|The Star (Toronto)
"We might live in a global village, but it has produced few transnational musical pairings like Australian-born violist Kathryn Lockwood and her husband, Lebanese-born percussionist Yousif Sheronick. Based in the New York City area, the musicians and their composer friends (including Philip Glass) are fearless seekers and synthesizers of disparate instruments and cultures. My favourite track here is the sneakily seductive 'Klezmer à la Bechet,' a 1997 piece that composer David Krakauer adapted for this duo a couple of years ago. But there are plenty of other treats. Sheronick applies impeccable technique to a wide range of percussion tools, from the bodhran in the opening piece to a goat-hoof shaker in Glass's 'Duo for Solo Viola and Percussion.' Lockwood is all slow, sensuous allure with her bowing arm one moment, a tempest of notes the next. If this is what world music's future holds, bring on the party." (3.5 out of 4 stars)
|by John Terauds
|KFJC 89.7 (Los Altos Hills, CA)
"Lockwood’s tone on the viola is varied and rich, occasionally even sounding like a wind instrument … Stunning, gorgeous! Another winner from Innova/American Composers."
"Lockwood and Sheronick play with extraordinary technical skills and artistic talent. Their sound is some of the most musical one can hear. The warm tone of the viola is perfectly used by the artist to generate long, melancholic phrases. As for Sheronick, whether he is playing the Arabic durbakeh or the Irish bodhran drum, he makes all percussions sing and come alive.
"Listening to 'A Different World' is an exhilarating sonic and somewhat mystical experience. If you are looking for a change of sonic scope look no further, the new CD will more than gratify your senses."
|by Jean-Claude Elias
|Gapplegate Music Review
"Kathryn Lockwood combines classical technique, a ravishing tone, and a most definite feel for the mideastern musical mode. Yousif Sheronik adds his mastery of traditional mideastern and south Asian hand drumming (frame drum, tumbek, etc.).
"Both artists show excellence in stylistic grasp and nuanced execution. Duo Jalal breathes a freshet of new wind into the sails of a form of music that goes back countless centuries … The music we hear transcends those borders, sometimes. Duo Jalal does just that with a very memorable album. Very much recommended."
|by Greg Edwards
Review by Carlos Maria Solare
This CD brings together the viola music of the Russian-born,
New York-based pianist-composer Inessa Zaretsky in fiery
interpretations from Kathryn Lockwood. Fiery is indeed the
word, since the piece that gives the collections its name
was actually inspired by fire in its diverse manifestations.
These are realistically created - with effects like sul
ponticello runs and the plucking of piano strings - within
a mainly tonal framework. Even if the thought of a tango
opening a suite of Russian Dances might raise a few eyebrows
in Argentina, that movement is effectively written, and
the whole suite - of autobiographical content - has an attractive,
Dervishes for viola and percussion is a five-movement suite
portraying the interpreters for whom it was written, who
of course give it a definitive interpretation. The piece
was inspired by Yousif Sheronick's improvisations on Middle
Eastern drums, and does sound as if partly improvised.
Humoresque for unaccompanied viola is a short character
piece in several small contrasting sections, exploring the
different "humours" that make up a person's character.
Lockwood is absolutely inside the music's idiom, finding
appropriate tonal shadings both for its lighter moods and
for the deeper recesses of the Russian soul that are tapped
elsewhere. With agreeable recorded sound, the whole CD is
a recommendable 'portrait of the artist'.
Classics Today - Review by David Vernier
There was a time--the late 1960s, to be exact--when new
music meant anything that stretched an instrumental technique
or a traditional form to its limits and beyond. And that
was it. The sole justification for a new work was how drastically
it tore apart conventional formal structures and, more importantly,
the fundamental mechanics of instrumental (or vocal) performance.
Bartók's tapping the wood of the bow across the strings
was one thing, but creating wounded animal sounds, grating,
ear-injuring effects, or pointless "see what I can
do" stunts to incomprehensible "melodies"
and mathematically improbable rhythms was another. The real
question was: where is the music? Well, here is a wonderful,
very musical response to any such notions of what "new
music" really should be, and what should rate our serious
and continued attention as listeners.
Russian-born composer Inessa Zaretsky is a superbly confident
artist who really knows her instrument and idiom, in this
case the viola. Yes, she's a pianist by formal training,
but these works for viola and piano show no favoritism toward
the keyboard; rather, the partnership is so well groomed,
so well conceived, that we don't so much notice the two
instruments as the overall expressiveness of the work at
hand. Indeed the writing for both instruments in the opening
sonata (also titled Fireoptics) is virtuosic, but it also
comes across as totally natural--no gratuitous gimmicks
or out-of-character, "clever" tricks. And, as
she does throughout this thoroughly engaging recital, Kathryn
Lockwood (known for her work with the acclaimed Lark Quartet)
delivers expert, artful performances that not only keep
us interested, but also make us want to come back for more.
