Sonata for Cello and Piano

Composer: Rodion Shchedrin (b. 1932)
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Composer: Rodion Shchedrin (b. 1932)

Performance date: 04/07/2015

Venue: Bantry Library

Composition Year: 1996

Duration: 00:29:46

Recording Engineer: Richard McCullough, RTÉ lyric fm

Instrumentation: 2vn, 2va, 2vc

Instrumentation Category:Duo

Artists: Peter Laul - [piano]
Marc Coppey - [cello]

Shchedrin’s Sonata for cello and piano was composed for Mstislav Rostropovich.
The first performance took place on 5 May 1997 in Monte Carlo, with the
composer himself at the piano, accompanying maestro Rostropovich.

The Cello Sonata,
conceived in three movements, contains many intense moments. As often is the
case with Shchedrin’s music, one is immediately thrown into emotionally
challenging scenery. A form of psychodrama unfolds. The
Sonata begins with staccato calls from the piano. The cello
then appears, singing long lines. After a while, the instruments change
position; the piano sings, and the cello takes over the angular chords. This
constitutes one of the fundamental ideas of the sonata: the interchanging of
ideas and motifs follows the listener throughout the piece. Maybe this could be
said to be a metaphor for the collaboration between Rostropovitch and
Shchedrin: two people with only occasionally concurring views on things. But
most of all, this seems to be an animated discussion about life and art in a
musical form. The cello bursts out in aria-like gestures and melodic lines,
bearing witness to the composer’s affinity with stage music and dramatic
delivery. The slightly syncopated beginning of the second movement, moderato, heralds a fiery yet playfully
adventurous music.

In the sostenuto
, long held chords and slowly evolving melodic lines are juxtaposed to
a pensive and suddenly happier mode. The cumulative tension of the piece as a
whole is strong and is carried by melancholy and passion. The streaks of light
that are let through the curtains of constant longing, serve to underline the
darkest regions of emotion.