Tim Homfray hears the concert at London’s Wigmore Hall on 21 June 2019
The two cello sonatas in this concert were written by pianists, and it shows. Pianist Alexander Melnikov, in residence at Wigmore Hall, played them very well indeed – as did cellist Alexander Rudin. They were good partners. In Chopin’s Sonata, Rudin caressed the opening melody, his sound plush but restrained. Against Rudin’s silken and gentle playing, Melnikov played Chopin’s flowing river of notes with lightness and colour. When the music became weighty, Melnikov remained balanced with the cello, in both volume and character. In the second movement Rudin sculpted Chopin’s melodies with lightness and rhythmic buoyancy. In the slow movement there was subtle simplicity, before an exuberant finale.
After the interval came Andrey Golovin’s Elegy, written in 1980, in which simple, plaintive phrases were worried away in different registers, with beautiful dark tones on lower strings. It is a melancholy soliloquy, beautifully played. Last came Rachmaninoff’s Cello Sonata, which is definitely a piece written by a pianist, and in which Melnikov excelled. Rudin was always thrilling, dynamic, expressive and unfailingly beautiful.