RAZUMOVSKY Ensemble  
   

RAZUMOVSKY Trust

Patrons
Ida Haendel CBE
Sir Sydney and Lady Lipworth
Sir Angus and Lady Stirling
Lord and Lady Woolf


Trustees
Bernard Asher (Chairman)
Jenny Barraclough OBE
Alannah Dowling
Sara Stewart


Artistic Director
Oleg Kogan


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RAZUMOVSKY Reviews

"At the Wigmore Hall the Razumovsky Ensemble opened with an assured performance of Beethoven’s Septet in E flat major op.20. This was playing full of charm, humour and a kind of elegant exuberance, by an ensemble well-equipped to take Beethoven’s technical demands in its collective stride. There was more urgency and seriousness of purpose in the ensuing performance of Schubert’s Octet. The balance of parts here was exemplary, as Schubert’s textures moved between large chamber ensemble and small orchestra, with playing at once rich and lucid. The players were constantly attentive to the composer’s markings, the playing was unfailingly lyrical and there was a general sweetness of tone which never cloyed. Winfried Rademacher, the first violinist, was outstanding as Schubert’s - and earlier, Beethoven’s – demands increased, and cellist Oleg Kogan deserves special mention for his beautifully phrased playing." Tim Homfray, The Strad.(March issue re: Wigmore Hall Performance 8 Dcember 2007)

"Since cellist Oleg Kogan started the Razumovsky Ensemble in 1998, inviting close colleagues to join him for chamber music recitals, the idea has burgeoned. There's now a Razumovsky Trust that sponsors outstanding young musicians, and a Razumovsky Academy that offers specialist coaching. A lunchtime concert at the Wigmore Hall was the first showcase for the talents that have been nurtured by the fledgling academy. The same evening, some of those who teach there - all soloists and leading orchestral players in their own right - joined forces for a typical Razumovsky programme of Mozart and Schoenberg.

These players play together only occasionally, which means there isn't a hint of routine about their performances, just a vividly communicated relish for playing chamber music at such a high level of accomplishment. Nothing was taken for granted; everyone listened and watched what their colleagues were doing with a hawk-like intensity that never replaced instinctive musicianship. The way in which the two viola players, Krzysztof Chorzelski and Philip Dukes, shared ideas and inflections in the opening movement of Mozart's C major String Quintet was just one example of perfect chamber-music manners.

With second cellist David Cohen augmenting the quintet, the performance of Schoenberg's Verklärte Nacht was equally absorbing. Every one of the thematic transformations that bind the work together was perfectly fashioned, with the members of the group sharing responsibility for mapping the complex emotional journey." The Guardian


"...they open a world of music-making fabulously rich in tone colours, ensemble precision, and lyrical sweep of a kind rarely met this side of paradise.... Each Razumovsky member may be king of their chosen instrument, but they scale the heavens as a team. England's sport teams could learn a great deal." The Times

"Hearing the Razumovsky Ensemble in action is rather like observing a fleet of Aston Martins performing synchronised manoeuveres on a perfect race track…

They brought irresistible zest and poetry with the most poised of phrasing, to their first half, the Sextet from Strauss's opera Capriccio and Brahms's G major String Sextet. As for Tchaikovsky's Souvenir de Florence, the second movement duet between Vassilev and Kogan seemed illuminated from within, while the vivacity, rhythmic definition and sheer passion of the whole were out of this world. This was a phenomenal evening." The Strad


"…this kind of insight and commitment would be remarkable for an ensemble who played together every day; that the Razumovskys manage it on such an ad-hoc basis- all having successful solo careers alongside their chamber music playing - is a minor miracle." The Guardian

"...what made this concert so special was the sense of absolute artistic freedom and a commitment to the power of music that was little short of transcendent.

The opening Rossini Sonata for two violins, cello and double bass was a case in point. The Moderato was paced with almost psychic unanimity, beautifully sculpted and sonically rich. Rinat Ibragimov's contribution was outstanding: rarely have I heard such flawless intonation or witnessed such immaculate technique on the instrument.

Ravel's Sonata for violin and cello is one of the masterpieces of the last century in any genre. Vasko Vassilev and Oleg Kogan's reading - particularly of the slow movement - continues to haunt me thanks to its astounding insight, power and poetry.

A truly remarkable recital that will live in the memory for years."
The Strad

"This was vibrant, impetuous playing of huge dynamic range and projecting the work's recurrent pathos for all it was worth… there was no withstanding the intensity and sweep of it all. The commitment of these players, body and soul… deserved to be called heart-warming."
The Independent

"The sound of Oleg Kogan's Guarneri cello of 1693 is heaven enough just by itself" The Times

"Chamber music, the most intimate form of classical music, has long been associated with permanent groups such as string quartets or piano trios. But the Razumovsky Ensemble has blazed onto the scene with a new concept.

Taking its name from Beethoven's Ukrainian-born patron, Count Razumovsky, it is more than a 'flexible' group. Its founder and artistic director, Ukrainian-born cellist Oleg Kogan, chooses different colleagues for each concert from a pool of dynamic freelance soloists and section leaders from world-class orchestras- musicians who share his passion for chamber music. The extraordinary thing is that no matter who is playing, no matter the repertoire - anything from duos to octets - Kogan and his friends habitually raise the roof, earning astonishing reviews and establishing a devoted following.

It's a heady cocktail of commitment, responsiveness, respect and Kogan's intuitive ability to choose top performers who share a wavelength.

…This is just the beginning of what seems certain to be an illustrious future."

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Jessica Duchen (The Independent)

     
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