Music from the Balkans for Violin and Piano
G. Enescu………….Sonata for Violin and Piano No. 3, Op. 25
C. Zadeja……….….Sonata for Violin and Piano
A. Vrebalov…….…Eastern Chapel Meditations for Violin, Piano,
& Pre-Recorded Sounds
N. Skalkottas….…Petite Suite No. 2 for Violin and Piano
P. Vladigerov.……Song from Bulgarian Suite
Miroslav Hristov, violin • Vladimir Valjarević, piano
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"...Bulgarian violinist Miroslav Hristov plays the gracefully propulsive phrases of Enescu's gypsy music with deep understanding of its style and place in the musical lexicon. Here, the piano sounds like an Eastern European cimbalom when played by Bosnian-American artist Vladimir Valjarevic. There are some very famous recordings of this sonata, including one with Dinu Lipatti accompanying the composer and another of Yehudi Menuhin accompanied by his sister Hephzibah, that are most easily found on YouTube. Naxos Classical Archives has a recording from 1956 with Rafael Druian and John Simms that takes the sonata at a faster pace than Hristov and Valjarevic, but I think slightly more leisurely tempi and modern sound make the Centaur disc considerably more attractive. There is a rather lean-toned rendition that violinist Leonidas Kavakos and pianist Peter Nagy recorded for ECM in 2003 and it is the real competition for Hristov and Valjarevic, whose meatier playing I prefer.
The finale on this CD is Pantcho Vladigerov's "Song," a lovely melody from his "Bulgarian Suite." After this diverse program, that song is the perfect ending to a fascinating disc. Recorded in 2010 in Bulgaria, the clear warm sound on this Centaur CD gives the listener the feeling of being in a small concert hall."
— Maria Nockin, Fanfare, 2012
"...Violinist Miroslav Hristov needn't take a back seat to any of the above. Bulgarian by birth, he's the real deal; all of the music on this disc is in his blood. He's on the violin faculty of the University of Tennessee's School of Music, but the CD was recorded in 2010 in Sofia's Bulgaria Chamber Hall, which provides a bright, vibrant acoustic setting for Hristov's finely honed, richly hued tone and Vladimir Valjarevic's resonant piano. Bosnian-American Valjarevic is on the piano faculty at Mannes College. Together, the Hristov/Valjarevic duo seeks to promote the rich cultural heritage of their native Balkan region, and I have to say that with this album they go long way toward achieving their mission. This is an immensely enjoyable and rewarding release, and one that comes with the highest recommendation."
— Jerry Dubins, Fanfare, 2012