Alexander Chaushian / Yevgeny Sudbin

Borodin, Rachmaninov, Shostakovich: Cello Sonatas

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Most listeners are likely familiar with the significant contributions to the cello sonata repertoire made by Russian giants Sergey Rachmaninov and Dmitry Shostakovich. Far less well-known, however, is the Cello Sonata of Alexander Borodin. As his primary occupation was that of a scientist and not a musician, many of his works went uncompleted at his death; the Cello Sonata was no exception. For this recording by cellist Alexander Chaushian and pianist Yevgeny Sudbin, a 1982 completion by Mikhail Goldstein is used. Though we will never know with absolute certainty what Borodin's intentions were with his sonata, Goldstein's completion makes a convincing case, begging the question why more cellists aren't putting their mark on this worthwhile composition. Chaushian and Sudbin play together with the same unity and fluidity as a duo that's played together for many years. Most notable is the intimacy and true "chamber" feel they achieve, particularly in the frequently more symphonically interpreted Rachmaninov sonata. Chaushian's tone on the D and G strings is at times a bit fuzzy, but this is compensated for by Sudbin's careful and sensitive attention to balance, ensuring that the cello is clearly audible at all times without making the piano appear frail or timid. BIS' sound is enjoyably simple and unfettered, allowing listeners to hear every nuance and detail put forth by the composers.

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