Moscow New Opera Orchestra / Alexander Polezhaev / Marina Tarasova

Miaskovsky: Cello Concerto; Cello Sonatas

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Although the works on this disc are given fine performances featuring a soulful soloist accompanied by either a completely sympathetic pianist or a thoroughly capable conductor and orchestra, the music is still heavy going. What else could it be? Even at its most ingratiating, the music of Soviet composer Nikolay Myaskovsky is almost always dark. Soloist Marina Tarasova has the necessary big tone and the required huge technique, and there's no doubt she's fully committed to giving the works her best. But as always with Myaskovsky, the music's aching nostalgia leading to relentless melancholy followed by inevitable despair make it hard to take in the finest performances, and even Tarasova's dedication can only make them so much easier. With the proficient piano playing of Alexander Polezhaev, the competent conducting of Yevgeny Samoilov, and the experienced performing of the Moscow New Opera Orchestra, these recordings are acceptable as far as they go. That they go no further than the music is hardly the musicians' fault. Like a date made at closing time, this 1994 Russian digital recording is more than agreeable if less than immediately attractive.

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