The Strad Issue: January 2008
Musicians: Karine Georgian (cello) Jeremy Young (piano)
Composer: Britten, Shostakovich
Karine Georgian is an established cellist and pedagogue who, on the evidence of this release, deserves a wider audience. These three works – all written for her teacher Rostropovich – are given persuasive readings, although the recording is miked rather closely thereby reducing the dynamic range of the playing
Britten’s Sonata, brilliantly written for the cello, deserves more frequent airings in the concert hall. It deploys a wide variety of techniques and the musical fabric is closely worked, making for a compelling narrative. This well-rehearsed pair of players is eloquent and lyrical in the Elegy and is equally persuasive in the brittle Marcia, as well as offering an exciting and high-voltage interpretation of the Saltando-clad Moto perpetuo.
By comparison, Shostakovich’s Sonata is no stranger to the limelight, and is much recorded. Yet this account is unmannered, with adherence to the text of paramount concern. These artists give a particularly strikingly and vibrant performance: energetic and full of bravura in the Scherzo and melancholically lyrical in the Largo. The finale is particularly brilliant, savouring the vintage Shostakovich wit and irony. Although the close recording makes the piano timbre a little harsh at times, the reading is sufficiently mercurial to overcome this obstacle.
Georgian has recorded other works for solo cello, most notably the Kodály Solo Sonata, and it’s clearly a genre that suits her formidable cellistic prowess. Once again maintaining a faithful observation of the text, she delivers a perceptive account of Britten’s Third Suite, eloquently highlighting the motivic threads that unite the movements and projecting the music with strength and conviction.