Marko Ylönen / Arto Satukangas

Chopin, Rachmaninov: Sonatas for Cello & Piano

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The cello sonatas of Frédéric Chopin and Sergey Rachmaninov are both treasured anomalies. Neither of the pianist/composers wrote much in the way of chamber music, and neither wrote any other sonatas for instruments other than solo piano. Despite their relative inexperience in writing for the cello, both brilliantly capture the instrument's ability to play long, flowing, lyrical passages and exploited the cello's broad range. Both sonatas are tours de force for the piano but still manage to relinquish a great deal of the melodic work to the cello. Performing these two richly romantic sonatas on this Alba album is Finnish-born cellist Marko Ylönen and pianist Arto Satukangas. Listeners will immediately notice the power and intensity that Ylönen coaxes from his Goffriller cello, easily setting this album apart for the ease of hearing -- even feeling -- the cello throughout. Apart from the sheer power of his sound, Ylönen also plays with incredible finesse, a broad array of tone colors, vibrant dynamics, and arresting vibrato. His left hand is precisely in tune throughout and his right arm is articulate and tireless. Satukangas adopts a similar "no holds barred" approach to his playing and can easily do so without worrying about covering the cello. Together, the duo offers gripping, insightful interpretations of these two beloved contributions to the literature

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