— Mona Seghatoleslami, WXXI
"The Ekstasis Duo’s program of French music cast a perfect and dreamy spell... I was absolutely entranced by the sensitivity and poetry of the way they shaped the music – lovely ideas, with the exacting technique to carry out these musical visions. And they know how to have fun too – they had the audience bouncing joyfully in their seats with Natasha Farny’s arrangement of Scaramouche by Darius Milhaud. Natasha Farny and Eliran Avni are two very skilled musicians, who are creating something greater with this new partnership. Even our cynical engineers were touched by the music!"
— Diane Fox, The Soprano
"Their interaction with each other is what being a true musician is all about. Together, they don’t just create music, rather, they create art... They epitomize playing their instruments like a great singer spinning out a great legato line. Bottom line, as a fellow artist, they inspired me. I want to sing with them!"
— Peter Hall, WNED
"The real deal... They played like virtuosi...with dozens of subtle flavors."
— Jan Jezioro, Artvoice
Cellist Natasha Farny and pianist Eliran Avni opened their Friends of Vienna program with a sprightly performance of Darius Milhaud's Scaramouche. Originally composed for piano duo, the work is most often otherwise performed in a version for either clarinet or saxophone and piano. Farny and Avni proved that the version for cello and piano can more than hold its ground against the more familiar treatments, by capturing the mischief and humor of the opening Vif movement and the lyrical finesse of the middle movement, marked Modéré, through the samba-infused music of Brazileira, the final movement which made you want to get up and dance.
Avni offered sensitive performances of a pair of the Improvisations by Francis Poulenc, before closing out the first half of the program with his own arrangement of Musique en quête d'images by Roland Dyens, which immediately made you want to hear more music by this recently deceased French composer who is all too unknown in this country.
The concert concluded with violinist Yuki Numata Resnick joining Farny and Avni for Maurice Ravel's demanding Trio, one of the 20th century's masterpieces for piano trio, completed at the outbreak of World War I. Ravel, a fine pianist, said he himself was “absolutely incapable of performing the piano part” but this was not a problem for Avni, who provided an ideal balance between the soaring violin playing of Numata Resnick and the organic earthiness of Farny's cello playing. Together, they made light work of the technical demands of the coloristic effects such as arpeggios, harmonics and glissandos indicated in the score, and beautifully captured the unusually rich texture of sound that Ravel created for the contrasting sonorities of the piano and the string instruments.