Katya Apekisheva


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Elena Langer: Landscape With Three People

Elena Langer: Landscape With Three People

Langer, E:

Landscape With Three People


The Storm Cloud (Tucha)

Two Cat Songs


Stay O Sweet

Anna Dennis (soprano), William Towers (countertenor), Nicholas Daniel (oboe), Roman Mints (violin), Meghan Cassidy (viola), Kristine Blaumane (cello), Robert Howarth (harpsichord), Katya Apekisheva (piano)

A selection of chamber works by Elena Langer (b.1974, Moscow), notable for their playful counterpoint and delicate textures. The London-based composer delights in exploring the endless soundworlds of voices and instruments.

'Landscape With Three People' dates from 2013, with texts by poet Lee Harwood.

Elena moved to London to complete her degrees first at the Royal College of Music and then at the Royal Academy of Music. She has studied with Julian Anderson, Simon Bainbridge, Gerard McBurney and taken lessons with Sofia Gubaidulina (Centre Acanthes, France), Dmitri Smirnov, Jo Kondo and Jonathan Harvey. In 2002 and 2003 Elena was the first ever composer-in-residence at the Almeida Theatre, London.

She has received commissions and performances from organisations such as The Royal Opera House's ROH2, Zurich Opera, Carnegie Hall, The Britten and Strauss Festival in Aldeburgh, Park Lane Group, St. Petersburg's Music Spring, Chamber Music Series "XX/XXI" of the Bayerische Staatsoper (Germany). This recording project was generously funded by Blyth Valley Chamber Music, the Ralph Vaughan Williams Trust and a large number of individuals. The new CD will be launched in parallel with the first public performances in Cardiff of the composer’s 'Figaro Gets A Divorce', a new opera for Welsh National Opera under David Pountney.

“This is the first disc solely dedicated to the music of Elena Langer and it offers and exquisitely performed showcase of her vocal-chamber works…here the human voice is also centre-stage in music of crystalline, bright purity…the refined voices of Anna Dennis and William Towers intertwine with moving lyricism…Dennis inhabits every corner of the lamenting, lovesick Ariadne in her thorny, freewheeling monologue” BBC Music Magazine, April 2016

“[Langer] is a natural dramatist to her fingertips; everything she touches it just tingles with storytelling … it’s got a lovely texture because of those baroque resources … I feel the spirit of Britten is there… I really love the quality of the voices here, it’s beautifully performed” CD Review, 05/03/2016

“[Landscape with Three People] nimble and light, sensual without forcing the point, folksy but not quite fey; whimsical, in the deconstructed manner of Berio or Nono. The two voices lilt together [and]…the performance is excellent — especially from Dennis, whose voice is beautifully grainy but still laced with metal. The album also contains older Langer songs including the haunting Russian lament Tucha and a feverish 17-minute monologue called Ariadne.” The Guardian, January 2016 ****

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Maxim Rysanov plays Martinu

Maxim Rysanov plays Martinu


Rhapsody-Concerto for Viola and Orchestra

BBC Symphony Orchestra, Jiří Bělohlávek

Three Madrigals for Violin and Viola (Duo No. 1), H. 313

Alexander Sitkovetsky (violin)

Duo for Violin and Viola No. 2, H. 331

Alexander Sitkovetsky (violin

Sonata for Viola & Piano, H. 355

Katya Apekisheva (piano)

Maxim Rysanov, one of today's leading viola players, explores Martinů’s clear fascination with the viola on this disc, opening with the Rhapsody-Concerto from 1952. In this lyrical two-movement work, Rysanov is supported by the BBC Symphony Orchestra, conducted by the eminent Martinů expert Jiří Bělohlávek. The two Duos for violin and viola which follow are slightly earlier (from 1947 and 1950, respectively). Here the young Russian violinist Alexander Sitkovetsky joins Rysanov, in two scores where exacting technical demands bring the reward of an astonishing richness in sounds and variety from such a sparse instrumentation. Maxim Rysanov closes the disc in the company of the pianist Katya Apekisheva, performing the Viola Sonata of 1955 – like the Rhapsody-Concerto in two movements, with a tough, passionate mood that often recalls the composer's better-known cello sonatas.

