VICTORIA YAGLING (1946-2011): Cello Sonatas Nos. 2-4, Larghetto, Siciliana, Vocalise.

Catalogue Number: 06U065

Label: Dux

Reference: 1528

Format: CD

Price: $18.98

Description: Yagling was a high profile cellist in the Soviet Union; a Rostropovich student, successful in many competitions and with a stellar performing career. This overshadowed her composition, though she was a Kabalevsky pupil whose works were in fact performed and recorded, especially in her own hands. The 2nd Sonata is a fine specimen of fairly standard Soviet fare, tonal like all the works here, significantly indebted to Shostakovich (first movement), and Prokofiev (the second), though not without the composer’s own individual touch. The 3rd Sonata, also in two movements, dedicated to Prokofiev's memory, is significantly more original, notwithstanding some gestures that recall the older composer. The work, consisting of a fast movement followed by a faster one, is tense and frenetically active, though a slow section in the presto provides an oasis of welcome lyrical relief. The motoric, Prokofiev-like fast material soon returns, though, and the work ends in a grandiose peroration. The 4th Sonata, written after Yagling's emigration to Finland, is by far the largest and most original work here. In four movements, it is a work of greater depth, less angst-ridden and tense than the earlier sonatas. This is not to say that the depths cannot be turbulent, nor that the work’s rich, dark colors suggest anything other than a work of serious intent. The work takes time to breathe, and develop its material, as though expanding into the vast Finnish landscapes that the composer loved. The philosophically reflective first movement is followed by a buoyant, airborne scherzo and then a profoundly thoughtful slow movement, monumentally passionate but restrained in its expression. The finale bursts free in an explosion of energy in an irrepressible cascading toccata; even here, though, the music sounds enthusiastic and exuberant, not harried as in the early sonatas. The shorter works emphasise the composer’s lyrical gift; Larghetto recalls Rachmaninov's Vocalise even more than the piece that shares its title. The Siciliana suddenly gives way to a jazzy central section that may leave the listener wondering 'where on earth did that come from?'; this kind of thing was apparently not typical of the composer, although it is somewhat echoed in the energetic first movement of the Third Sonata. Krzysztof Karpeta (cello), Michał Rot (piano).

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