Rachmaninov - Cello Works
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Label: Champs Hill Records
Cat No: CHRCD044
Number of Discs: 1
Release Date: 1st October 2012
WorksCello Sonata in G minor, op.19
Lied (Romance) in F minor
Prelude in F major
Songs (12), op.14
ArtistsYuki Ito (cello)
Sofya Gulyak (piano)
Rachmaninov composed his first piece for the cello in honour of Vera, the youngest of the Skalon sisters he had met while holidaying with family aged 17. One can hear in this short but ‘soulful’ little piece the earnestness of Rachmaninov’s intentions, originally titled Lied (the German term for an art song) but now more widely known as ‘Romance’. However, the affair was forcibly ended when Vera’s mother heard of the young couple’s habit of sitting together at dusk holding hands. Although talented, a rising young musician was thought a very poor match for a general’s daughter, and Rachmaninov was forbidden to contact to Vera again.
Rachmaninov’s next cello work, the sweetly lyrical Prelude in F, was composed to be performed in his first public concert as a pianist-composer. After its premiere by himself and Brandukov, his long time friend, in 1892, the Prelude was repeated two years later coupled with the ‘Oriental Dance’. In 1895 Rachmaninov composed his First Symphony, a work considered by some to be the finest of his symphonic works.
Rachmaninov followed this with his Op. 14 collection of songs, including ‘Spring Torrents’ (arranged for cello and piano in this recording by Yuki Ito): here we can hear a composer at the peak of his ability and ambition, writing some of the most impassioned and virtuosic piano accompaniment to be heard in his oeuvre as he portrays the exuberant and almost violent eruption of spring in Russia.
Rachmaninov’s Sonata for Cello and Piano was composed immediately after completing his breakthrough Second Piano Concerto in 1901 and was originally completed in November that year. In character the Sonata shares much in common with the Concerto, such as the typically melancholic and soulful second theme of its first movement.
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