PRESS
Gramophone Volume 94, november 2016 - Gramophone Collector, Violin-And-Piano Recitals, p.52
Francis Poulenc didn't like violin sonatas."The prima donna violin over an arpeggio piano accompaniment makes me want to vomit", he wrote to a friend, round about the time that he completed his own solitary essay in the form in 1943. What would he think about his sonata being the first item on a disc by violinist Irène Duval and pianist Pierre-Yves Hodique that includes both Chausson'sPoème (in an arrangement by Hodique) and the glorious belle époque warhorse, Fauré's A major Violin Sonata - probably the very work Poulenc had in his mind when he decried "the endless violin-melodic line sonatas written in France in the 19th century"?
Actually, in this context, I suspect he'd have been flattered. Poulenc's Sonata - conceived as a homage to the murdered Lorca - finds its own form and voice: brilliant, bitter, light on its feet. The medium of solo string instrument and piano - inherently more stable than the high-wire act of an unaccompanied string sonata but still more intimate than any other chamber combination - has a knack of revealing the personality of composer and performers alike, and like all the discs under review here, Duval and Hodique's recital doubles as a self-portrait. From Poulenc it moves through Szymanowski and Chausson towards the Fauré and a final item - Ernst's ingenious"Grand Caprice" on Schubert's "Erlkonig" - that nicely points up the sense of musical storytelling that underpins the duo's playing. The acoustic is close and dry (practically linen-cupboard) but one doubts Poulenc would have objected, and it suits these playful, salon-scale performances rather well. Duval and Hodique create a world and draw you in.

Diapason n°650, octobre 2016 - Les Disques de A à Z, pp.122,123

In Translation... Coming up soon...

Friday, November 29th 2013 - Culture, DNA – Irène Duval's Consecration
"...an impressive accomplice of solidity and of confidence for a 21 years old musician. And from the very beginning, in this romantic work of maturity, the “manly” bow of Irène Duval marks a deep and clear furrow. And even more in a dramatic presto where the bow hair literally sticks on the strings, modeling a compact material full of static electricity. The duo interpretation, a long way from giving way to Brahms melancholy, cares about the architecture and follows a clear line, in a single breathe.
Partita written by Lutoslawski in 1984, gives the piano a frequently metronomic role behind a quasi-improvising violin: by her "marcato" playing. Duval seizes the music score with all her energy and transcend the passages tension by doing repeated notes, like series of electric shocks. (...)
The virtuosity demonstration of the violinist takes an appearance of show in Sarasate's Carmen Fantasy (...). In the skin of an exposed toreador, Irène Duval draws near the public and gets rid of her stand: the stupendous mastery of arpeggios, the improbable jumps, the changings of playing techniques – numerous passages on harmonics -, all of it played with a remarkable intonation, keeps you out of breathe and triggers the bravos."

Christian Wolff

August 3rd 2013 - The Révélations classiques de l'ADAMI in Prades – Pépites d'avenir
« Born in 1992, Irène Duval was formed by Agnes Kwasniewska, Suzanne Gessner then Roland Daugareil, with whom she currently finishes her studies at the CNSMD of Paris. At first in duo with the pianist Sophie Teulon (wonderful accomplice for the whole concert), the violinist delivers a delicat Debussy's Clair de lune, dreamlike as one could wish for and of an entirely verlainian poetry. In solo, she then tackles the transcription of « Erlkönig » by Heinrich Wilhelm Ernst and remains attentive to the Lied song in spite of the countless difficulties which this redoubtable piece confronts the executant. »

Alain Cochard

PRADES 2013 : QUARTETS AND REVELATIONS
August 14th 2013 by Victoria Okada

« […] the violinist Irène Duval, in Schubert's Erlkönig transcribed by Heinrich Wilhelm Ernst, impresses the hall by her astonishing virtuosity. »

Sunday, July 21st 2013 -In the newspaper Le Populaire du Centre- 1001 notes
The Garde Républicaine under the orders of Beethoven

"In classical concerts it isn't recommended to applause between the movements. The artist takes advantage of the rest to concentrate, breathe, prepare the following sequences. At Solignac, the temptation was too strong. At the end of the first movement of Beethoven violin concerto, served by the young virtuoso Irène Duval, the public demonstrated its joy and enthusiasm. Lively, but also contemplative, the conducting of Sébastien Billard, conductor of the Orchestre de la Garde Républicaine, creates a comfortable climate. This atmosphere favors the inevitable explosion of the refined impulses the young violinist exposes with a non-dissimulated pleasure. She restores to this work its rhythmical vivacity and its poetry. Every note is being cared, laid down in the eardrums with an infinite delicacy."

Jean-François Julien

Freie Presse - Zwickau, 10.09.2011. Dozens of Bravos for the young violinist
(In Sibelius Concerto)
"Dozens of Bravos resonated for Irène Duval, the young French violinist. [...] With her subtle vibrant and noble sound, her audacious and vivacious way of making music, and her brilliant technique, that even in the most fastests passages allows her to keep the transparency note after note; the solist-born in 1992 was indeed an experience for each self, she incarnates this class we wish to find in the next invited artists."

Volker Müller

Markneukirchen Zeitung - July 2011 – Special edition
Gala concert of the 46th International Instrumental Competition of Markneukirchen
«But the highlight of this wonderful evening was then this coming on stage awaited with so much suspense (thanks to Prof.Berger's speech!) of the young French violinist Irène Duval, who with Ludwig van Beethoven's (1770-1827) violin and orchestra concerto in D major op 61, has bewitched the enthusiastic audience of the ceremony ! Her play in Finale of the competition was already excellent, and yet that night she could, free of any tension, abandon herself to the music: The heart opened itself to the other and the soul...- of course, see Eichendorff!! The 3rd movement was only then pure joy, and after the last sound had fainted, there wasn't any stop: standing ovations, shouts of Bravos, and several minutes long applauses made come and go until the last moment the little, humble French and touched her. Prof.Barbara Sanderling, jury president in the Bass category, expressed herself after the concert also subjugated; such a moment, she hasn't yet undergone it in any other competition!"

Freie Presse - Markneukirchen - Beethoven in Paradise - 16.05.2011
"An artist with great talent has won the Markneukirchen Competition, dedicated this year to violin. The 18 years old French, Irène Duval, had already convinced by her exceptional playing the jury of the 46th International Competition in the music-village of Vogtland. Then, during the closing concert, Sunday night, she even made the public to stand. The ovations and bravos of a standing public received her version of the one and unique (unique also in its genre) violin concerto of Ludwig van Beethoven.
This young violinist is talented in a way she can pretend to a great future, ensuring that her talent doesn't wear out. She plays with a lot of lightness – as if her fingers did only brush up against the strings. From her technical ease, she pulls a sound, quasi delicat, the larghetto of the second movement sounded with roundness, like a song coming from angels - Beethoven in paradise. And Irène Duval was lucky, in the person of Jiri Malat at the conducting of the Greiz-Reichenbach Philharmonie of Vogtland, to have a partner adapting himself, with the orchestra, to the extremely subtle play of the solist, giving her the adequate color background. The attention within each movement, and between them, was preserved, despite this lightness in suspense – In the final rondo, Irène Duval could even indulge in fine and malicious colors, very charming, it was simply grandiose. »

V.Müller