Cello sonata; Blok romances
Decca 466 823-2
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I found this one of the most interesting and valuable of the recent batch
BBC live recordings at the Aldeburgh Festivals, which display Britten's
versatility & prowess at the piano.
It begins with a fine, expansive account of the Shostakovich sonata, with
both players perfectly attuned and Rostropovich at his best in 1964.
The greatest rarity, now, is the 7 Blok Romances of Op. 127 (1967), Britten
playing at this 1968 British premiere because Shostakovich was indisposed.
Galina Vishneskaya was also a frequent visitor to Aldeburgh and gives an
authoritative account of these mainly bleak songs, with accompaniments shared
between the members of a piano trio, here Hurwitz, Rostropovich & Britten.
In 1967 Janacek's Pohadka (Fairy Tale) was still a rarity -
maybe this three movement work would have achieved its now firm place in
the repertoire sooner if he had called it a sonata? This is indeed, as Eric
Roseberry writes, a magical performance by Rostropovich & Britten.
Many lovers of English music will be pleased that the programme ends with
an airing for Frank Bridge's Phantasie Quartet with three members
of the Amadeus Quartet, Norbert Brainin, Martin Lovett, and the late, lamented
Another splendid Aldeburgh Festival recital compilation, impeccably remastered
to vivid, nostalgic effect for those of us who attended some of these
performances, and equally recommendable to younger collectors.
Peter Grahame Woolf