“It makes perfect sense that Bohuslav Martinů was a fan of the viola; the instrument’s generous, conversational voice is exactly right for his music, and this recording from Ukrainian violist Maxim Rysanov is easy proof of why...Rysanov clinches the shifting characters and always makes his lines sing; conductor Jiří Bělohlávek draws warmth and brawn from the BBC Symphony Orchestra.” The Guardian, 7th May 2015 ****

“Rysanov plays…with great expression and there's a spring in his step…the Viola Sonata, with Katya Apekisheva in strong support, is the most discursive of the pieces here but she and Rysanov have the measure of it. That distinctive measured dance tune at 1'44 which returns as the first movement's coda is pure magic in their hands. A Martinu CD to play again and again.” Gramophone Magazine, June 2015

“Rysanov, the tone of his 1780 Guadagnini viola a miraculous combination of dark vigour with the translucency of a viola d'amore, has the most idiomatic partner in Jiri Belohlavek conducting the BBC Symphony Orchestra. The consonance with violinist Alexander Sitkovetsky in the two Duos of 1947 and 1950 is even more mirculous. They play as one, swooping under and over each other.” BBC Music Magazine, August 2015 *****

GGramophone Awards 2016

Shortlisted - Concerto

GGramophone Magazine

Editor's Choice - June 2015

Super Audio CD


Hybrid Multi-channel

BIS - BIS2030



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Kreisler: Violin Music

Kreisler: Violin Music


Praeludium and Allegro (in the style of Pugnani)


Schön Rosmarin



Polichinelle, serenade

Tambourin Chinois, Op. 3

Melodie (after Gluck)

Toy Soldiers' March

La Chasse (The Hunt) in the style of Jean-Baptiste Cartier

Caprice Viennois, Op. 2

Allegretto (in the style of Boccherini)

Danse Espagnole (after Falla)

Mazurka in E minor (after Dvorak)

Miniature violin march

Recitative & Scherzo Caprice, Op. 6


Violin Sonata in G minor 'Devil's Trill'

arr. Kreisler

Jack Liebeck (violin) & Katya Apekisheva (piano)

Hyperion is delighted to welcome award-winning violinist Jack Liebeck to the label, together with his frequent collaborator, Katya Apekisheva.

Liebeck presents a selection of music by ‘revolutionary player and the epitome of the Viennese violinist’, Fritz Kreisler. Some of Kreisler’s works have a dubious genesis. He programmed his own pieces in recitals; but in about 1905 he started passing some off as works by composers of the past, even writing a ‘Vivaldi’ concerto. He continued this practice. In 1934 he instructed his American publisher, Carl Fischer, to list his so-called ‘Classical Manuscripts’ as his own compositions in the 1935 catalogue; but this change was pre-empted when the New York Times critic, Olin Downes, was asked to give a lecture-recital with Yehudi Menuhin and started investigating the origins of the Praeludium and Allegro. Kreisler admitted it was his own work and his deception made front-page news worldwide. The Praeludium and Allegro (Classical Manuscript No 5, attributed to Gaetano Pugnani) is Kreisler’s finest achievement. When playing it at the Paris Opéra in 1923, Kreisler saw Vincent d’Indy wag a finger at him from the front row and thought he had been found out. Afterwards d’Indy told him: ‘Pugnani would not have played the Allegro in that tempo.’

This selection includes Kreisler’s absurdly virtuosic arrangement of ‘The Devil’s Trill’ by Tartini: Kreisler’s edition, incorporating a realization of the figured bass as well as fingerings and phrasings, provides a fearsome cadenza involving triple- and quadruple-stopping as well as two- and three-note trills.

Read Presto's complete review of this disc here.

“An hour in the company of Messrs. Liebeck and Kreisler is very definitely time well spent, and it struck me as I listened that in a sense the relationship between Liebeck’s playing and Kreisler’s interpretations is a nice reflection of that between Kreisler and his ‘Old Masters’: underpinned by an obvious affection and understanding of the earlier style, yet always infused with freshness and individuality.” Katherine Cooper, Presto Classical, 31st March 2014

“these are so refreshingly bright and zestful they feel like new pieces...perhaps the most impressive performance in the entire collection is the conquering of Kreisler's adaptation of Tartini's Devil's Trill sonata, which surrenders completely to Liebeck and Katya Apekisheva's formidable technique.” The Observer, 17th April 2014 ****

“Liebeck is a fine player - no doubt about that - with a firm tone and rock-solid technique. The 1785 'Ex-Wilhelmj' Guadagnini he plays fills St George's, Bristol, with commanding ease...Apekisheva is an alert and most sensitive accompanist, sticking to her partner like a limpet.” Gramophone Magazine, May 2014

“In contrast to the concert-hall projection of Perlman, Liebeck plays these timeless miniatures with a salonesque intimacy and glowing cantabile to rival even the composer.” BBC Music Magazine, August 2014 *****

Presto Disc of the Week

31st March 2014

Hyperion - CDA68040



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Katya Apekisheva plays Mussorgsky & Shostakovich

Katya Apekisheva plays Mussorgsky & Shostakovich


Pictures at an Exhibition (piano version)


Preludes for piano (24), Op. 34 (complete)

Katya Apekisheva makes her solo ONYX debut with the work that brought the house down at her recent recital in London’s Wigmore Hall. Katya has appeared on disc for ONYX accompanying Maxim Rysanov, ONYX4033 Brahms Viola, and regularly performs with Jack Liebeck and Natalie Clein.

