WORKS: Cello Sonata in C, Op. 119 . Cello Sonata in D minor, Op. 40
PERFORMER: Suren Bagratuni (cello) Adrian Oetiker (piano)
CATALOGUE NO: 024-110
Every cellist loves these sonatas (there are over 20 recordings of each in the current catalogue), so the two laureates here have stiff competition. In the main, they qualify: the Armenian cellist Suren Bagratuni, a silver-medallist at the 1986 Tchaikovsky Competition, is an idiomatic interpreter with a remarkably focused tone, though there is something mechanical about his bowing.
No other sonata revels so voluptuously in the bass of the instrument as Prokofiev’s, and there is a lack of resonance here, which in the Shostakovich becomes a lack of free flight. For a better mix of the limpid and balletic, Swiss pianist Adrian Oetiker is the man, so it is a shame the cello is recorded so far forward of the piano. Helen Wallace