Elaris Duo

“Here are three oft-recorded duos for violin and cello. Their styles match to a turn of the page. The same goes for these players, Larisa and Steven Elisha [who are] fine musicians whose phrasing balances each other in an intimate way… the playing is unusually well balanced and the program is a fine one.”

D. Moore, American Record Guide

 

“[a] warm human touch informed by virtuosity… Larisa and Steven Elisha make a strong case for Arthur Honegger’s Sonatine as the one true gem on the disc… [the Elaris Duo] confirm that this is music that demands to be heard.”

Laurence Vittes, Gramophone

 

“The concept behind this disc is very good and well thought out… [In] the Elaris Duo’s performance [of the Honegger] the sonorities between the two instruments [are] expertly brought to the fore by both pairs of performers… first rate… [The Schulhoff] is given a strong performance by Elaris… The recorded sound is very good, as are the booklet notes that describe the works presented here as “remarkable jewels… you can’t go very wrong by buying this disc.”

Stuart Sillitoe, MusicWeb International

 

“The CD as a whole offers a rather unusual instrumental combination and three pieces whose differing sensibilities give the performers ample chances to express themselves both in virtuosity and in emotional involvement.”

Mark J. Estren, InfoDad.com

 

“Best of all the Elaris Duo plays Ravel’s music with seeming abandon. Although they play as though they did not have a care in the world, their virtuosity is the result of immense talent and musicianship. Elaris’s playing is simple perfection and the Duo holds its audience in thrall as they move from Allegro to Andante and back again. The players’ close harmony is a thing of beauty in which each note has a beginning, a middle, and an end. In 2007, violinist Christian Tetzlaff and cellist Christian Poltéra recorded the Ravel and Honegger pieces for BIS and their sound was outstanding for their time. Now, I think the Elaris Duo has outdone them in clarity and virtuosity. Elaris’s mastery of early twentieth century music is monumental and it shows itself in each of the pieces on this disc.”

Maria Nockin, Fanfare

 

“spontaneous, vibrant performances… Besides being marvelous musically, this release, titled Duo Virtuoso II, has been recorded in vivid, lifelike sound. Strongly recommended.”

Huntley Dent, Fanfare

 

“The Elaris Duo’s album is one that can embraced not only for excellence in the art of performance, but for the imaginative programming of works not that often heard, and for the playing of them in a way that assures you will want to hear them again.”

Jerry Dubins, Fanfare

 

“The credit for the richness of these three musical experiences lies as much with the totally committed performances of the Elishas as it does the original conception by the composers… I won’t belabor my readers with detailed descriptions of all three works and the astonishing technical prowess required of the performers to put it across (My hat’s off to the Elishas!)”

Phil Muse, Audio Society of Atlanta 

“Best of all the Elaris Duo plays Ravel’s music with seeming abandon. Although they play as though they did not have a care in the world, their virtuosity is the result of immense talent and musicianship. Elaris’s playing is simple perfection and the Duo holds its audience in thrall as they move from Allegro to Andante and back again. The players’ close harmony is a thing of beauty in which each note has a beginning, a middle, and an end. In 2007, violinist Christian Tetzlaff and cellist Christian Poltéra recorded the Ravel and Honegger pieces for Bis and their sound was outstanding for their time. Now, I think the Elaris Duo has outdone them in clarity and virtuosity. Elaris’s mastery of early twentieth century music is monumental and it shows itself in each of the pieces on this disc.”

Maria Nockin, Fanfare Magazine

 

The Elaris Duo’s album is one that can be embraced not only for excellence in the art of performance, but for the imaginative programming of works not that often heard, and for the playing of them in a way that assures you will want to hear them again.”

Jerry Dubins, Fanfare Magazine

 

The brilliant display for both instruments is exciting…The Elisha Duo are exceptional artists and interpreters …Their glowing international reputation is well deserved. Besides being marvelous musically, this release, titled Duo Virtuoso II, has been recorded in vivid, lifelike sound. Strongly recommended.”

Huntley Dent, Fanfare Magazine

 

“amazing variety of textures, moods, and colors…astonishing technical prowess … hat’s off to the Elishas!”

Phil Muse, Audio Club of Atlanta

 

“The wife-and-husband team of Larisa and Steven Elisha emphasizes those elements to good effect, being especially impressive in the highly virtuosic second movement [Ravel Sonata]. …the violinist and cellist have a strong sense of style and play well with – and against – each other here. They are also sensitive to the pervasive polyphony of Honegger’s Sonatina, and here they show an altogether winning sense of humor in their handling of the last movement’s recitatives. The CD as a whole offers a rather unusual instrumental combination and three pieces whose differing sensibilities give the performers ample chances to express themselves both in virtuosity and in emotional involvement.”

Mark J. Estren, http://transcentury.blogspot.com/2017/07/duo-power.html

 

“The Duo’s performance was emotional and poignant and also quite fascinating and memorable…gorgeous sound showing the exquisite tonal control of the performers…the Elaris Duo shines with their golden tone and intimate ensemble…They have a remarkable depth of range and interpretive artistry.”

