“There is an attractive gutsiness to the tone of Nina Kotova’s cello playing whether in the plangent Slavic tone of her upper register or in the folkie roughness of the lower. It is a beautiful sound but one with the tinge of a life lived to it. Her manner of playing is similarly unabashed. Her unconstrained assault on the Marais which opens this recording announces that she isn’t going to be handling older music with kid gloves. There is a spontaneity to the playing that is excitingly risky that comes from confidence in a rock solid technique which liberates the performer rather than becomes an end in itself. … Kotova’s handling of the famous Bach C major suite is robust with dance rhythms sturdy like peasants stamping their feet. The style of playing is very much inspired by rather than adopting historically informed practice. The great naturalness with which Kotova ‘breathes’ with the bow, abundantly in evidence elsewhere in the programme, plays a part in her Bach too… it is distinguished Bach playing. … Kotova is in her element in [the Cassado] and it is immensely persuasive advocacy of a piece probably better known to cello fanciers than general listeners. In Kotova’s hands, and the sound of her playing is absolutely resplendent, it definitely deserves to be better known and crowns the recital.
I have a suspicion that this recording reflects a regular concert programme of Kotova’s. The way the pieces work together has the feel of practical experience and, unlike many recital discs which hang together on account of a clever idea or theme, this one makes good musical sense and sends the listener home (so to speak) satisfied. This is the sound of a seasoned musical talent in her absolute prime playing with confidence, sensitivity and flair in carefully and imaginatively chosen repertoire that suits her musical personality perfectly. What more could a listener ask for?”—David McDade, MusicWeb International