Video Pick of the Week: Irina Kulikova Plays Viktor Kozlov’s ‘Ballad for Beautiful Elena’

This lovely piece was penned by Russian composer-guitarist Viktor Kozlov (b.1958), who dedicated it to his wife and published it in 1994. Performing it is one of our favorites, Russian guitarist Irina Kulikova (who now lives in the Netherlands); she recorded it on her 2015 album Reminiscences of Russia, which was reviewed favorably by Chris Dumigan in the Summer ’15 of Classical Guitar. In his liner notes for the Kulikova CD, longtime CG writer and sage Graham Wade noted that the piece “opens with wistful fragments of broken chords before progressing to the main melodic lines. A touching arpeggio episode follows with evocations of heart-felt romance of great intensity and beauty.” Kulikova performs the the piece in the video on a great-sounding 1967 Ignacio Fleta guitar.