Mark Greenfest,  Sound-Word-Sight Arts Magazine

 

“This is a warmly played program… [They play the Kodaly] with great freedom.”

D. Moore, American Record Guide

 

“Larisa and Steven Elisha ask for a lot of respect by calling their disc ‘Duo Virtuoso’, but they begin earning it from the first bar of the first item: Their commitment, authority, grace and buoyant energy are evident throughout…their programme. ‘Duo Virtuoso’ is shown to be a perfectly appropriate title for the disc; I’ll turn it around, too, and call the performers a virtuoso duo. Highly recommended.”

Malcolm Tattersall, Music & Vision

 

“Larisa and Steven Elisha give impressive performances of works for violin and cello, with the major work Kodaly’s Duo, Op.7. This sprawling, 26-minute work is difficult to shape convincingly; technically adept, these performers try valiantly. Duets by Beethoven, Haydn, Boccherini, arrangements of Mozart’s Duo K.423 and the Handel/Halvorsen Passacaglia are impressively played.”

Turok’s Choice – Issue No.208

 

“[The Kodaly is] very well and idiomatically played. * * *  ”

BBC Music

 

“The reverberant recorded sound balances the violin and cello almost ideally, capturing just the right amount of detail. The repertoire, well chosen and well ordered, the capable engineering, and , above all, the striking performances – all might convince you you’re not in Kansas anymore. But you are. Very strongly recommended.”

Robert Maxham, Fanfare

 

“Duo Virtuosi is the title of an impressive debut album by the husband-wife duo of Steven and Larissa Elisha. Performing on cello and violin, respectively, they are known as the Elaris Duo. Together, they explore an amazing range of styles, colors and textures in music by great composers over three centuries. The selections heard on this disc may be thought of as grand-scale works in which the sonorities often make it hard to believe they are played by just two string instruments.

The Duo in G major, K423 by Mozart, for instance, has more the feeling of a string serenade in its distinctively rich and expressive sounds, its exchanges between the instruments, and the lovely lyric quality of its Adagio. At one point in the opening movement, we even have a graceful little canon between the two voices, although Mozart wears his learning lightly. There follow a Sonata in D major by Boccherini, suffused with the courtly charm one associates with this composer, and a Duo in the same key by Haydn that is so harmonically rich we might think we were listening to a string quartet instead of a duo.

Next, Beethoven’s Duo in C major, woO 27, originally written for clarinet and bassoon, sounds very idiomatically like string music in this adaptation. The playful skirmish between the two instruments in the finale, a typical Beethoven rondo, is preceded by more passionately expressive music in the preceding slow movement. Next, Handel’s Passacaglia from Harpsichord Suite No. 7 is given an astonishingly virtuosic performance by the Eishas, in the 19th century adaptation by Johan Halvorsen. With its runs, arpeggios, double-stops, spiccato and ricochet bowings, this work is as brilliant sounding

as it is profound in its many moods. (Like another famous variation-form, the Canon in D by Johan Pachelbel, this Passacaglia is always popping up in fresh new guises.)

The program concludes in a very satisfying way with Duo for Violin and Cello, Op. 7 by 20th century Hungarian composer Zoltan Kodály. If the Handel sounds as if it might have been performed by a whole ensemble instead of just two players, the Kodály gives us the impression we might be hearing a concerto for string orchestra. An abundance of melodies – expressive, dreamlike, or soaring – compete for our attention with freely handled rhythms and a wide palette of tone colors. This is music of real soul and deep feeling. The animated Presto that concludes the work calls for, and gets, the utmost in virtuosity from both players.”

Atlanta Audio Society

 

“Most preeminent are concertmaster Larisa Elisha and principal cellist Steven Elisha. Individually and as the Elaris Duo, they have an artistic presence of expanding national proportions. Their performances of the Brahms double concerto for violin and cello was revelatory. […] The Elaris Duo presented a unanimity of phrasing and tonal projection that was stunning in its conception and execution. The synchronicity of the unison passages alone was a marvel. […] The second and third movments were by turns gracious in repose and lively without strain. After a standing ovation, the third movement was reprised, sounding as fresh as before.”

Topeka Capital-Journal

“Steven and Larisa Elisha […] bring new meaning to violin and cello music.”

Topeka Capital-Journal

“They masterfully performed the solo work on Beethoven’s “Triple” Concerto, earning a well-deserved standing ovation at intermission.”

Topeka Capital-Journal

“Georgia’s gain is certainly our huge loss […] Their combined contributions to the TSO have been immeasurable, and we will greatly miss them.”

Maestro John Strickler

“It was stunning […] The audience just leapt to their feet. They were enthralled by the piece.”

Maestro John Strickler

“Both just consummate musicians, certainly world-class.”

Maestro John Strickler

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