One of the most grown-up review sites around

2019
51,000 reviews
and more.. and still writing ...

Search MusicWeb Here

     
  
 

 

International mailing


  Founder: Len Mullenger             Editor in Chief: John Quinn               Contact Seen and Heard here  

Some items
to consider

TROUBADISC

Reger Violin Sonatas
Renate Eggebrecht violin

Brahms Symphony 3
Dvorak Symphony 8
Vivaldi
9 cello sonatas
Dussek
Piano Music

Clara Schumann
piano concerto

Asmik Grigorian

Breathtaking Performance
controversial staging
Review Westbrook
Review Hedley
Every lover of Salome should see this recording
Mullenger interpretation

Vraiment magnifique!


Quite splendid


Winning performances


Mahler Symphony 8
a magnificent disc


a huge talent


A wonderful disc


Weinberg Symphonies 2 & 21
A handsome tribute!


Roth’s finest Mahler yet


Mahler 9 Blomstedt
Distinguished performance

 

REVIEW
Plain text for smartphones & printers

We are currently offering in excess of 51,000 reviews


Advertising on
Musicweb


Donate and keep us afloat

 

New Releases

Naxos Classical


Nimbus Podcast


Obtain 10% discount



Special offer 50% off
15CDs £83 incl. postage

Musicweb sells the following labels

Altus 10% off
Atoll 10% off
CRD 10% off
Hallé 10% off
Lyrita 10% off
Nimbus 10% off
Nimbus Alliance
Prima voce 10% off
Red Priest 10% off
Retrospective 10% off
Saydisc 10% off
Sterling 10% off


Follow us on Twitter

Subscribe to our free weekly review listing
sample

Sample: See what you will get

Editorial Board
MusicWeb International
Founding Editor
   
Rob Barnett
Editor in Chief
John Quinn
Seen & Heard
Editor Emeritus
   Bill Kenny
MusicWeb Webmaster
   David Barker
Postmaster
Jonathan Woolf
MusicWeb Founder
   Len Mullenger

 

Availability
Dmitri SHOSTAKOVICH (1906-1975)
Cello Sonata in D minor Op.40 (1934) [26:13]
Sergei PROKOFIEV (1891-1953)
Cello Sonata in C major, Op, 119 (1949) [24:46]
Antonio Janigro (cello)
Eva Wollmann (piano)
rec. 1955, Mozartsaal, Vienna
FORGOTTEN RECORDS FR979 [51:00]

The French label Forgotten Records never fails in seeking out recording gems, long since faded from memory. One such is this mid-fifties recording of two 20th century Russian cello sonatas played by the Italian cellist Antonio Janigro (1918-1989) and the Austrian pianist Eva Wollmann (b. 1902). Making its first outing on CD, it has been capably restored from a well-preserved Westminster LP.

The Shostakovich Sonata is the work of a young man, he was 28 when it was composed in 1934. A difficult time in Russia, it was completed just prior to the censure of his music by the Soviet authorities, who considered it too decadent and bourgeois. It was finished in a few weeks against the backdrop of a brief divorce from his wife Nina; the following Autumn they remarried, she being pregnant with their daughter, who was born in 1936. The Sonata was written for Victor Kubatsky, the principal cellist of Moscow’s Bolshoi Theatre Orchestra and founder of the Stradivarius Quartet. Shostakovich had known him for a while as they had been duet partners.

It was the playing of Rostropovich that inspired Prokofiev to compose his cello sonata. The composer heard the cellist in concert in 1949 performing Nikolai Miaskovsky’s Cello Sonata No. 2, and was so impressed he decided to compose a sonata for him. Prokofiev worked on it at the same time he was writing the ballet The Stone Flower. 1949 was a year before the composer was accused of formalism under the Zhdanov Decree, when much of his music was banned. The new sonata was premiered in 1950 by Rostropovich with Richter at the piano.

Janigro seems perfectly in tune with Shostakovich’s mind set, highlighting the virtuosity, melancholy and reflective elements. There’s great charisma in the playing with both cellist and pianist really on top of the piece. The flageolet passages for the cello in the second movement are pure and crystalline. The third movement, which feels to me like the centre of gravity is intense and bleak with an all-pervading sense of darkness.

In the sombre chorale opening of the first movement of the Prokofiev Sonata, Janigro draws a rich resonant sound. The movement is a sequence of contrasting sections which in some hands can sound rambling. Here it is held together with an eye on the bigger picture,. The piano sensitively accompanies the cello’s narrative throughout. Lyrical episodes, of which there are many in this work, are intelligently phrased. The finale is a virtuosic tour-de-force. It’s a truly convincing performance.

Quality of recorded sound is A1 throughout, with balance between the instruments exemplary. This is most definitely a partnership of equals. These are two sonatas which deserve a wider following.

Stephen Greenbank