Klassik Heute
June 2016
Klassik Heute rates the CD as CD of the week and Klassik Heute Recommendation

"[...] From history back to the present: Mirjam Tschopp, violin and viola player, and Riccardo Bovino, piano, are a young duo already firmly established on the international music scene. Complete masters of their instruments – as is expected nowadays – they have plunged into this material with keen insight. Additionally, these works are seldom performed by one and the same duo, as string players usually fall into either the violin or the viola camp. As Mirjam Tschopp is equally skilled on both instruments, she and her partner are a dream team – which on the CD greatly enhances the close relationship between the two sonatas.
Anyone who equates the term “plunge” with impetuosity or unreflected youthful passion is soon taught otherwise. We need terms such as wide awake, crystal clear, enlightened – or: scrupulous and with razor-sharp precision. For it is precisely these qualities which are behind the moments of excitement, when the softer the sound, the greater the intensity becomes. Mirjam Tschopp and Riccardo Bovino turn “piano” into what it is in Shostakovich: something profound, that lies in wait! The duo plays these sections sparingly and in a minimalist way, almost alarming in their insistence, and are adept at building the drama with endlessly graded dynamics. At the beginning of op. 134 the violin uses a twelve-tone scale to launch an imploring lament, while the piano has a single line over long stretches. The less notes, the more urgent they are. This principle, which Shostakovich carries to extremes - especially in the last sonata - is deeply internalized by this duo. Mirjam Tschopp’s violin sound is low in vibrato, elegant and supremely powerful. Emerging from troubled repose, the dynamic increases sound like furious and rebellious impulses. The fast, loud, extrovert middle movements are purposeful and relentlessly rhythmical. It is fascinating how often in the many fast syncopated sections percussive piano interjections mesh with shrill pizzicato flashes. Slow-fast-slow, this radical inversion of the “normal” movement sequence is played with well-dosed symmetry by the artists.
These qualities are no less apparent in the second sonata recorded here – although under the hands of the TschoppBovino duo this ‘swansong’ begins in an even more introverted fashion than its predecessor, with flashes of more heartfelt elements and a passionate central dancing movement which appears to burst with positivity. Yet even when this last composition of a genius soars to movingly beautiful, fragile melodies, it is never long before they are undermined, often by grotesque caricatures. Dodecaphonic elements and the occasional direct influence of Alban Berg are clearly apparent in this late work. The duo’s clarity ensures that we experience the exciting friction between intellectually challenging dodecaphony and many emotional elements of the Russian musical idiom."
(Stefan Pieper)

CD Shostakovich Sonatas - Genuin

Musik & Theater
September 2016
"Aufbruch und Verstummen : Gleichermassen liegt ihr die Violine wie die Bratsche: Mirjam Tschopp hat sich beiden Instrumenten mit demselben Interesse zugewandt. So ist sie natürlich prädestiniert dafür, die beiden Sonaten für diese beiden Instrumente, die Schostakowitsch am Ende seines Lebens schrieb, auf einer CD zu verbinden. Es sind sperrige Werke, in vielem rätselhaft, ambitioniert, noch immer nach Neuland strebend und kein bisschen altersmilde, sieht man einmal vom versöhnlichen C-Dur-Gesang im Finale der Bratschensonate ab. Tschopp und ihr Klavierpartner Riccardo Bovino haben viel zu bieten an Nuancen des Ausdrucks, aber das ist auch bitter nötig, nur so wird diese vergeistigte Musik lebendig. Die Ruppigkeit und aufgewühlte Atemlosigkeit zu Beginn des schnellen zweiten Satzes der Geigensonate gelingt eindringlich, ebenso wie sie diesen Charakter nicht einfach durchhalten, sondern die tänzerischen Facetten durchscheinen lassen, und damit Spannungen erzeugen. Bloss: Es ist ein Totentanz, die rhythmische Gnadenlosigkeit gewinnt. Auch die Bratschensonate, das letzte vollendete Werk Schostakowitschs, tanzt in der Mitte, kurz nur, weit weniger heftig, bald franst es wieder aus, wie auch alles andere reduziert wird, in diesem überaus anspielungsreichen, bis auf das Skelett von wenigen musikalischen Ideen entkleideten Werk. Dieses Verstummen, Reduzieren, Verklingen erhält unter den Händen von Tschopp und Bovino eindringliche Gestalt."
(Reinmar Wagner)

