Music Appreciation

《Sonata for Cello and Piano in G Minor, Op. 19, Mov. 3》

Sergei Rachmaninoff (1873-1943)

Antonio Stradivari "Pawle",Vc (1730)
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Rachmaninoff composed his only sonata for cello and piano in 1901. Not only is it one of his finest works, it is also one of the most outstanding cello sonatas ever written by any composer. This piece was written shortly after Rachmaninoff’s very successful Second Piano Sonata in C Minor, when he was at the peak of his creative powers. Every movement of this sonata strongly reflects the composer’s intense, brooding personality. As Rachmaninoff himself was an outstanding pianist, all of his works give full play to the potential of the piano, but this does not mean that the expressive capabilities of the cello are overlooked. This cello sonata is full of dramatic tension. The natural flow of the melody and the rich harmonies fully demonstrate the maturity in his music. Rachmaninoff dedicated the Sonata in G Minor to his friend, the great cellist Anatoly Brandukov (1856- –-1930) , with whom he gave the first performance in Moscow in 1901. All four movements of this sonata are in the classical style. The first movement is in conventional sonata form, with a melancholy prelude that is followed by a wild, expressive allegro segment. The second movement is a bold, onrushing scherzo, while the third movement is andante, with a long melody line, and a slightly nostalgic emotion; the fourth movement is an exultant rondo that returns to the main theme with a glorious flourish. The third movement of this section is chosen for recording with its beautiful, infectious melody, making it one of the best-loved of Rachmaninoff’s works.