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Music professors' CD a hit with critics

May 19, 2008

KALAMAZOO--A new compact disc by two Western Michigan University music professors is getting rave reviews.

Released on the MSR Classics label by Renata Artman Knific, violin, and Lori Sims, piano, the CD features the works of American composer, pianist and Pulitzer Prize and Grammy Award winner William Bolcom. "William Bolcom: Works for Violin and Piano" includes Sonatas for Violin and Piano, Nos. 2, 3 and 4, and The Graceful Ghost, a concert variation for violin and piano.

BBC Music, billed as the most-read classical music magazine, selected the release as its CD of the month. The magazine termed it a "beautifully engineered performance" and says Knific and Sims "are persuasive in almost every respect and have deservedly earned the enthusiastic imprimatur of the composer."

"Knific and Sims bring a tremendous range of characterization to these highly accessible works," the review continues, "relishing the blistering energy of the second movement of the Second Sonata, the seductive charms of the exotically colored finale of the Third and the Piazolla-like 'Jota' of the Fourth, and the reflective qualities of the slow movements of all three works."

The All Music Guide was also very complimentary.

"For anyone unfamiliar with the violin sonatas of William Bolcom or who has heard them, but do not own this particular recording, stop what you're doing and buy it," the review says. It adds that Sims and Knific "offer an astonishingly commanding and engaging performance."

The review also extols the recording's exceptional clarity, "allowing every note to be heard in even the densest, most aggressive passages. Intonation is all but flawless, and Knific's sound varies easily between the savage and the sweet," while "Sims' piano playing is equally vibrating and varied. The cleanliness of her playing is remarkable considering the demands Bolcom makes of the pianist. Together, Knific and Sims perform as if they were a single instrument."

The release is available directly from MSR Classics online at www.msrcd.com or by calling (203) 304-2486. The CD product number is MS1197. The CD also is available through www.amazon.com. To order directly from the artists, contact knific@wmich.edu.

Media contact: Mark Schwerin, (269) 387-8400, mark.schwerin@wmich.edu

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