CD Schostakowitsch Sonaten - Genuin

Badische Zeitung
June 2016
"Clarity without end : [...] Shostakovich wrote the Sonata for viola and piano op. 147 a few weeks before his death in the summer of 1975. The last movement makes reference to Beethoven’s Moonlight Sonata. These are sounds beyond time and space. Mirjam Tschopp’s gentle viola tone endows this resigned swansong with appeasing warmth. Riccardo Bovino picks up the string instrument’s shaded colours, playing the sparse textures with a clarity that is never harsh. The interpretation is characterized by concentration and an almost sacral tranquillity. This also applies to the Sonata for violin and piano op.134 of 1968, the endless elegy dedicated to violinist David Oistrakh. The second movement is a grimacing dance atop the volcano. These are first-class recordings of two masterpieces of classical modernism."

CD Shostakovich Sonatas - Genuin

Pizzicato
June 2016
"Atmosphärisch dichte Shostakovich-Sonaten : Shostakovichs Violinsonate op. 134 und die Violasonate op. 147 spielt das Duo TschoppBovino auf einer CD von Genuin, und dabei kommt die sehr heterogene Klangsprache des Komponisten sehr gut zum Ausdruck. Die verschiedenen Stimmungen und Emotionen von Melancholie über beißende Ironie bis hin zu kräftigem Unmut durchmessen die Geigerin und Bratschistin Mirjam Tschopp und der Pianist Riccardo Bovino mit viel Gestaltungssinn und einer kompletten Beherrschung der Palette dynamischer und farblicher Nuancen."

CD Schostakowitsch Sonaten - Genuin

Concerti
June 2016
"Shostakovich at peak concentration - Sometimes just two instruments are enough to reveal a composer’s cosmos. The Duo TschoppBovino exemplifies this : These two duo sonatas contain a concentrate of Dmitri Shostakovich’s musical idiom: the grotesqueness, sharpness, elegiac quality and anger - all the violent emotions present in his fifteen symphonies and string quartets, concertos and operas. Violinist and viola player Mirjam Tschopp and pianist Riccardo Bovino play his two late sonatas with urgent intensity and concision. This is music on a knife-edge. There are biting harmonics and pallid pizzicati in the stringed instrument, hissing trills and muffled rumblings in the piano. The unconventional, capricious transitions, disparate moods and diverse idiomatic allusions are compelling, the linearity sharply etched. The wilfully superficial lures, the intimate withdrawals, the depths of these works: all of it is utterly convincing."
(Eckhard Weber)

CD Shostakovich Sonatas - Genuin

Zürcher Oberländer
June 2016
"The whole Shostakovich dimension : Violinists rarely play the viola with as much enjoyment and skill as the violin. These are usually two different types of musician. Zurich violinist Mirjam Tschopp is an exception; she has always also loved the viola’s darker timbre, and switches effortlessly between the two instruments, ingeniously making the most of their tonal beauty and essential differences. [...]
The elegiac violin sonata in G major was written for David Oistrakh; Shostakovich included very few markings in this thoughtful dialogue between violin and piano, which features abstract serial writing of great tonal beauty. The TschoppBovino duo shape this intimate dialogue with shimmering intonation. Pianist Bovino intuitively matches the violin’s colours, never emphasizing his rhythmic equality, and the drama remains internalized.
The viola sonata, this expressive swansong hovering between pure tonality and dodecaphonic lines, is equally mesmerizing. Mirjam Tschopp’s sonorous viola sound is warm and powerful, as well as impressively aggressive in the dancing Allegretto. The piano writing is always sparse, involving two fatefully linked linear voices. The musicians know each other well; this allows them to react subtly to one another without neglecting their own part. Thanks to their concentrated eloquence and creative far-sightedness, the whole Shostakovich dimension is revealed to us through this simple two-part texture. This gets under the listener’s skin."
(Sibylle Ehrismann)

