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Prokofiev: Symphony-concerto For Cello And Cello Sonata / Rostropovich, Sanderling, Richter, Et Al

Release Date: 09/30/2008 
Label:  Monopole   Catalog #: 22   Spars Code: n/a 
Composer:  Sergei Prokofiev
Performer:  Mstislav RostropovichSviatoslav Richter
Conductor:  Kurt Sanderling
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Leningrad Philharmonic Orchestra
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Mono 
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Notes and Editorial Reviews

PROKOFIEV Symphony-Concerto. Cello Sonata Mstislav Rostropovich (vc); Kurt Sanderling, cond; Sviatoslav Richter (pn); Leningrad PO MONOPOLE 22, mono (61:57)

The mono sound is quite thin, if clear (with no noise), but Slava’s character survives another remastering of these Soviet tapes from the mid 1950s. Richter had conducted the premiere of the Symphony-Concerto in 1952, showing solidarity with his friends at a time when Read more Prokofiev was still “untouchable,” thanks to the nonsense of the 1948 state clampdown. He’s the best possible partner for Rostropovich in this modest, moving Cello Sonata, unbeatable in the bleak ruminations of the Andante. It’s also good to have a further sample of Kurt Sanderling’s sterling work in Leningrad. This was the first recording of the Symphony-Concerto , made in 1954, just a year after Stalin and Prokofiev died, and its existence implies a change in the times. It’s a straight, dark reading, strongest in the huge central movement and in the heartbreaking, withdrawn moments near the end. Overall, in my view, no one on recordings matches the 1965 Karel An?erl/André Navarra recording on Supraphon, though I saw Rostropovich live, in London, raise the work to a transcendent level of expression and substance.

What bugs me is the patronizing tone of too much published writing on the Prokofiev cello works, especially the Symphony-Concerto . It’s an astounding portrait of the times and of the strung-out individual who wrote it, all the way to the panic-hysteria of the coda: a full-on late masterpiece by one of the two or three greatest composers of the last century. There are moments of eloquence and beauty he matched nowhere else, in a unique formal frame. Enough said. Prokofiev collectors need these youthful Rostropovich performances; everyone needs the Symphony-Concerto.

FANFARE: Paul Ingram
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Works on This Recording

Symphony-Concerto for Cello and Orchestra in E minor, Op. 125 by Sergei Prokofiev
Performer:  Mstislav Rostropovich (Cello)
Conductor:  Kurt Sanderling
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Leningrad Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1951/1952; USSR 
Notes: Composition written: USSR (1951).
Composition revised: USSR (1952). 
Sonata for Cello and Piano in C major, Op. 119 by Sergei Prokofiev
Performer:  Sviatoslav Richter (Piano), Mstislav Rostropovich (Cello)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1949; USSR 

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