The solo-viola Humoresque and the Russian Dances--Tango,
Riding Dance, Round Dance, and Valse--are works of unfailingly
solid technique, bold, assertive expression, and a kind
of ripe and raw lyricism that suits the viola well. The
Five Pieces for Viola and Percussion (Dervishes) features
some really inventive and tasteful accompaniment by various
percussion instruments--riq, marimba, bodhran, dumbek, cymbal,
and bells--that gives both a new and old flavor to these
very modern-sounding but always enjoyable, accessible works.
If you want to hear the brighter side of new music, excellently
played and vividly recorded, don't hesitate to try this
fine release. [10/4/2005]
New York Viola Society - Review by Myron Rosenblum
Kathryn Lockwood comes with many credits
to her name. An Australian by birth, she has performed
with many prestigious groups and is currently the violist
in the Lark Quartet. This CD is devoted exclusively to
the music of the Russian-American composer Inessa Zaretsky.
On it are Fireoptics - Sonata for Viola and
Piano; Humoresque for Solo Viola; Russian Dances - Suite
for Viola and Piano; and Dervishes - Fives Pieces for
Viola and Percussion.
This CD is full of wonderful playing and viola music by
a composer who seems to understand the viola and its capabilities
and doesn't fail to maintain interest for the listener.
The first piece - Fireoptics - is a three-movement piece of great contrast (I: Allegro;
II:Adagio; III:Presto). From a first movement with great
musical color, intensity and mood changes, the second
movement is like a somber processional. The last movement
is short and wild with much use of pizzicato and the pianist
brushing over the strings in the piano.
The Humoresque, a six-movement
work for viola solo, is filled with contrasting moods,
strong rhythms and making impressive use of the wonderful,
dark registers of the viola. Russian Dances
- Suite for Viola and Piano is a substantial
18-minute work. The "Tango" has a seductive
quality to it. "Riding Dance" is full of energy
while the "Round Dance" comes across as a pretty
strict round with a folksy character. The last movement,
the "Valse" is wistful, sad and melancholic.
The last piece on this CD is Dervishes - Fives
Pieces for Viola and Percussion. As the
program notes, this work is a mix of Western and Middle
Eastern music. In this five-movement work the viola blends
wonderfully with the riq, marimba, bodhran, dumbek, cymbal
Ms. Lockwood, the composer at the piano and Yousif Sheronick
on percussion are all first-rate musicians. Kathryn Lockwood
is an outstanding violist who has a fine understanding
of this musical idiom and succeeds in making the music
come alive and interesting. Inessa Zaretsky is a most
talented composer and we look forward to having more of
her works for viola. Highly recommended, especially for those who
may shy away from contemporary music.
STRINGENDO; Journal of the Australian Strings Association
LTD Vol 27/2 - Review by Patricia Pollett
engaging CD features works for viola by the Russian
– New York based pianist composer Inessa Zaretsky,
wonderfully played by Australia violist Kathryn Lockwood.
Originally from Queensland, Lockwood is now based
in New York and is a member of the Lark String Quartet
as well as on faculty at University of Massachusetts,
Amherst, and Concordia College. Regular duo partners,
Lockwood and Zaretsky give the performances passionate
treatment indicating real affinity with the music.
The playing is strong and technically assured. Melodic
material is sensitively shaped and the energetic sections
are propelled forward with enthusiastic drive and
I could not help draw similarities between Zaretsky
and Australia’s Russian pianist-composer Elena
Kats-Chernin; both not only compose with originality
flavoured by Russian seriousness, but also play the
piano very well indeed. Underlying all works here
is a somewhat dark, somber sensibility, reminiscent
of the works by recent Russian composers such as Schnittke.
Particularly appealing is the unaccompanied work,
Humoresque. Always a difficult task to write for
a single line instrument, this manages to engage
the listener by linking a host of diverse ideas
and characters seamlessly through the six sections.
The title belies the drama and intensity herein.
Light, if somewhat dry relief is found in the Tango,
part of a Suite of Russian Dances for viola and
piano. These quirky pieces are imaginative and appealing,
and I can imagine them gaining considerable popularity
with violists and audiences alike. Kathryn Lockwood’s
playing of the Valse is beautifully etched, hinting
at disturbing emotional undercurrents.
The title work, Fireoptics, is a substantial three-movement
sonata for viola and piano. Zaretsky writes in a
traditional tonal language. The music is approachable
and well crafted.
exotic spice is added to the mix in Dervishes for
viola and percussion, with Middle Eastern influences
permeating. Lockwood is partnered by percussionist
Yousif Sheronick in a challenging and colourful
work that explores the contradictory textures of
the instruments. These are substantial, original
contributions to the viola repertoire, convincingly
performed and recorded with good clarity and balance.