- Composer: Sergei Vasilievich Rachmaninoff (1 April 1873 -- 28 March 1943)
- Performers: Natalia Gutman (cello), Elisso Virsaladze (piano)
- Year of recording: 2006
Cello Sonata in G minor Op. 19, written in 1901.
00:00 - I. Lento -- Allegro moderato (G minor)
12:50 - II. Allegro scherzando (C minor)
19:03 - III. Andante (E flat major)
25:19 - IV. Allegro mosso (G major)
Rachmaninov disliked calling this work a cello sonata because he thought the two instruments were equal. Because of this, it is often referred to as Sonata in G minor for Cello and Piano. Most of the themes are introduced by the piano, while they are embellished and expanded in the cello's part. The piece has a remarkable similarity with regard to thematic material and figurations, to his 1st Piano Sonata.
Rachmaninov dedicated it to Anatoliy Brandukov, who gave the first performance in Moscow with the composer at the piano, on 2 December 1901. Rachmaninov seems to have made some last-minute alterations after the premiere, as he wrote the date "12 December 1901" on the score.
The sonata was overshadowed by the huge success of his Piano Concerto No. 2, which premiered on 27 October 1901. Nonetheless, the Sonata is considered one of the most important works for cello in the 20th century. In this sonata he clearly explores the possibilities of the cello. The complex piano part is remarkable, because it has by no means the character of a simple piano accompaniment. Still, the contribution of the cello and the piano are actually expertly balanced and generally well alternated, though sometimes the emphasis seems to lie at the piano, especially if the pianist plays too loud. Perhaps this is the cause of the sonata being somewhat underperformed, cellists may fear to be 'overwhelmed' by the piano part.
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