Sonatas for cello and piano

2017

We know that our seafaring ancestors cultivated a strong tradition of singing. And Russian singing, especially in a religious context, is a renowned hallmark of the country’s rich culture. Both composers featured on this album were partial to the human voice.
Many regard the cello as one of the instruments best able to reproduce the human voice. It is tempting to presume that both Rachmaninoff and Shostakovich were motivated by the cello’s matchless range of expression when each wrote his powerful sonata — and, mind you, with the piano as wholly equal partner. Each was considered one of the most outstanding piano virtuososof his generation and knew his instrument through and through.
Shostakovich’s cello sonata (opus 40) was his first instrumental sonata. Rachmaninoff’s (opus 19), on the other hand, was his last in this genre and his last chamber music work altogether. The sonata was overshadowed by the immense success of his second piano concerto, which had been premiered only one month earlier. We find many musical similarities between the two works. Following this glittering period, Rachmaninoff devoted himself to pure piano music, and to larger works for choir or orchestra.
We hope that the Russian sonatas — in Norwegian renderings — can show that the human spirit transcends cultural and national boundaries. All that remains is to listen. Perhaps we may perceive the sounds of our ancestors singing together. In music — humanity’s home — we all share the same mother tongue.

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«Musikken er så genialt skrevet, at en nesten kan høre livet puste gjennom tonene. [...] Men slikt krever selvsagt utøvere som matcher de to komponistenes skriverier. Duoen Sandvik / Bjelland er en nettopp en slik duo - som klarer å formidle de innerste følelser og musikalske tanker bak denne musikken ut gjennom et par høyttalere. Joda - her legges det for dagen virtuositet, teknisk briljans og stor musikalsk innsikt.»
Trond Erikson – Den klassiske CD-bloggen, 21.11.17 http://klassiskcd.blogspot.no/2017/11/den-russiske-celloen.html

«Cello and piano are equal partners on this disc, and both players find an admirable delicacy. Compelling interpretations of 20th-century Russian cello classics.»
FP – BBC Music Magazine, januar 2018 review_LWC1131_BBC_music_Magacine.pdf

«This recording with the Sonata for cello and piano, op. 19, by Rakhmaninov and the Sonata for cello and piano, op. 40, of Shostakovich is the perfect setting for Sandvik and Bjelland. The two musicians have learned to extract the Russian musical spirit with all the resources at their disposal.»
Carme Miró – Sonograma Magazine, 29.11.17 review_LWC1131_sonograma_magazine.pdf

«Rachmaninov’s as well as Shostakovich’s cello sonatas are most representative works for the Russian chamber music of the first half of the 20th century. Both compositions express deep feelings. The Norwegian performers present powerful and genuine interpretations for both works, emphasizing the lyrical character of the sonatas.»
Uwe Krusch – Pizzicato, 10.01.18 https://www.pizzicato.lu/inspirierende-nachbarschaft/

«[...] recommended to all Rachmaninoff fans, and fans of cello music in general are likely to get their money's worth.»
Dr. Uta Swora – klassik.com, 15.02.18 review_LWC1131_klassik.com.pdf

«These are two of the greatest cello pieces, and they are played here with polish and passion.»
D Moore – American Record Guide, april 2018 review_LWC1131_AmericanRecordGuide.pdf

review_LWC1131_remusica.pdf

«Dette er herlig musikk. Velklingende og sterkt sangbar. Det er musikk som kryper innpå deg og forblir der. Den påkaller de myke sidene hos oss og kan faktisk oppleves litt sakralt. [...] Skaff deg denne skiva!»
Kjell Moe – Kulturspeilet, 29.09.17 http://www.kulturspeilet.no/sangbar-cello/

En ypperlig duo
«Audun Sandvik og Sveinung Bjelland (fra Stavanger) viser seg på denne nye cd-en som en fremragende duo. [...] Særlig Rachmaninovs cellosonate er undervurdert og ganske oversett, stilt i skyggen av komponistens klaverkonserter, klaverstykker og noen av symfoniene. Det har Sandvik/Bjelland nå virkelig rettet på.»
Arnfinn Bø-Rygg – Stavanger Aftenblad, 17.10.17  anmeldelse_LWC1131_stavanger_aftenblad.pdf

Songleg cellospel
«På kvar sin måte er dei spesielt russiske, dei to sonatane som her er spela inn [...] Spesielt effektfulle er stadene der celloen målber melodien, slik tilfellet er om lag eitt minutt ut i fyrstesatsen, der Sandvik verkeleg får celloen sin til å syngja.»
Sjur Haga Bringeland – Dag og tid, 20.10.17 anmeldelse_LWC1131_dagogtid.pdf

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