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GARE DU NORD: Duos of Parisian Influence
"Madalyn and Cicely Parnas each have a sound that can at once evoke brilliance and warmth, and complement each other well; their intonation and ensemble are near-flawless, and they can pivot from a rich sound to powerfully incisive playing with startling ease. Best of all, their thought-provoking playing on this CD invites repeated listening. [...] This is the best new chamber music disc I've heard so far this year. Believe the hype: the kids are alright — okay, they're stupendous."
-- Gene Gaudette, Synaphai
"'Gare Du Nord: Duos of Parisian Influence' is a recording that chamber music aficionados will cherish...The sisters are remarkable on many levels: the blend of their ensemble, the perfect intonation and their mastery of string technique, their interpretive flair and integrity. But most of all, I was impressed with their artistic growth. These young women, still in their teens, already perform at the level of mature artists. This is a must-have CD, and one that will reward you with repeated hearings."
-- Stephen Dankner, Berkshire Advocate
"'Gare du Nord' [...] refers to the famous Paris train station and to the music's ties to Parisian culture [...] What really pulls the program together is the extraordinarily assured, even muscular playing. [...] Duos by Martinu bookend the disk and set the tone [...] it's an almost continuous flow of rich, short movements, rollicking with melody."
-- Joe Dalton, Albany Times Union
The French title describes the unifying thread that runs through the body of work on this recording: the composers represented on this disc all converged on Paris in various ways, for various reasons, and from many different places, as do rail travelers in the Paris train station, "Gare du Nord." The result is a fascinating collection, eclectic and complementary, similar and divergent. GARE DU NORD is available beginning August 24, 2009.
Sheffield Lab Catalogue No. SL10088
"Two teenaged sisters from upstate New York, Madalyn and Cicely Parnas, give a fine, tense reading of two duos for violin and cello by Martinu, together with Paris-oriented works by Glière, Honegger and Milhaud and a new work by Brian Fennelly. [...] A pair to watch."
-- Norman Lebrecht, La Scena Musicale
"The two most arresting works [...] and the most virtuosic, [are] Arthur Honegger's Sonatina and Martinu's Duo. The language of the first is not the French expression of Ravel or Poulenc – with their surface polish and relative accessibility. Honegger’s work is filled with surprises of broken phrases, unexpected harmonics, and serious utterance relieved by quick turns of humor. It wanders over key and tempo changes like an expert mountaineer climbing the high ridges of gravity’s pull – leaping from one secure footing to another. The Martinu is one of the finest compositions of that composer [...absorbing] the full flavors of the Eastern European folk idioms – with a stunning cadenza for the cello mightily dispatched by Cicely. [...] If any listener cares enough to enter another territory filled with surprise and, at times, just a bit of sonic terror, let him travel to these modern works. The escape from repetition is found in the surprise of the new, the unexpected. Modern art removes the customary, the tried and often untrue – so that new life begins with alert experience. These two young performers are blessed with talent sent from the muses’ highest mountain. "
-- Robert Moynihan, Freeman's Journal, Cooperstown, NY