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Please use the dropdown buttons to set your preferred options, or use the checkbox to accept the defaults. Jamie Walton and Daniel Grimwood continue their performance partnership with this recording of sonatas for cello and piano by Shostakovich, Britten and Prokofiev.
Both Walton and Grimwood are accomplished performers who regularly work together both on albums and in concert, as well as being highly active in the wider musical world. Ethnic minorities were deported, peasants and professionals and party apparatchiks too far to the left or too far to the right were imprisoned and killed on the flimsiest of evidence or the cruel expedient of the forced confession. Many hundreds of thousands were killed and millions more consigned to labour camps.
The arts were under intense scrutiny for any perceived modernism and a good many writers, artists and composers paid dearly in the process. On this matter, Shostakovich was adjudged to have failed his country and comrades by producing works lacking in Socialist Realism—a serious breach of the party line.
Shostakovich knew nothing of the attack until days later when he happened to buy a copy of Pravda at a railway station after performing his Cello Sonata Op 40 in Arkhangelsk with his close friend, the cellist Viktor Kubatsky.
The sonata is dedicated to Kubatsky, who gave the world premiere, with the composer accompanying, in Leningrad on Christmas Day, Although the ramifications of the editorials were not immediately clear, the aftershocks rippled rapidly through Soviet culture.
With Stalin gearing up for the first of the infamous Moscow show trials later in the year, and the Great Purge hot on their heels, everyone had to watch their step. Shostakovich had been working on his colossal, modernist Fourth Symphony for some time, but it no longer suited the mood of the times and he was forced to withdraw it during rehearsals, in December Neither the Fourth Symphony nor Lady Macbeth would be heard again for some 25 years.
The golden boy of Soviet music had become a degenerate corrupter.
Cello Sonata (Britten)
All the stranger then that Prokofiev should have chosen to return to his homeland in , despite the various musical organisations inexorably coming under Communist Party control. After leaving the evolving Soviet Union in , Prokofiev spent most of the s and early s in the USA and France, where much as he tried, he failed to emulate the popularity of Rachmaninov in America or Stravinsky in Western Europe. Although also a Russian composer abroad, Prokofiev had neither fled nor left the Soviet Union without official permission, had by no means ever severed ties with his beloved Russia and, indeed, spent extended periods there on a number of occasions in the early s.
By , he had moved his family permanently from Paris to Moscow, where he was allowed two more tours of Europe and the USA before his coveted passport, a rare allowance, was removed on a technicality, and somehow never returned.
Family privileges were also withdrawn and many were forced into a more or less hand-to-mouth existence. During one of the interminable conferences where composers were coerced into delivering official apologies, Prokofiev was stunned to hear that his first wife had been arrested on suspicion of spying. These trumped-up charges earned her eight years in a labour camp, and Prokofiev would die three years before she was released, in One of the few rays of light in this dark period for Prokofiev was his collaboration with the spectacularly talented young cellist Mstislav Rostropovich — The composer had heard Rostropovich play his long-neglected Cello Concerto Op 58 in and was so amazed by the performance that he resolved to re-write the work for the cellist.
Whether or not dictated by the Soviet State policy of the day, simplicity is paramount in the sonata.
Gone are the more abrasively dissonant techniques often so thrillingly prominent in his works and the harmony, rhythm and accompaniment are uncluttered and direct in utterance. The cello is employed particularly successfully in its lower register, joyful and movingly lyrical by turns.
The whole effect is satisfying and positive, hardly bereft of struggle, but up-beat rather than downcast. The impact that Rostropovich had on the cello repertoire of the last century can hardly be underestimated—the fact that the Shostakovich sonata was not written for him can be put down to the cellist being a boy of seven years at the time of composition. Shostakovich soon made up for this oversight by accepting the young cellist, and at the time, budding composer, into his composition class in Having not even seen a photograph of Britten, and working purely on this Baroque-hued evidence, he had assumed Britten was a composer from a previous century and fell into a fit of laughter on being introduced to him.
On realising that this was no practical joke and Benjamin Britten was indeed standing before him, he immediately set about imploring the composer to write something for him. Britten dedicated his church parable, The Prodigal Son to Shostakovich, who reciprocated the gesture with his Fourteenth Symphony.
Nevertheless, his mentions of Britten tend to be unremittingly positive. Naturally, there were a good many differences between Prokofiev, Shostakovich and Britten on matters musical and otherwise. Britten had the life-long freedom to tour the world accepting generous commissions, overseeing premieres, absorbing the acclaim and the honours attendant on his status.
Shostakovich and Prokofiev, after his return to Russia, maintained a mutable status in the Soviet Union, often rather less elevated than either desired and sometimes fraught with danger. Nevertheless, all three, in their own way, and with the help and comradeship of the ever-resilient Rostropovich, contrived to compose a number of the greatest works for the cello of the last years.
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Britten: Cello Sonata, Rostropovich & Britten (1961) ブリテン チェロ・ソナタ
Don't show me this message again. Studio Master:.
Clear, well balanced recording helps to make this a first rate issue, with illuminating notes filling in the background behind each work' Gramophone. These three works make sense together but are hardly a commercial proposition. The D minor Shostakovich sonata is among the most affecting performances I have heard since Rostropovich died.
Cello Sonata (Fine, Vivian)
The C major sonatas by Britten and Prokofiev have lower emotive traction, but the playing compensates with delicious little insights and evocations. Three symphonies, film scores silent, talkie and animated , operas, ballets, incidental music, masterpieces such as the Piano Concerto No 1, Piano Trio No 1 and the Jazz Suite No 1 and the Cello Sonata were cementing his reputation as the pre-eminent composer of the new generation.
He was certainly hot news and his views were sought on all sorts of matters musical and otherwise. But cold reality was to bite bitterly. Although now seen as preposterous and philistine, at the time these were unprecedented articles.