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Reflections & Relationships / Senyshyn, O'Neill-Senyshyn

Yaroslav Senyshyn, Piano Susan O'neill-senyshyn, Flute
Release Date: 11/12/2013 
Label:  Albany Records   Catalog #: 1444   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  Franz LisztCésar FranckJacques IbertLarysa Kuzmenko,   ... 
Performer:  Yaroslav SenyshynSusan O'neill-senyshyn
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
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Notes and Editorial Reviews

REFLECTIONS & RELATIONSHIPS Yaroslav Senyshyn (pn); Susan O’Neill Senyshyn (fl) ALBANY 1444 (64:29)

LISZT Années de pèlerinage: Sonetto 104. FRANCK Violin Sonata (trans. for flute). IBERT Jeux: Sonatine pour Flûte et Piano: Tendre. Read more class="COMPOSER12">KUZMENKO In Memorium to the Victims of Chornobyl. SMITH Image, op. 33/1, 2. MEDAGLIA-MILLER Étude no. 1 in c, op. 8

Captured “live,” pianist Yaroslav Senyshyn and his wife, flutist Susan O’Neill-Senyshyn, present a program polarized between Romantic and contemporary music, with the Ibert, an unabashedly sentimental work by a 20th-century composer, bridging the gap between the two disparate genres. Whether the music illustrates Reflections and Relationships to the degree hypothesized by Senyshyn in his program notes must be evaluated subjectively by each listener, but considered purely as music, this CD contains excellent performances of intriguingly varied repertoire. Senyshyn’s Liszt is exultant, dramatic, dreamy, rhetorically cohesive, with smoothly executed transitions and a beautifully shaded tonal palette. Senyshyn negotiates the fioratura with ease; ditto the dynamic extremes—this is Liszt, after all. Altogether this is an ingratiating, satisfying performance. The Franck Sonata was written for violin and piano, but is occasionally heard in a transcription for flute, as here. The flute “sings” as well as the violin, and is as agile: O’Neill-Senyshyn’s richly emotive playing in the slower movements and her easy mastery of the testing rapid-fire unisons in the fast ones easily supports those claims. However, the flute is compromised by the necessity for taking a breath from time to time (I may be wrong, but I haven’t heard of classical flutists employing circular breathing, as some saxophonists do). Nonetheless, in the right hands (as here), the instrument is capable of beautiful, long-lined phrases. The primary consideration, then, is timbral, with the sound of a vibrating column of air contrasted to that generated by bowed or plucked strings. Interpretively, the Senyshyns have a fine grasp of the music’s lyrical, passionate, and rhapsodic nature.

Franck’s piano writing often demands a virtuoso technique and Yaroslav Senyshyn successfully “walks the tightrope,” energetically pressing forward when the music demands it but never outstripping or swamping his partner even when both instruments are at full stretch, as in the exciting second and fourth movements. When he wishes, he’s capable of a truly colossal sound; try Kuzmenko’s In Memoriam to the Victims of Chornobyl , in which Senyshyn does as much as a pianist can conceivably do to convey horror through dynamics. He can also play with great delicacy and refinement, as when he’s portraying the innocent children whose play is so devastatingly interrupted. William David Smith’s Image No. 1 opens with low, murky textures contrasted with bright shards of sound. Explosive episodes and vehement single-note repetitions, combined with a marked Russian feeling, recall Prokofiev. Initially, Image No. 2 substitutes soft sprinkles of sound for brutality: I’m guessing that the una corda has an important part to play in Senyshyn’s creation of a beguiling, other-worldly atmosphere. The second half of the piece revisits the angry sonic assaults of the first Image , but with slightly less intensity. Reeves Medaglia-Miller’s Étude is also somewhat Russian in inclination, with a declarative opening reminiscent of Rachmaninoff. The piece doesn’t strive to be “modern,” and could have been written by a contemporary of Liszt: its periodic, furious athletic figures must require quick, strong fingers, but in its less strenuous moments the music is somber and majestic. The Liszt connection (probably not intended by the composer) can be heard in the, admittedly brief, thematic fragments that hark back to the Hungarian Rhapsodies . To recap, this is an eclectic program of standard and contemporary music masterfully performed by two insightful, communicative, and virtuosic musicians.

FANFARE: Robert Schulslaper
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Works on This Recording

Années de pèlerinage, deuxième année, S 161 "Italie": no 5, Sonetto 104 del Petrarca by Franz Liszt
Performer:  Yaroslav Senyshyn (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1837-1849; Weimar, Germany 
Sonata for Violin and Piano in A major, M 8 by César Franck
Performer:  Susan O'neill-senyshyn (Flute), Yaroslav Senyshyn (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1886; France 
Notes: Transcribed for flute and piano. 
Jeux: 2nd movement, Tendre by Jacques Ibert
Performer:  Susan O'neill-senyshyn (Flute), Yaroslav Senyshyn (Piano)
In Memoriam to the Victims of Chornobyl by Larysa Kuzmenko
Performer:  Susan O'neill-senyshyn (Flute), Yaroslav Senyshyn (Piano)
Image, Op. 33 by William David Smith
Performer:  Yaroslav Senyshyn (Piano)
Etude no 1 in C Minor, Op. 8 by Reeves Medaglia-Miller
Performer:  Yaroslav Senyshyn (Piano)

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