“Apekisheva certainly takes nothing for granted and brings several individual touches to Pictures...As a whole, though, Apekisheva's interpretation comes across as over-calculating and deliberate...Generally Apekisheva is more successful with Shostakovich's Preludes...The virtuosic numbers sparkle, and Apekisheva demonstrates, compared with her Pictures, a more subtle musicianship.” BBC Music Magazine, August 2012 ***

“the whole performance [of Pictures] has a sweep and structure that is utterly compelling. The 24 Shostakovich Preludes...make surprisingly apt companions...Apekishiva handles all their lyrical, parodic and virtuoso (try No. 5) aspects with sensitivity and aplomb by turns.” Gramophone Magazine, September 2012

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Schnittke: Works for Violin & Piano

Schnittke: Works for Violin & Piano




Stille Nacht for Violin & Piano

Suite in the Old Style

Sonata No. 1 for violin and piano

Sonata No. 2 (Quasi una Sonata) for violin and piano

Sonata No. 3 for violin & piano

Roman Mints (violin) & Katya Apekisheva (piano)

Roman Mints won a Foundation Scholarship to the Royal College of Music in London, and studied at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama. Roman has recorded for ECM, Harmonia Mundi, Quartz, and other labels, and has performed with such prominent groups as the London Mozart Players, London Chamber Orchestra, Lithuanian Chamber Orchestra, Musica Viva Orchestra, Russian Philharmonia, Kremerata Baltica, Prague Soloists and Prague Sinfonia, among others. His recording of the Mozetich Violin Concerto ‘Affairs of the Heart’ was used in productions by Hong Kong Ballet, Royal Winnipeg Ballet and the Q-dance company.

Katya Apekisheva is one of Europe’s foremost pianists, in demand internationally as both a soloist and chamber musician. Katya has appeared as soloist with many of the world’s leading orchestras including the London Philharmonic, the Philharmonia, the Halle Orchestra and the Moscow Philharmonic. Her CD of Grieg solo piano works on Quartz was chosen by Classic FM as CD of the week and selected by Gramophone Magazine as ‘Editor's Choice’. As a chamber musician, Katya regularly collaborates with Janine Jansen, Natalie Clein, Maxim Rysanov, Jack Liebeck, Nicholas Daniel, Guy Johnston, Belcea and Heath quartets.

“Mints and Katya Apekisheva are passionate and dedicated guides to Schnittke’s expressive landscapes as they evolve from late-Shostakovian grimaces to polystylistic melanges of neo-Baroque stylisation and Polish-school aleatory…a well-recorded and scrupulously prepared pair of discs” Gramophone Magazine, September 2016

Quartz - QTZ2116

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Stravinsky: Piano Ballets

Stravinsky: Piano Ballets



for piano duet

The Rite of Spring

for piano duet

Katya Apekisheva (piano) & Charles Owen (piano)

According to Stravinsky, Petrushka started out as 'an orchestral work with the piano playing the most important part – a kind of konzertstück.’ It was the impresario Serge Diaghilev, founder of the Ballets Russes, who persuaded him to transform this existing material into a full-length orchestral ballet score. Stravinsky almost invariably composed sat at the piano – the shape of his ideas was determined by the instrument’s essentially percussive nature. In the case of Petrushka, the title character’s distinctive harmonic profile rose directly from the juxtaposition of two chords based respectively on the keyboard’s white and black notes. The piano-duo version is therefore no mere arrangement but the original source out of which the orchestral score was fashioned.

