Mieczyslaw Weinberg (1919‒1996)
Sonata for Violoncello and Piano No. 2 op. 63
Sergei Rachmaninoff (1873‒1943)
Sonata for Violoncello and Piano in G minor op. 19
Rachmaninoff’s Cello Sonata is unquestionably one of his best works of chamber music. In 1919, he even accompanied the great cellist Pablo Casals’s performance of the piece, written in 1901, on the grand piano. With its melodic inventiveness and rich harmonies, it is reminiscent of Rachmaninoff’s Second Piano Concerto, which he completed the same year, and offers the accompanist a similarly lush, surging piano movement. Nevertheless, in this piece virtuosity is never an end in itself , and the violoncello’s voice is of a particularly emotional intensity. Mieczyslaw Weinberg was a close friend of Dmitri Shostakovich; before Weinberg published any work, he would show it to his fellow composer. And it appears that the opposite was also the case. All the same, it would be erroneous to consider Weinberg, who was almost two generations younger than Shostakovich, to be an imitator of the older composer. He definitely has his own, very personal style whereby, for example, purely motoric elements play a less fundamental role, while conversely, considerable importance is attached to melody.