For fans of the cello sonatas by Dmitry Shostakovich and Sergey Prokofiev who regret that they didn't write more than one each, the cello sonatas of Mieczyslaw Weinberg will be just the thing, and this disc featuring Russian cellist Dmitry Yablonsky is the one to have. That's not to say that Weinberg's cello sonatas closely resemble those of Shostakovich or Prokofiev -- each composer is clearly his own man -- but they breathe the same air as the older composers' works. The grim tragedy of the first sonata from 1945 and the lyrical melancholy of the second sonata from 1959, for example, are both characteristic of their composer, but their tonal language as well as their emotional expressivity, are typical of Soviet music of the period: dark in tone and passionate in content. In every work, Yablonsky turns in spectacular performances of tremendous power and obvious commitment, as does pianist Hsin-Ni Liu in the two accompanied sonatas. Listeners who do not already know Shostakovich and Prokofiev's sonatas should seek them out, but listeners who already do, and who want more of the same but different, are likely to enjoy this disc. Naxos' sound is a bit too close and too loud.
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AllMusic Review by James Leonard
|Cello Sonata No. 1, Op. 21|
|Cello Sonata No. 2, Op. 63|
|Solo Cello Sonata No. 1, Op. 72|
|Solo Cello Sonata No. 3, Op. 106|