Rachmaninov: Cello Sonata; Vocalise; Shostakovich: Viola Sonata

Fri, May 10, 2013, 01:00


Shostakovich & Rachmaninov

Leonard Elschenbroice, Alexei Grynyuk, Sergei Rachmaninov, Dmitri Shostakovich

Onyx Classics


This is a disc of high contrasts. Rachmaninov’s ardently romantic cello sonata is clearly the work of a piano-obsessed composer, one who couldn’t stop himself writing a huge piano part that’s difficult to balance with the cello. Elschen- broich and Grynyuk somehow manage to make the full-on effects a joint advantage. And they’re careful not to overplay the Vocalise. Russian cellist Daniil Shafran arranged Shostakovich’s Viola Sonata, the proofs of which the composer corrected on his deathbed, for his own instrument. I’m not sure that such bleak, spare music gains in the transition to the cello’s rounder tone and greater bloom, which bring too much warmth into the darkness.