‘[…] more Classically contained than Kremer and Argerich (DG), better musically balanced than Menuhin and Kempff (also DG) and less interventionist than Faust and Melnikov (Harmonia Mundi) […] By avoiding any hint of big player rhetoric or self-conscious interpretative tinkering, Foyle and Štšura keep the mind focused on Beethoven’s wide-ranging inspiration and radical thought patterns [… ] The result is an engaging set of performances that cast fresh light on this much-recorded area of the repertoire.’

Julian Haylock, BBC Music Magazine (London), October 2021: Beethoven Violin Sonatas Vol. 2 CD review (Challenge Classics)

‘[…] an immediate sense of the close bond between the two players caught in a focused Belgian studio acoustic but also an acute reading of all Beethoven’s markings, reproduced faithfully and without mannerism.’

David Threasher, Gramophone, October 2021: Beethoven Violin Sonatas Vol. 2 CD review (Challenge Classics)

‘Foyle-Štšura Duo is unusual in that both members play from memory. This adds an extra layer of spontaneity; complete freedom from the score means chamber music connection is at its height’

Colin Clarke, Seen and Heard International (London), July 2021: Beethoven-251 concert at Barts Great Hall

‘[…] these performances are some of the very best I’ve heard among a recent spate of entries in this repertoire. In fact, I’d say they’re well-nigh ideal. Foyle produces an absolutely gorgeous sound on his 1750 Gennaro Gagliano violin, with modern setup. The tone is of a purity and alluring sweetness above the staff, while sacrificing nothing of robustness on the G- and D-strings. His bowing is strong and incisive but always smooth, evincing no grittiness or roughness, even in the execution of chords and forte passages. Vibrato is audible but discreet.

[…] Balance between the two instruments is consistent and equal, as is the balance between the two players in matters of phrasing and other interpretive details. Štšura is sure-fingered and rhythmically rock-steady. […] The recording is excellent.’

Jerry Dubins, Fanfare, May/June 2021: Beethoven Violin Sonatas Vol. 1 CD Review (Challenge Classics)

‘Recording Beethoven’s complete violin sonatas in Mechelen, the home of Beethoven’s forebears, during a period of near-global isolation revealed to this Scottish-Estonian duo ‘new layers of emotional and psychological intensity’, and you certainly hear this in the rapport between the two players.’

David Threasher, Gramophone, April 2021: Beethoven Violin Sonatas Vol. 1 CD review (Challenge Classics)

‘Lutosławski wrote Subito as a violin competition test piece towards the end of his life, and here it shows off the technique not only of the violinist Michael Foyle but that of the pianist Maksim Štšura. Short and (in places) explosive, it still reflects the slight stylistic softening of the composer’s later years. Both players catch its beauty, and they are equally persuasive in Lutosławski’s haunting Recitativo e arioso, earliest (1951) of the pieces here. More often heard in its version with orchestra, Partita is spikier, and Foyle and Štšura handle it with commanding aplomb. […] The Three Miniatures, Webern-like in their compactness, certainly belong to Penderecki’s avant-garde period, and the Sonata No. 1 is his first published work yet highly accomplished — and enjoyable thanks to this Scottish-Estonian duo’s musical intelligence.’

John Allison, BBC Music Magazine (London), April 2019: Penderecki and Lutosławski CD review (Delphian Records)

‘Foyle’s playing is remarkable in its accuracy, tonal focus and impressive range of musical options: the violin’s opening phrase in Debussy’s Sonata sound unusually clipped at first hearing, but that’s how the composer notates it, and the work’s interplay of cool luminosity and melodic skittishness is deftly judged. Janáček’s magnificent Sonata requires, outside its haunting ‘Balada’ movement, a trenchant response from each performer, to which Štšura’s firm-toned piano playing makes a fine contribution. Respighi’s Sonata occupies more standard late-Romantic territory, but is a substantial creation nonetheless, delivered by both artists in sweeping style.’

Malcolm Hayes, BBC Music Magazine (London), February 2019: ‘The Great War Centenary’ CD review (Challenge Classics)

‘Scottish violinist Michael Foyle and Estonian pianist Maksim Štšura have one of those perfectly meshing musical partnerships that is a joy to hear. Playing Beethoven’s ‘Kreutzer’ Sonata and Franck’s Sonata in A from memory freed them up to focus on their interaction as a duo with such complete unanimity that you couldn’t help but be drawn in.’

Mike Wheeler, Music&Vision (Derby), November 2017

‘…The Foyle-Štšura Duo [is] a fine partnership, and clearly a dedicated one, playing everything from memory. In Lutoslawski’s Partita there was punchy playing, with some fierce, vibrant G-string work. There were vivid contrasts in ad libitum second movement, sometimes vehement, as others gently sur la touche, followed by a dynamic final Presto. In Mozart’s E minor Sonata K304 their playing was elegant and articulate, with just the right balance between drama and gentility. The clear, intelligent account of Debussy’s Sonata was refreshingly unindulgent but full of sparkling detail, with tonal beauty and incisive rhythmic clarity, balancing wit and poetry.
After the interval they performed Prokofiev’s Five Melodies Op. 35bis with character and a singer’s sense of line […]. As with the Debussy, the duo took a no-nonsense approach to Franck’s Sonata: the first movement flowed gracefully forward towards its climaxes, the second movement was vibrant and colourful. The Finale had many voices, including a light effervescence not always heard in this grand work. As an encore they gave a dynamic performance of Brahms’s ‘FAE’ Scherzo, with just a touch of schmaltz. ‘

Tim Homfray, The Strad (London), December 2016

…'[Michael] Foyle and his musical partner, Estonian pianist Maksim Štšura, proved themselves to be superlative musicians and technicians, and delivered a varied and demanding programme with considerable maturity. […] The two instrumentalists […] really are a ‘pair’, and play with astonishing mutual understanding, feeling and responsiveness. Both players performed the entire programme from memory. […] an assured rendition of César Franck’s enduringly popular Violin Sonata … Foyle and Štšura offered an unwaveringly engaging performance …this was certainly impressive and enjoyable playing.’

Claire Seymour, Seen and Heard International, July 2016

‘Schubert’s ‘Grand Duo’ was precisely that, two equal virtuosos playing wonderfully together, from memory … intensely rewarding concentration from both players and the audience. The communication between them was remarkable… It was no surprise that they received such thunderous applause.’

Andrew Connal, (Brighton), May 2016

‘Michael Foyle and Maksim Štšura impressed immediately… An excellent and well-matched duo.’

Colin Anderson, The Classical Source (London), January 2015

‘Krzysztof Penderecki […] stood forward to congratulate Foyle and Štšura on their performance of his 1953 Sonata No. 1 for violin and piano: fierce and fiery in its leapfrogging first movement, haunting in the violin’s Andante musings over the wandering tread of the piano.’

Hilary Finch, The Times (London), January 2015

‘The Sonata No. 1 for Violin and Piano (1953) proved a highlight of this first Penderecki-focused programme, and also served as an ideal vehicle for the violinist Michael Foyle and pianist Maksim Stsura, who played it with compelling conviction.’

John Allison, The Daily Telegraph (London), January 2015

‘An extraordinary sense of ensemble playing.’

Toomas Velmet, Sirp (Tallinn), June 2014

‘An abundance of mature musical expression and a rare, seemingly limitless variety of tonal colour.’

Borbecker Nachrichten (Essen), May 2014

Foyle-Štšura Duo - Michael Foyle, violin and Maksim Štšura, piano