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Myaskovsky: Cello Sonatas Nos 1 & 2; Prokofiev: Ballade in C minor; Taneyev: Canzona

Pavel Gomziakov, Andrei Korobeinikov (Onyx)

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5.0 out of 5 star rating 5.0

Myaskovsky • Prokofiev • Taneyev
Myaskovsky: Cello Sonatas Nos 1 & 2; Prokofiev: Ballade in C minor; Taneyev: Canzona
Pavel Gomziakov (cello), Andrei Korobeinikov (piano)
Onyx ONYX4176 61.02 mins

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Released just months after Laura van der Heijden’s superlative debut album 1948, which included Myaskovsky’s soulful Second Cello Sonata, this new album from seasoned cellist Pavel Gomziakov offers both of the composer’s lyrical Sonatas. Highly esteemed by his colleagues, including Prokofiev and Shostakovich, and up until the Revolution well-informed about the latest innovations of Stravinsky and Schoenberg, Myaskovsky generally wrote in a style that harmonically and melodically evokes Fauré and Franck. This is as true of Sonata No. 1, composed in 1911 during his final year at the St Petersburg Conservatory, subsequently revised in 1931, as of Sonata No. 2 composed in 1948, immediately after Zhdanov lambasted the Soviet Union’s leading composers for writing allegedly ‘anti-democratic formalist music’. Gomziakov and his pianist, Andrei Korobeinikov, play both works with ardent Romantic expressiveness, well capturing in the First Sonata the second movement’s impetuous and stormy episodes.

That Sonata was premiered in January 1914 alongside Prokofiev’s Ballade, a still too little-known work which Myaskovsky warmly admired. Rachmaninov’s influence is evident in the opening of this work, which also has something of the brooding quality of Prokofiev’s Second Piano Concerto. The Ballade’s grotesque central section is more typical of the composer, and in this performance builds quite a head of excitement, one which surely will win the work more admirers. Gomziakov and Korobeinikov finish their recital with Taneyev’s Canzona, originally written for clarinet but whose yearning quality is brought out all the more by the cello (albeit with some welcome restraint by Gomziakov).

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Daniel Jaffé