Kodaly: Sonata for Solo Cello, Op. 8; Cello Sonata, Op. 4; Adagio; Sonatina

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WORKS: Sonata for Solo Cello, Op. 8; Cello Sonata, Op. 4; Adagio; Sonatina
PERFORMER: Sung-Won Yang (cello), Ick-Choo Moon (piano)
Although Kodály’s works for cello were written over a ten-year period, they cover a very broad range of his style. The Adagio, originally for violin, was composed in 1905 before he met Bartók and began to take an interest in the folk music of his native land: elegant and expert in a late-Romantic manner, it acquires something of a French accent in its central section. The Solo Cello Sonata is a quite different matter. This is music by a composer who has clearly found himself: sweeping rhetoric, which encapsulates his homage to the great solo cello works of Bach, and modal inflection give this work an impressive, identifiable profile. In both the Sonata and Sonatina for cello and piano Kodály’s folk-inflected style is moderated by his admiration for Debussy’s Pelléas et Mélisande.


Sung-Won Yang seems entirely at home with the often soulful side of Kodály’s musical personality and handles the occasionally disjunct gestures in this music well. At times the brisker music could be more carefully formed, something Maria Kliegel manages excellently on her Naxos recording, but Yang and his accompanist have provided a very handsome conspectus of this expressive repertoire. Jan Smaczny