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Alone / Boris Andrianov

Andrianov / Kodaly / Schedrin / Sollima
Release Date: 08/09/2011 
Label:  Quartz Records   Catalog #: 2080   Spars Code: n/a 
Composer:  Rodion ShchedrinGiovanni SollimaAlfred SchnittkeZoltán Kodály,   ... 
Performer:  Boris Andrianov
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 0 Hours 56 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews

ALONE: Music for Unaccompanied Cello Boris Andrianov (vc) QUARTZ QTZ 2080 (56: 24)

KODÁLY Solo Cello Sonata. SHCHEDRIN Russian Fragments. SOLLIMA Lame. Alone. SCHNITTKE Improvisation. CASALS Song of the Birds
I bet that most of those who judge Zoltán Kodály to be a second-rate composer do not know his Sonata for Unaccompanied Cello. Written in 1915, this 30-minute work is to cellists what Beethoven’s “Hammerklavier” is to pianists: a treacherous, icy peak that even the greatest of virtuosi can scale only with enormous difficulty. Over the years, many brave cellists—famous and not so famous—have sought to conquer Kodály’s summit. Few have gotten there without loss of life or limb, and even fewer have emerged unscathed. In fact, until fairly recently, I knew of only three cellists who had fully tamed Kodály’s beast: János Starker (who essentially owned this work for about half a century and made it his calling card), Pieter Wispelwey, and Miklós Perényi. You can now add to that short list a fourth name: the young Russian cellist Boris Andrianov.

A protégé of Mstislav Rostropovich and Daniil Shafran, Andrianov tears into the Kodály work as if possessed, with enormous depth of tone, incredible accuracy, and complete command of the difficult-to-grasp, idiomatic writing. Without ever sounding labored or losing the fullness of his tone, Andrianov meets each and every one of the superhuman hurdles thrown at the performer like an Olympic athlete nailing his routines, and the result is just exhilarating. But there is a lot more to Andrianov’s playing than mere technical wizardry. This is a thoughtful and deeply affecting performance that disarms criticism and fully reveals the depths of this somber music, which Kodály composed in the midst of the First World War.

The remaining works on this recording are less interesting than the Kodály, but no one will probably care. The pieces by Russian composer Rodion Shchedrin and Italian composer Giovanni Sollima are virtuoso vehicles that allow Andrianov to continue to flex his virtuoso muscles. The dissonant and meditative Improvisation by Alfred Schnittke is a lot more interesting, but, like other works by this composer, it is difficult music to love. The Casals work is the most peaceful of the bunch and it provides a serene conclusion to Andrianov’s incredible tour de force.

The recorded sound is superlative and it does full justice to Andrianov’s enormous range and stunning Montagnana cello. There are times in the Kodály sonata where you can actually hear Andrianov grunt or gasp for air. To me, this merely humanizes the performance and serves as a reminder of the immense physical effort needed to conquer this towering work.

Put simply, this is one of the finest cello recordings I have ever heard. No serious music lover can afford to be without it.

FANFARE: Radu A. Lelutiu
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Works on This Recording

Russian Fragments by Rodion Shchedrin
Performer:  Boris Andrianov (Cello)
Written: 1990 
Venue:  Ochtrup-Welbergen, Alte Kirche 
Length: 8 Minutes 43 Secs. 
Alone by Giovanni Sollima
Performer:  Boris Andrianov (Cello)
Period: 20th Century 
Venue:  Ochtrup-Welbergen, Alte Kirche 
Length: 5 Minutes 48 Secs. 
Improvisation for Cello solo by Alfred Schnittke
Performer:  Boris Andrianov (Cello)
Period: 20th Century 
Venue:  Ochtrup-Welbergen, Alte Kirche 
Length: 6 Minutes 45 Secs. 
Sonata for Cello solo, Op. 8 by Zoltán Kodály
Performer:  Boris Andrianov (Cello)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1915; Hungary 
Venue:  Ochtrup-Welbergen, Alte Kirche 
Length: 28 Minutes 11 Secs. 
El cant del ocells by Pablo Casals
Performer:  Boris Andrianov (Cello)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1972 
Venue:  Ochtrup-Welbergen, Alte Kirche 
Length: 2 Minutes 58 Secs. 

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