Virtuoso Cello Concerto and Cello Sonatas by Myaskovsky
For the last ten years or so, there has been a gratifying renewal of interest in the eminent Russian composer Nikolai Myaskovsky, whose career spanned the late Romantic to early Modern periods. His creative legacy deserves far greater attention than is currently paid to him: Myaskovsky's music demonstrates the highest level of craftsmanship and explores a very unique realm of emotional and soulful experience.His Cello Concerto, Op. 66, was composed in the last three months of 1944.What prompted Myaskovsky to compose this work is not known, since the work was neither commissioned by a performer nor written for a specific artist. It was probably intended to contribute to the growing repertoire of instrumental concertos being created for the rising generation of young Soviet virtuosos. The two-movement concerto opens with a contemplative Lento ma non troppo in a modified sonata form, with a brief solo cadenza taking the place of the development. The prevailing autumnal melancholy mood is balanced by a passionate second theme in major. The ensuing Allegro vivace is shaped as a rondo, with two slow episodes complementing the energetic main theme with its lively triplets. After a brilliant cadenza, the movement reaches its climax when the material of the opening movement is resumed, then leads into a meditative coda. In addition, two virtuoso cello sonatas by Myaskovsky can be heard. The remaining pieces on this CD are by Myaskovsky's teachers at the St. Petersburg Conservatory - Nikolai Rimsky-Korssakoff, who taught him the art of orchestration, and Anatoly Lyadoff, with whom he studied harmony, counterpoint, and free composition.
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