“The contrasts are sharp, bright, and witty, and the manically-driving tempos whirl us along. These players relish both the virtuosity required, and the chance to convey comedy; the Enchantment of the second scene really is enchanting…Apekisheva and Owen light up Stravinsky’s world with every phrase pellucidly clear; the precision of their playing is a delight in itself…this performance crackles with excitement” BBC Music Magazine, September 2016 *****

“Owen and Apekisheva really understand Stravinsky’s layering techniques, and a huge amount of detail comes through” International Piano, September 2016 ****

“The piano-duet arrangement of Le Sacre du Printemps in particular brings satisfaction and reward” MusicWeb International, 16th September 2016

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Works for Viola & Piano

Works for Viola & Piano


Lachrymae for viola & piano, Op. 48


Märchenbilder (4), Op. 113


Viola Sonata, Op. 147

Krzystof Chorzelski (viola) & Katya Apekisheva (piano)

Originally published for viola, with violin as an alternative, Schumann’s Märchenbilder Op. 113 of 1852, are part of the group of lyric pieces that he composed in the late 1840’s and early 1850’s, designed as satisfying music for amateurs to perform in domestic settings. That said, the dedicatee of these pieces, Wilhelm Wasielewski, leader of the Düsseldorf orchestra was no amateur, something reflected in the viola writing for these ‘Fairytale Pictures’.

“The third movement feels to me like Schumann’s response to Der Erlkönig and the last movement is one of his most touching ‘songs without words’” says Krzysztof.

Britten’s Lachrymae, subtitled ‘Reflections on a Song of John Dowland’, were written almost 100 years later and recall the most famous of Dowland’s instrumental solos the Lachrymae Pavan or Flow my tears. But the lute song on which Britten principally bases his six reflections is a love-lorn lament, the melancholy song If my complaints could passions move. Inspiration to write for viola had come from Britten’s meeting with the virtuoso William Primrose who gave the premiere performance in Aldeburgh in June 1950.

Shostakovich’s Sonata was composed from April to July 1975 (he dies in August of that year). Dedicated to Fyodor Druzhinin, long-time friend for Shostakovich and violist of the Beethoven Quartet since 1966. The musical texture of this work is spare and austere, and although it’s misleading to think of it as a deliberate gesture of farewell, there is the sense of pain and valediction as well as defiance and a sardonic humour that run through all his late works. The three movement work opens with what Shostakovich characterised as a ‘novella’, followed by a grotesque scherzo and finishes with an adagio which quotes Beethoven’s ‘Moonlight’ sonata. In 2006 musicologist Ivan Sokolov revealed an extraordinary discovery: that Shostakovich had woven a tissue of tiny quotations from all 15 of his symphonies, in order, into the viola and piano parts. “Recording this work has been a very moving experience for Katya and myself. There’s a fragility to this music which requires a lot of courage from the performers.”

“Krzystof Chorzelski and Katya Apekisheva seem more concerned with ensuring that the few dramatic sections in the work are projected with the greatest immediacy. As a result, the sudden explosion of anguish in the middle section of the first movement sounds even more impassioned here...[Chorzelski] negotiates its contrasts in texture between each of the variations most effectively.” BBC Music Magazine, June 2012 *****

“This is a finely constructed recital that tests the mettle, both expressive and technical, of both musicians...They make a first class ensemble partnership, and calibrate Schumann’s Märchenbilder with rich, well balanced sensitivity.” MusicWeb International, June 2012

Champs Hill Records - CHRCD029



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Prospero’s Isle - Chamber Music by James Francis Brown

Prospero’s Isle - Chamber Music by James Francis Brown

Brown, J F:

Piano Quartet

Tamás András (violin), Sarah-Jane Bradley (viola), Gemma Rosefield (cello), Katya Apekisheva (piano)

Violin Sonata

Jack Liebeck (violin), Katya Apekisheva (piano)

Prospero’s Isle

Gemma Rosefield (cello), Nicola Eimer (piano)

String Trio

Jack Liebeck (violin), Sarah-Jane Bradley (viola), Gemma Rosefield (cello)

James Francis Brown has established a reputation as a composer of exciting, visionary and emotionally rewarding music. His Piano Quartet has become a popular addition to the repertoire - as testified by the Birmingham Post review: “Hushed, close-harmony string passages danced and fizzed, while climaxes broke with torrential force and gleaming string-tone. The great sweep up to Brown's sonorous finish was superbly paced and delivered with breathtaking verve. Enthusiastic applause greeted what would prove to be the high point of the evening.” The Shakespeare-inspired Prospero’s Isle, described as ‘lyrically suave’ by Paul Driver in The Times and a ‘unique voice [with] a grand elegiac quality’ by The Strad, forms the dramatic centre piece of this CD – qualities which are equally abundant in the Violin Sonata and the String Trio. This recording reflects the composer’s close association with some of today’s most talented and celebrated artists on the international scene - most of whom presented the premieres of these works: Katya Apekisheva, Gemma Rosefield, Nicola Eimer, Tamás András, Sarah-Jane Bradley and Classical Brit Award winner Jack Liebeck, deliver stunning performances in music which makes many emotional and technical demands. This is a tour de force of contemporary virtuosity and lyrical intensity.

