Stories of Romance, Adventure and Magic by Russian Composers

-January 2020

        Tales from the East is reviewed by M. L. Rantala of The Hyde Park Herald

 " big sound and bracing rhythms... There is bell-like tone in the Russian Dance and lots of mystery and more than a bit of mischief in “Petrushka’s Room.”  “Festival in Bagdad” is full of whimsical action that is rendered with a gorgeously light touch and a lot of good, old-fashioned speed executed with precision and great musicality.

The lovely and popular Polovetsian Dances from “Prince Igor” are utterly charming. The disc ends with Prokofiev’s “Fantasy — Suite “Cinderella.” The dream-like quality of the music is drawn out with warmth. Sometimes four hands are truly better than two."

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-May/June 2019

        Tales from the East is reviewed by Harrington of American Record Guide

 "Right from the first tracks, this is a special release. ... I like EStrella Piano Duo's playing of the Babin arrangement (of Stravinsky's Rite of Spring) best. ... (The Fantasy on Prokofieff's Cinderella) is superbly played by EStrella.  A fitting conclusion to a memorable release."

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-April 2019

        Tales from the East is reviewed by Robert Schulslaper of Fanfare Magazine

"The more I hear this performance of Rimsky-Korsakov’s The Festival in Baghdad, the more I love it. It’s a passionate, nuanced, detailed translation of the original, rhythmically flexible, technically precise and replete with thunderous oration, delicate filigree, and dreamy sensuality.  EStrella has the full measure of Borodin’s Polovetsian Dances, from the lovely tone bestowed on the heartfelt yearning of the Andantino’s irresistible melody, to the wild abandon of the Allegro Vivo, the threatening grandeur of the Allegro’s paean to the Great Khan, that reaches its dynamic apotheosis in truly impressive fortissimos, and the galloping insistence of the Presto, with its spellbinding thematic inter-weavings and Islamey-like pianistic devices. Svetlana Belsky and Elena Doubovitskaya not only perform these fine transcriptions with tremendous sympathy and intuitive identification, but they uninhibitedly communicate their joy in doing so. What more could one ask?"

         

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-April 2019

        Tales from the East is reviewed by Colin Clarke of Fanfare Magazine

"The rapport between Belsky and Doubovitskaya is utterly remarkable. ... The achievement of conveying such busy textures in such an exciting way and yet remaining clarity throughout is astonishing. It is in some of the exchanges between the pianists here that one really does get the feeling of two absolutely equal pianists."

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-March 2019

        Tales from the East is reviewed by John Puccio of Classical Candor 

"Svetlana Belsky and Elena Doubovitskaya are superb pianists on their own; together as the EStrella Piano Duo, they are doubly superb.  The pianists are consummate artists who together bring new pleasures and new insights to much traveled roads."

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-December 2018

        Tales from the East is reviewed by Kathy Parsons of MainlyPiano.com. 

"Anyone who thinks classical music is boring needs to check out Tales From the East, a collection of dramatic piano duets by Russian composers performed by the EStrella Piano Duo"; "intricate and dazzling";  "Awesome in the truest sense of the word!"