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Dmitri SHOSTAKOVICH (1906-1975)
Cello Sonata Op. 40(1934) [27:54]
Sergei RACHMANINOV (1874-1942)
Cello Sonata, Op. 19b (1900) [33:43]; Vocalise,
Op. 34/14b (1915, arr. cello and piano) [4:12]
(cello); Rem Urasin (piano).
rec. live, Moscow, May 2006 (Shostakovich); live,
Small Hall, St Petersburg Conservatory, 6 October 2004 (Rachmaninov)
Boris Andrianov won the Bronze Medal at
the Moscow Competition in 1998, which is in itself high recommendation.
was a named winner in the 1995 Chopin Competition in Warsaw.
Given that the performers are playing music from their homeland,
this promised to be a special disc.
The first thing to strike one about this account of the Shostakovich
is the low recording level, so be warned that some volume
adjustment may be required. The next thing is that this is
music-making of youth, with all the positive qualities of
youth on its side. Outbursts are passionate, lyrical sections
lovingly dwelt on. Andrianov's tone is warm and expressive,
while Rem Urasin acts as a solid bedrock for him. The recording
is on the reverberant side, but detail still registers. The
players bring a fair sense of mystery to the close of the
first movement, and plenty of vim to the fast second: an
Allegro. Again, though, the reverberation is a concern. It
is to the credit of the players that the intensity of this
movement is not blunted.
The slow movement has a deep heart to it and requires dedicated
performers to do it justice. The players here seem to warm
their way into it, with only the final few minutes achieving
that sense of stasis so necessary. Better is the finale,
with a real sense of play mixed with fire. My top recommendation,
on Hyperion CDA67534 with Alban Gerhardt and Steven Osborne remains
The Rachmaninov begins very promisingly with a Lento that
projects both breadth and intensity of feeling. Urasin brings
a real depth of tone to the accompaniment that infiltrates
into the sonata-form Allegro moderato. Andrianov finds many
beauties in the long-breathed melodies, while Urasin seems
to enjoy the more disjointed, exploratory passages. The darkness
of the Scherzo - placed second, as in the Shostakovich -
is most effectively brought out here with the expansive contrastive
melody appearing here as pure Rachmaninov.
Much of the Andante breathes true repose before the finale's
long journey begins. Both players seem to revel in the sense
of musical space Rachmaninov creates here. Urasin finds the
occasional opportunity to add spikiness of attack within
the prevailing dark lyricism. Perhaps the live provenance
inspired the players to greater heights here? This is a performance
that equals the claims of the recent Natalie Clein account
on EMI. When it comes to the famous Vocalise,
Andrianov comes head-to-head against the great and sorely
missed Rostropovich and
has to cede to Slava's greatness. This is not to imply his
account is in any way lacking. It is clearly
played with much affection and expression; just without
Andrianov and Urasin are two mightily talented youngsters
and one can only credit their bravery in releasing this particular
repertory. Keep watching!
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