A MOMENT OF MAGIC CD reviews:

Classical Guitar Magazine (UK)
NIKITA KOSHKIN: Romance; The Elves Suite; The Ballades Suite; Tristan Playing the Lute; The Three Stations On One Road; Parade; Usher Waltz; Passacaglia and Toccata ‘The Fall of Birds’.

Marina Alexandra

GuitarMuse Records

 The Russian guitarist Nikita Koshkin is one of the most inventive composers for the guitar in the history of the instrument. His music took the guitar world by storm in the early 1980s when his chief ambassador, Vladimir Mikulka, played the UK premieres of several of his works including the now legendary Prince’s Toys Suite, a landmark in the history of guitar music. No-one has been more associated with Koshkin’s music than Mikulka and his interpretative performances of many of these masterworks have never been surpassed. From a personal viewpoint the ‘moment of magic’ for me was being there at these UK premieres, one of the most exciting guitar experiences I have ever had.

 Listening to Ukrainian guitarist Marina Alexandra’s playing on this new release has turned back the clock and brought all those emotive sentiments of that concert in the 80s back once again. Her phenomenal technique is unquestionable so it is all down to her powers of interpretation as to whether or not these compositions work in her hands and it has to be said that on the strength of this recording she could easily become the female counterpart to the legendary Mikulka.

 Performances of Koshkin’s music can sometimes be too ‘classical’, too formalized; Alexandra has got it spot on. She has the ability to be abundantly romantic and warm and emotive at times and then exceedingly aggressive and attacking at others with all the various different nuances which lay in between. She is of the elite class of musicians where technical assuredness is just taken for granted and the listener hears and listens to the music not the technique required to produce it.

Concluding the program with what ranks alongside the best of Koshkin’s guitar pieces, the extraordinary two-part

The Fall of Birds Alexandra pulls out everything she has at her disposal, both musically and technically, and comes up with a rendition which I cannot imagine being bettered.The recording quality is excellent and there are copious notes on the music, the composer and the player.

The CD sleeve design is fabulous and the name Alexander Bychkouski should be here credited with producing a wonderfully evocative ‘background’ to the sleeve notes.Very highly recommended indeed.

by Steve Marsh 2009

 

The American Record Guide (2007)

 

… a strong performance by Ukraine-born, US-based guitarist Marina Alexandra, who holds her own next to others who have recorded this music, including Koshkin himself.

 She even outdoes chief Koshkin interpreter Vladimir Mikulka for making the most facile of notes in Koshkin’s language entertaining. For example, where Mikulka goes for a pop-blues swing rhythm in The Three Stations on One Road, Alexandra makes the same section sound downright Brazilian-and she shows a better grasp of the work’s lyrical passages. Mostly she has Koshkin’s own performances to compete with.

 So my recommendation is this: get Alexandra’s CD for your Koshkin fix!

November/December 2007

The Soundboard Guitar Magazine (2008)

“The music of Nikita Koshkin has become a well known commodity in the contemporary guitar world. This very different pair of discs serves to illustrate the breadth and depth of his artistry. For most of its length Alexandra’s excellent disc favors the lyrical side of Koshkin’s work. Several of the works are gorgeously melodic, sometimes, such as the “Allegretto” from The Ballades, sounding almost Celtic. In The Three Stations on One Road the composer’s interpretation of the blues takes hold, while Parade is overtly Gershwinesque. Tristan Playing the Lute is a truly fascinating work having a neo-Renaissance feel utilizing challenging textures and virtuosic writing. One of Koshkin’s finest works, Passacaglia and Toccata “The Fall of Birds”, brings the disc to a powerful conclusion. Marina Alexandra invests each of the works with vitality, character, and virtuosity as needed, no small accomplishment given the eclecticism of the works recorded. The recorded sound is warm, yet detailed.”