Shostakovich: Cello Concerto No. 1; Cello Sonata

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5.0 out of 5 star rating 5.0

COMPOSERS: Shostakovich
LABELS: EMI
ALBUM TITLE: Shostakovich
WORKS: Cello Concerto No. 1; Cello Sonata
PERFORMER: Han-Na Chang (cello); London SO/Antonio Pappano (piano)
CATALOGUE NO: 332 42222
Han-Na Chang and Antonio Pappano follow up their stunning CD of Prokofiev’s Concerto and Sonata with two parallel works by Shostakovich. Chang brings clear-sighted belief to everything she touches. Her range is generous indeed, from barely-audible ghostly voices to high-octane drama, though the attendant scraping and rasping may worry those listeners not totally caught up in the tremendous spirit of the performance. What wins me over without reservation is the superlative partnership with Pappano and the LSO on peak form. Tim Jones’s all-important horn solo deserves his credit and is gloriously served, like everyone else, by the rich and focused recording.

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As on the Prokofiev disc, Pappano doubles as Chang’s partner in the accompanying Sonata, taking on the fiendish quick-change artistry of the piano role with deadpan aplomb. There have been deadlier realisations of the finale’s swings between Mozartian humour and mania, but the sonorities this team produces in the first movement’s deadly coda, with Chang wraith-like and Pappano treading on eggshells, haunt the memory long after the performance is over. David Nice