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Cat. No. CHAN 9890 Price: £5 No. of discs: 1
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CHAN 9890 - Prokofiev: Cello Concertos
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Available From: 12 March 2001
Prokofiev was fascinated with the cello all his life. One of his earliest compositions was the Ballade, Op 15 for cello and piano, written in 1912 and first performed in the Small Hall of the Moscow Conservatory on 23 January 1914, just a few months before the triumphant graduation concert at which he premiered his First Piano Concerto. His very last composition was the Sonata, Op. 133 for solo cello, which he began on the latter half of 1952 but left unfinished at his death in March 1953.

Towards the end of his life Prokofiev also engaged in the composition of three major works featuring the cellos as solo instrument. All three were inspired by Mstislav Rostropovich who at that time was at the beginning of his astonishing career. The Sonata, Op. 119 for cello and piano (1949) was followed by the Sinfonia Concertante, Op. 125 for cello and orchestra (1950-51, revised 1952) and the Concertino in G minor, Op. 132, also for cello and orchestra. Like the solo cello sonata, however, this last work was left unfinished at the composer’s death.

Following the premiere of the Sinfonia Concertante Prokofiev wrote: ‘I wanted to continue writing music for the cello, and to compose a light transparent concertino for this instrument’. Vladimir Blok, a Prokofiev expert who had completed the first movement of the composer’s unfinished solo cello sonata, undertook a new arrangement of the Concertino which he based on Prokofiev’s manuscript and on which he worked until his death in 1996. The first recording has been made with the kind permission of his widow, Mrs Valaria Blok.

The Concertino in E minor, Op. 58 is one of the most original of Prokofiev’s works, yet remains little known. It has been recorded only once, in an incomplete version by Janos Starker in the 1950s. Starker made substantial cuts in the final movement. The result of these cuts is that the movement appears almost completely twisted.
Reviews

Alexander Ivashkin… gives a passionate account…’
Fanfare on CHAN 9792 (The Unknown Shostakovich)

In the concerto the balance gives the cello star billing, and Ivashkin lives up to it.’
Gramophone on CHAN 9722 (Schnittke)

‘It would be hard to imagine a better advocate for these works than Ivashkin… His rich tone could have been made for Prokofievs’s lush melodic writing…’
The Telegraph

‘This is wonderful playing, with a characteristically fine recording from Chandos.’
The Strad

 

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