Tcherepnin: Cello Sonata No. 1; Cello Sonata No. 2; Cello Sonata No. 3; The Well-Tempered Cello; Songs and Dances; Ode

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COMPOSERS: Tcherepnin
LABELS: Chandos
WORKS: Cello Sonata No. 1; Cello Sonata No. 2; Cello Sonata No. 3; The Well-Tempered Cello; Songs and Dances; Ode
PERFORMER: Alexander Ivashkin (cello), Geoffrey Tozer (piano)
CATALOGUE NO: CHAN 9770
Alexander Ivashkin, ably partnered by Geoffrey Tozer (and the pianist needs to be a virtuoso), proves a powerful advocate for some splendid, virtually unknown cello-piano repertoire (everything except the tiny Ode is a first recording). Tcherepnin’s three pithy and brilliant sonatas from the early Twenties, with their manic toccatas, scintillating ostinati, resourceful use of extreme registers in both instruments and their soulful, deeply Russian melodic invention, show clearly why the young composer was regarded for a while as a direct rival to Prokofiev. It’s Shostakovich, though, who is recalled (or rather anticipated) in The Well-Tempered Cello (1925-6), a set of 12 preludes on Tcherepnin’s personal, oriental-sounding nine-note scale. Tcherepnin’s absolute command of both instruments is a continual delight, and his movements have a blessed brevity, packed with incident and never outstaying their welcome – in fact, his penchant for downbeat endings, simply stopping as soon as the invention has, is a trait many modern composers could study. The much later Songs and Dances, bravura fantasies on Russian and Asiatic folksongs, is a Romantic charmer, ending with a stunning Kazakh Dance. Superbly played and recorded, the disc is a continual pleasure – these are works which deserve, as of right, to be encountered more frequently on the concert platform. Calum MacDonald

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