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Penguin Guide, January 2009

The Cello Sonata is a relatively early work, dating from 1934, but the Shostakovich idiom is already clearly established, not only in the sharply rhythmic writing of the fast movement, but also in the darkness and hushed intensity of the third-movement Largo, beautifully brought out by the cellist Dmitri Yablonsky. The Violin Sonata dates from much later in the composer’s career (1968), a work inspired by David Oistrakh and written when Shostakovich finished the concerto designed for Oistrakh earlier than he expected. It is a masterly work, ending with the last of the Passacaglias which he wrote, an extended, spare and dark piece evoking a mood of disquieting calm in music of high contrasts. Again the performance is masterly, spare and dark piece evoking a mood of disquieting calm in music of high contrasts. Again the performance is masterly, with Maxim Fedotov as violinist. The first of the two concertante pieces taken from the music to The Gadfly is one of his most popular, a haunting melody, here just as effective on the cello as in the original version with violin.

American Record Guide, April 2007

This is the first time I've heard Shostakovich's Cello Sonata. It is an early work, recognizably by Shostakovich but lacking the angst and bitterness that would enter into his compositions after his first condemnation on charges of "formalism" in 1936. The sonata is of an overall sunny disposition and a bit conservative. Dmitri Yablonsky and Ekaterina Saranceva play with good balance and sound very familiar with the work. A very convincing reading.

The Violin Sonata is from a different world. Written in 1968 as a 60th birthday present for David Oistrakh, it is harrowing and even imitates the sound of an ambulance siren (the composer had suffered a heart attack recently, Maxim Fedotov and Galina Petrova deal very well with the more dramatic sections. This is a fine reading.

I had never heard the Romance or Nocturne before. They are arranged here for cello and orchestra and derive from the score Shostakovich wrote for the film The Gadfly in I. If I hadn't been told this music was by Shostakovich, I wouldn't have believed it. It sounds solidly romantic and ridiculously bourge. And it was written for a film about a 19th century Italian freedom fighter! That's what you get when you put ideologues and bureaucrats in charge of art.

Andrew Fraser
Limelight, March 2007

Yablonsky and Saranceva play with assurance and control…The disc is rounded out by a pair of pretty transcriptions for cellos of music from The Gadfly.

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