CD Shostakovich Sonatas - Genuin

The New Listener
August 2016
"Der wahre Avantgardist in neuer Referenzqualität : [...] Die Neuaufnahme der Bratschensonate und der um sieben Jahre vorangegangenen Violinsonate für den unübertroffenen David Oistrach durch die Schweizer Geigerin und Bratscherin Mirjam Tschopp und den Turiner Pianisten Riccardo Bovino bewegt sich auf olympischen Höhen. Nicht nur, das Mirjam Tschopp sowohl auf der Geige als auf der Bratsche eine herausragende Virtuosin ist: Bei ihr klingt die Bratsche zudem nicht wie eine tiefere Geige, sondern eben wirklich originär, wie eine Bratsche im schönsten Sinne klingen kann, als authentischer Ausdruck des Alt-Registers mit grandios mächtiger Tiefe. Mirjam Tschopps Ausdruck umfasst eine weite Skala. Grundsätzlich fällt eine unsentimental innige Herbheit auf, die sich allerdings in idealtypischer Weise mit Schostakowitschs weltabgewandtem Spätstil verbindet. Riccardo Bovino ist ihr ein souverän mitgestaltender und intensiv zuhörender Partner, und beide sind in jeder Hinsicht bestens aufeinander abgestimmt, auch in den dynamisch heikelsten Abschnitten bilden sie ein exzellent abgestimmtes Duo. Überhaupt ist das dynamische Spektrum mit entschlossener Bewusstheit sehr weit gespannt. Hinzu kommt eine vorzügliche Aufnahmetechnik, die wohl auch von der ausgezeichneten Akustik der Leipziger Bethanienkirche profitiert haben dürfte. Hier ist in allen Belangen superbe Arbeit geleistet worden, und auch Eckhardt van den Hoogens kenntnisreicher Begleittext hält da gut mit.
[...] Es handelt sich um eine Referenzaufnahme, wie seit Jahrzehnten keine gleichrangige vorgelegt wurde. Gerne hören wir mehr von diesen außergewöhnlich ernsthaften und befähigten Künstlern."

CD Schostakowitsch Sonaten - Genuin

Journal Frankfurt
May 2016
Journal Frankfurt lists the CD as No. 2 of their Top 5

"[...] The recording is a prime example of precision, in sound and recording technique as well as in interpretation. Motives and musical ideas seem to stand before the speaker, crystal clear and detailed. This makes listening to music fun!"

CD Shostakovich Sonatas - Genuin

The Strad
September 2005
"This richly rewarding work needs a sensitive and perceptive soloist to master its diverse moods. The gorgeously eloquent, Swiss-born Mirjam Tschopp brings just these inspiring qualities, lending a warm, serene presence to the opening and eerily capturing the glowing mystique of the slow movement. The declamatory and almost cheerfully comic finale is passionate and rhythmically charged."
(Roderic Dunnett)

CD Saygun Violin Concerto

klassik heute
May 2005
"It is this eloquence which ensures that listening to soloist Mirjam Tschopp is truly an experience, for we cannot help but participate, in aural and almost scenic terms, in the tale told by Ahmed Saygun's epic work."
(Eckart van den Hoogen)

CD Saygun Violin Concerto

Classics Today
November 2007
"Mirjam Tschopp is a superb violist, with a big, beefy tone that never gets swamped by the intricate orchestration. Fabulous!"
(David Hurwitz)

CD Saygun Viola Concerto

Classical Lost and Found
March 2008
"The performances are superb and perfectly encompass the considerable emotional spectrum present in this music. Violist Mirjam Tschopp's feel for the moody viola concerto is superb, and there's no hint of those intonational anomalies sometimes associated with that instrument."
(Bob McQuiston)

CD Saygun Viola Concerto

Fanfare Magazine
January 2006
"She displays an excellent technique and a degree of focus that sets her apart from many equally young, less-formed musicians."
(Barry Brenesal)

CD Saygun Violin Concerto

musicweb international
May 2005
"Mirjam Tschopp seems to be fully in command of the work's requirements both in drama and in poetry."
(Rob Barnett)

CD Saygun Violin Concerto

Classica-Répertoire
September 2005
"This work's lyricism is built on short, tense phrases laden with post-romantic harmonies, and calls for a first class soloist. Mirjam Tschopp has a powerful and brilliant tone, and her vision and virtuosity dominate the outer movements."
(Stéphane Friedérich)

CD Saygun Violin Concerto