s pastiche, and her pairing of them deserves a strong recommendation"
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