Much to delight the tastebuds in this sparky pairing

Julia Fischer, Kirill Troussov: Violin Duos

The Strad Issue: August 2023

Description: Much to delight the tastebuds in this sparky pairing

Musicians: Julia Fischer, Kirill Troussov (violins) Henri Bonamy (piano)

Works: Prokofiev: Sonata for two violins op.56. Shostakovich: Five Pieces for two violins and piano (arr. Lev Atovmyan)

Catalogue number: Orchid Classics ORC 100234

This is among the first handful of 40 planned releases featuring Russian-born, Germany-based violinist Kirill Troussov. Totalling 23 minutes and available for streaming or download only, the two Russian works here, in which Troussov appears with Julia Fischer, are a meagre offering compared to a CD but they form a satisfyingly contrasting and coherent pair.

Shostakovich’s Five Pieces fall within his light music output. Fischer and Troussov (now joined by Henri Bonamy) sound entirely natural together, playing the doleful close harmonies of the opening Prelude and the fourth-movement Waltz with warmth. The Gavotte is elegantly turned, with just a cheeky wink at the sideways modulation in the first section. The central Elegy is lullaby-like and the pair are happy to enter into circus antics for the final Polka.

Prokofiev’s Sonata is a much more sombre affair. The first movement is darkly austere but there’s beauty in the gently converging unisons. The duo dig into the violent chords of the following Allegro, also revelling in the brisk hocketing; and they sing sweetly in the high-lying writing of the third movement. The concluding Allegro draws brisk, precise attacks from both players, as well as a subtle elasticity in emotional tone. In all, a highly reviving and snackable release.