Critic's reviews

“The performing duet of Wendy Warner on cello and Irina Nuzova on piano play as all good partnerships should, as one. In their case, it's almost as if one performer were playing both instruments, they are so attuned to one another's feeling and responses. The two women with style, with grace, with refinement, and with deep emotional attachment, yet always placing the music above any showmanship on their part. Most important, however, they appear to reach into the heart of this heart-wrenching music and convey its inner spirit with not only clarity and precision but with ultimate passion. They are consummate artists.”

John J. Puccio, Classical Candor


“Sorrow was never sweeter than in the long, slow opening theme of the Cello Sonata, which Warner rendered as a generous outpouring of dark, singing tone in deep-breathing phrases. Through most of the sonata, Brahms moves the piano and cello together in rhythm. It's as if he merged the two instruments into a single, harmonizing line, as opposed to assigning roles of melody and accompaniment. Nuzova and Warner sounded entirely attuned to this notion and to one another in this beautiful and compelling reading.” 

The Milwaukee Sentinel


“This duo of Russian pianist Irina Nuzova and American cellist Wendy Warner beautifully parade a stimulating cross-section of works by beloved 20th century Russian composers Prokofiev, Rachmaninoff, and Scriabin and modern cats Miaskovsky and Schnittke... Warner’s fluid, amber-hued cello is one of the most plaintively poetic sounds this writer has heard all year and Nuzova’s style is stark, lyrical, and rhythm-bound. 5 out of 5 stars.”

Mark Keresman, Icon Magazine 


“Warner and Nuzova put forth technically spotless playing, extremely tight ensemble playing, ideal balance between the two instruments, and a real sense of a singular musical vision.”

All Music Guide


“Chicago cellist Wendy Warner plays with a rich tone and spot-on intonation as well as a perfect understanding of the subtle and not-so-subtle stylistic differences that inform this music of different eras, different esthetics. Her partner, Moscow-born and American-educated Irina Nuzova, is in full accord with Warner, whether supplying the ripe chords of the Scriabin or the intricate passagework of the Rachmaninoff.”

Lee Passarella, Audiophile Audition


“They [Wendy Warner and Irina Nuzova] revel in the score’s riches, Warner drawing a tone of great depth and vibrancy from her cello, while Nuzova matches her partner with luxuriantly resonant sound across her piano’s full range.”

Jerry Dubins, Fanfare


“Wendy Warner is a magnificent cellist, and in Irina Nuzova she has found a keyboard partner who matches her in passion, elegance, and imagination. The result is as beautiful a chamber music recital as we have any right to expect. ... Rachmaninov (is) the real prize. Just to hear the wonderful use of rubato at the opening is a treat. Warner has a real gift among cellists: a low register that never sounds like the proverbial dying cow, and a remarkable evenness of timbre throughout her range. Nuzova, for her part, glitters in the scherzo and finale, but never overpowers her colleague. A stunning release. 10 out of 10.”

David Hurwitz, Classics Today


“Wendy Warner and Irina Nuzova confirm themselves as high-ranking artists with this excellently recorded and produced CD of Russian Music"…“Such full-blooded and committed playing can’t fail to entrance.”



“...with a particularly pleasing warmth and texture, the performance is direct from the heart, elegant in line and sumptuous in tonal expression...” “The shorter pieces are done with absolute devotion and care and make for the perfect aural palette cleansing between the two big sonatas: decadent Scriabin by way of Piatigorsky, delightful neo-Bachian Schnittke light on wry and the love duet from Prokofiev’sCinderella as tender and passionate as can be.”



“The debut of a distinguished new duo partnership.” “Warner’s playing is totally secure technically, glowing in tone-colour, and  beautifully moulded; Nuzova is an accomplished and sensitive pianist….clearly a fine-tuned partnership.”

BBC Magazine


“Rachmaninoff’s sonata...reminds me of one of my most prized recordings of the work, by Knushevitsky and Oborin back in ’62. (it’s now included in the Brilliant box devoted to the cellist – 8924). Technical challenges are met with splendid aplomb, and the players strike a fine balance between sinew and elegantly shaped rubato. Their use of colour and texture are highly effective, and the warmth which they brought to Miaskovsky is equally palpable here, not least in the glorious slow movement. This is a sensitively traversed and very well argued performance.”

 Jonathan Wood, MusicWeb International



Production Credits

Producer James Ginsburg
Engineer Bill Maylone
Recorded October 27–30, 2008, in the Fay and Daniel Levin Performance Studio, WFMT, Chicago
Cello 1772 Giuseppe Gagliano
Cello bow François Xavier Tourte, c. 1815, the “De Lamare” on extended loan through the Stradivari Society of Chicago Steinway Piano; Charles Terr, Technician


See also:

Program notes Irina's notes Critic's reviews Full booklet