“the performance could not be bettered in terms of overall commitment, and the disc is enhanced by admirably realistic sound as well as by Brown's pithy annotations. Pleasurable as well as enriching music that deserves a wide audience.” International Record Review, March 2011

Guild - GMCD7354



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Dvorak: Violin Concerto, Sonata & Sonatina

Dvorak: Violin Concerto, Sonata & Sonatina


Violin Concerto in A minor, Op. 53

Royal Scottish National Orchestra, Garry Walker

Violin Sonata in F major, Op. 57 (B 106)

Katya Apekisheva (piano)

Sonatina for violin and piano in G major, Op. 100

Katya Apekisheva (piano)

Jack Liebeck (violin)

Sony - G010001782431G

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Brahms Works for Viola I

Brahms Works for Viola I


Viola Sonata No. 1 in F minor, Op. 120 No. 1

Katya Apekisheva (piano)

Violin Sonata No. 1 in G major, Op. 78

Katya Apekisheva (piano)

Horn Trio in E flat major, Op. 40

Katya Apekisheva (piano) & Boris Brovtsyn (violin)

Viola Sonata No. 2 in E flat major, Op. 120 No. 2

Jacob Katsnelson (piano)

Clarinet Trio in A minor, Op. 114

Jacob Katsnelson (piano) & Kristine Blaumane (cello)

This exciting release gathers together in one neat package the two late sonatas for which Brahms’ viola versions have become standard repertoire together with two trios for Clarinet and Horn that are more rarely heard for viola but work equally well. For this recording Max also plays the Klengel arrangement of the G Major Violin Sonata (with a few revisions of his own)

Played by one of the world’s most charismatic violists Maxim Rysanov, of whom Yuri Bashmet declared “my rival has arrived!” Remarkably, Max has been awarded Editor’s Choice from Gramophone Magazine for both his recital discs to date, including Kancheli’s Styx and Tavener’s The Myrrh-Bearer on ONYX (ONYX4023) of which the reviewer said “it was a privilege to review”

Maxim is accompanied by several of Russia’s most exciting younger generation of players. Katya Apekisheva for example recently won an Editor’s Choice for her debut CD of Grieg Lyric Pieces, while Kristine Blaumane has recently been appointed principal cellist of the London Philharmonic Orchestra

Max embarks on a major Brahms tour with Katya Apekisheva and others to coincide with this release with many dates in UK and France in November (please see ONYX website Concert Schedule for exact details). His other regular recital partners are Janine Jansen, Julian Rachlin and Mischa Maisky.

“In the First Sonata, in which Rysanov is accompanied by the excellent Katya Apekisheva, the music is more freely phrased, with a humorous sense of the latent waltz in the Allegretto and plenty of vigour in the finale. Rysanoc and Jacob Katsnelson are also more effective with the Second Sonata, especially in the agreeably conversational manner they adopt in the final variations, as when the melodic line flows seamlessly between them in the grazioso section.” Gramophone Magazine, January 2009

“…I found Rysanov's performances of both Sonatas compelling, vivid and packed with moments of great musical insight. The two trio performances are also extremely enjoyable…” BBC Music Magazine, January 2009 ****

“Brahms was the first to admit that he hadn't entirely solved the new problems of balance in the works that replace the clarinet with a viola (the clarinet sonatas and the Op 114 Trio). With recording, of course, some help can be given.
The viola is well forward in the performances by Rysanov, and this suits the music's extrovert, eloquent manner. In the First Sonata, in which Rysanov is accompanied by the excellent Katya Apekisheva, the music is more freely phrased, with a humorous sense of the latent waltz in the Allegretto and plenty of vigour in the finale. In the Op 114 Trio, the outside movements benefit from the vivid sense of melodic direction provided by Rysanov and Katsnelson.
The G major Violin Sonata was also written for Joachim, and arranged for viola not by Brahms but by his publisher Simrock's editor Paul Klengel. Transposing it from G down a fourth to D to accommodate the viola loses the music something of its elegance, but this is a persuasive performance. Persuasiveness is also needed in Op 40, which began life as the Horn Trio. Not all the cheerful vigour that Rysanov and Apekisheva provide can make the finale seem anything but a piece of hunting exuberance, but they do splendidly with the Scherzo and the Adagio mesto.”
Gramophone Classical Music Guide, 2010

GGramophone Magazine

Editor's Choice - January 2009

Onyx - ONYX4033

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