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Cello sonata; Blok romances



Rostropovich/Vishneskaya/Benjamin Britten,
with Brainin/Schidlof/Lovett.
Decca 466 823-2 [74.22]
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I found this one of the most interesting and valuable of the recent batch BBC live recordings at the Aldeburgh Festivals, which display Britten's versatility & prowess at the piano.

It begins with a fine, expansive account of the Shostakovich sonata, with both players perfectly attuned and Rostropovich at his best in 1964.

The greatest rarity, now, is the 7 Blok Romances of Op. 127 (1967), Britten playing at this 1968 British premiere because Shostakovich was indisposed. Galina Vishneskaya was also a frequent visitor to Aldeburgh and gives an authoritative account of these mainly bleak songs, with accompaniments shared between the members of a piano trio, here Hurwitz, Rostropovich & Britten. In 1967 Janacek's Pohadka (Fairy Tale) was still a rarity - maybe this three movement work would have achieved its now firm place in the repertoire sooner if he had called it a sonata? This is indeed, as Eric Roseberry writes, a magical performance by Rostropovich & Britten.

Many lovers of English music will be pleased that the programme ends with an airing for Frank Bridge's Phantasie Quartet with three members of the Amadeus Quartet, Norbert Brainin, Martin Lovett, and the late, lamented Peter Schidlof.

Another splendid Aldeburgh Festival recital compilation, impeccably remastered to vivid, nostalgic effect for those of us who attended some of these performances, and equally recommendable to younger collectors.


Peter Grahame Woolf


Peter Grahame Woolf

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