Grieg, Tchaikovsky & Prokofiev: Works for Violin & Piano

Harriet Mackenzie is an internationally renowned concerto soloist and has performed across five continents. Her recordings include concertos with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, Orchestra Nova and the English Symphony Orchestra. These have received international acclaim, including ‘Editor’s Choice’ in Gramophone Magazine, who cited Harriet’s “superbly responsive playing … faultless technique and unfailing insight”. Broadcasts include BBC Radio 3, Classic FM, Radio London and Hungarian National Radio. She has performed concertos and recitals in the Concertgebouw, Wigmore Hall, Budapest Marble Hall, Purcell Room and Kyiv Hall of Marble Columns. In 2016 , she made her directing debut when she played and conducted the Piazzolla/Desyatnikov Four Seasons of Buenos Aires at the Auditorio Nacional in Madrid with the London and Vienna Kammerorchester. A multi-faceted virtuoso, she is also fascinated by world music and composes and improvises in many different styles.

Hailed as a rising star by the magazine International Piano, Scottish pianist Christina Lawrie made her debut in May 2009 with the Royal Scottish National Orchestra in Dundee’s Caird Hall. Recent engagements have included live BBC Radio 3 broadcasts, a debut at Cheltenham Music Festival, and a recital at the Purcell Room for the South Bank Centre’s Fresh Young Musicians' Platform. Christina’s debut at London’s world-renowned Wigmore Hall was praised by Musical Opinion magazine for its “astute intelligence and warmth of spirit”. In 2004 she gave her debut recital at London's South Bank Centre, in the Park Lane Group Young Artists Series. The Observer praised her "formidable intellect and boundless technique… Fantastic playing", and Musical Opinion described her as "a very gifted young player..."

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The recordings of Harriet Mackenzie, as soloist and chamber musician, have achieved in an international presence a few years that we want to praise. The violinist of London, daring and virtuous, accompanied by the Scottish pianist Christina Lawrie, offers the Sonata for Violin No. 3 in D minor, op. 45, by Edvard Grieg (1843-1907), which is an example of the luminosity of Norwegian music. This sonata, written in the autumn of 1886, contains themes that escaped and escape from the limits of Nordic romanticism with local color brushstrokes. The third sonata is, in the long run, the most cosmopolitan and lyrical of her sonatas, where the composer follows the sonata form strictly in the third movement. It was premiered at the Gewandhaus in Leipzig on December 10, 1887, by Grieg himself and the violinist Adolf Brodsky. Let's remember that Grieg was trained at the Conservatory of Leipzig and stayed there until 1862. A year later he traveled to Copenhagen, where he met on two occasions with Franz Liszt. He went to the Danish city where he met the lyrical soprano Nina Hagerup, with whom he married and had a daughter. The second work of the disc, the duet with the beautiful title Souvenir from an Op. 42 Us. 1-3, by Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky (1840-93) - one does not know for sure if it was the author who put this title - is a composition of great expressiveness, subtle, delicate and strongly rooted in the spirit and character of romantic nineteenth century Russia. In this work Mackenzie and Lawrie break topics and convey an overwhelming beauty. The two performers arrive at the Sonata for violin no. 1 in smaller fault, op. 80, by Sergey Prokofiev (1891-1953), which premiered in Moscow in October 1946, with an enthusiastic force and courage. With this work you will notice a change in expressive record. Mackenzie addresses with security not only the virtuosity of the score but also the shady, severe and intense character of the composer. Stylistically, this sonata is very far from the festive Fifth Symphony. Harriet Mackenzie and Christina Lawrie show a range of anicic situations that create original, fluid and expressive sounds. Sonograma Magazine

Celebrating the release of her Sutherland Duo recording of Grieg’s third Violin Sonata, Scottish pianist Christina Lawrie met with Dr. Sally Garden, Honorary Director of The Grieg Society of Scotland to chat about her musical inspirations. The duo wanted to explore the idea of ‘the North’ and its light, and having enjoyed performing the sonata in concert, and Grieg seeming to them, as Christina put it, the very ‘embodiment’ of the North, it felt an obvious repertoire choice. Like most Scots, Christina has a love of her native traditional music, a feeling for its sounds and languages, and so was attracted not just to the luminosity and clarity of the sonata, but to its Norwegian folkmusic touches too. Touches Grieg employed over what he called ‘broader horizons’ than those of his previous violin sonata, but which still shine out, and still ring strong to the Scots fiddle-fond ear. Full Article - The Grieg Society of Scotland

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