"Krzysztof Chorzelski joined the Belcea Quartet in 1996. I was greatly impressed by the group’s recording of the Bartok quartets, so I am not surprised to find that he is an excellent violist and musician.
Schumann’s Fairy Tale Pictures are played with the kind of ripe, Germanic harmonies that this early romantic music demands; and Chorzelski and Katya Apekisheva dig in to the music with relish. The two remaining works are from the mid-20th Century. Benjamin Britten’s Lachrymae was composed in 1950 for William Primrose, and it is subtitled Reflections on a Song of Dowland for Viola and Orchestra. It is a peculiar set of variations on a theme—the theme is not fully stated until the end, after all the variations. This gives it its peculiar emotional hold on the listener; there’s power in the climax when the theme is finally revealed in its simplicity and pathos. The booklet notes quote the text of the song so that listeners can see how it relates to the mood of the piece.
Shostakovich’s Viola Sonata was his last composition, and he seemed to have been aware of it. Beethoven’s Moonlight Sonata is quoted in the finale, showing that he was aware of his appointment with endless night; and each of his 15 symphonies is quoted in sequence. It becomes a summing-up of his art. Perhaps because they are both Eastern Europeans, Chorzelski and Apekisheva find the right kind of eerie and sardonic moods in this piece.
This is an excellent recital very well recorded. I hope this duo goes before the microphones again soon. Good sound, excellent booklet notes by Malcolm MacDonald." © 2012 American Record Guide
American Record Guide
"Britten’s Lachrymae and Shostokovich’s Op 147 Sonata are not uncommon viola repertoire, but the two musicians display a firm grasp of musical style and a like-mindedness in interpretations. The Schumann has supple lyrical muscle and fantasy, the elusiveness of the Lachrymae is exquisitely etched, and the enigmas of the Sonata are explored with astuteness."
"This is a finely constructed recital that tests the mettle, both expressive and technical, of both musicians. Krzysztof Chorzelski, violist of the Belcea Quartet, is an experienced chamber musician and soloist, and one who turned to the instrument in his 20s after having begun as a violinist. Readers may remember the name of pianist Katya Apekisheva, whose recording of Grieg’s solo piano music caused quite a stir and garnered plenty of awards.
They make a first class ensemble partnership, and calibrate Schumann’sMärchenbilderwith rich, well balanced sensitivity. They adopt the ‘nicht schnell’ ruling of the first of the four and convey theSturm and Drangof theRaschthird movement with considerable vehemence and intensity. The ruminative and melancholic slow final panel is played with lovely tone.
Britten’sLachrymaeoffers very real challenges to musicians and an avoidance of splintering the music is just one of them. Tempo relationships between the variations need to be secure, otherwise things become too volatile, with slow sections lying too wanly alongside more abrasive ones. I’ve always thought a fairly brisk tempo ensures that the work’s mechanics are not imperilled. That’s just what we get here; a structure-conscious, taut and intelligent reading, tonally flexible, finely balanced throughout. The pizzicato variation – or ‘reflection’ in the composer’s word – is especially well done but so too is the gaunt intensity elsewhere encountered. There’s plenty of introspection and a richly unfolded final statement of Dowland’s song that emerges doubly eloquent for having been revealed so commandingly and without any false sentiment.
Britten’s friend Shostakovich wrote a crowning statement at the very end of his life, a Viola Sonata of profound introspection but also tense dance motifs. Once again we find the duo adopting a forward-moving, quite terse but tonally expressive position strongly removed from that of, say, Bashmet and Muntian in their famous RCA Classics disc (09026612732). Not only is the newcomers’ performance fleeter, it’s also somewhat less overtly introspective, less pointillist in the first movement – thus correspondingly a touch less detailed phrasally. The strong folk-dance motifs of the central scherzo are excellently realised, though few can match Bashmet’s suave bowing and sardonic incision here. It’s Bashmet’s ability to play really quietly that gives his finale so powerful and concentrated a charge and to vest phrases with so many variety of colours. Chorzelski is again quite a lot faster, but his consistency is a virtue and it accords with his approach as a whole which is agile and unmired in overt melancholia.
These three very different works form a very worthwhile programme. Chorzelski and Katya Apekisheva are an extremely sensitive team and they have been very well recorded."
"Chorzelski negotiates (Britten's Lachrymae's) contrast's in texture between each of the variations most effectively, moving inexorably form the stillness and mystery of the earlier sections to the warmth and poignancy of the Dowland quotation near the close. (In Schumann's Marchenbilder) he finds a moving childlike simplicity in the final piece."
***** BBC Music Magazine
"Best known as the viola player of the Belcea Quartet, Krzysztof Chorzelski presents his credentials as a recitalist of the first rank with this CD...he offers authoritative readings of three repertoire staples."
"Beginning with Schumann's late but inspired Marchenbilder Opus 113 which came across as a splendidly performed and entirely suitable 19-century opener to the programme, it was clear that Krzysztof Chorzelski possesses a subtle range of tonal gradations entirely suited to this kaleidoscopic music. Katya Apekisheva proved and admirable pianist...(Shostakovich's Viola Sonata) is a formidable challenge...but Chorzelski was fully up to the demands of the score. A wonderfully moving performance. Britten's Lachrymae and Brahms's E flat Sonata comprised the second half; both great masterpieces, but ver different musically, each was given a performance of notable musicianship by these well-matched artists. A truly fine, not to say inspiring, recital."
"Rich and deeply felt account of (Shostakovich's) very last work by Krzysztof Chorzelski and Katya Apekisheva; even the bleak pizzicati sound beautiful."
Norman LebrechtCDs of the week
"A benchmark recording of two of the most important contemporary works for viola and piano, both of them needing repeated hearings and therefore ideal for coupling on a CD for connoisseurs.It has to be conceded that nowadays young musicians are equalling and indeed challenging the famous "greats" of yesteryear and the iconic first recordings of keyworks"
"It is always fascinating to hear a player best known for their ensemble work making music in a different context. The coolness of the Belcea Quartet aesthetic is fundamental to Chorzelski's playing. He is a remarkable technician and a courteous listener, much to the benefit of Apekisheva's feverish figures in Schumann's Märchenbilder... The recital was impeccably prepared, every gasp of rubato, every breath, every colour, every silence."
The Independent, Wigmore recital with Katya Apekisheva
"unmissable CD...Shapira's Concierto Latino is a memorably orchestrated, romantic modern masterpiece, full of imagination, passion and beautiful melody. London Serenata... play superbly under Krzysztof Chorzelski - better know as the Belcea Quartet's violist."