Nikolai Miaskovsky, Cello Concerto Op. 66, Cello Sonatas
Ovidiu Marinescu (cello), Kenneth Boulton (piano), Russian Philharmonic Orchestra, Konstantin Krmets (conductor)
Born on April 20, 1881, Nikolai Jakovlevich Miaskovsky was the son of an officer in the Russian army. Following the family tradition, Nikolai enrolled in military school, but in 1906 he resigned from the army to pursue music studies at the St. Petersburg Conservatory. His works are rooted in the Russian tradition, favoring classical discipline and expressive harmonies, and they incorporate occasional folk material.
Written in 1944-45, the Cello Concerto in C minor is one of Miaskovsky's late works. The first movement is characterized by a noble, albeit melancholic spirit, evoking a serene mood uncorrupted by the horrors of the war. Miaskovsky received the Stalin Prize for his Cello Concerto. The Sonata for Cello and Piano no. 1, is a work that exploits the lyrical qualities of the cello, and the melodies evoke at moments the sound of the Russian singers. The Sonata for Cello and Piano no. 2 is considered by many as one of Miaskovsky's most impressive works. The three movements tell different stories, all beautifully clothed in a tonal language, with melodies inspired by the Russian folk music. The sonata is dedicated to Mstislav Rostropovich, who gave its first performance in Moscow in 1951.