Russian Works

for Cello


The recordings made with the generous support of


the UK's leading independent engineering and consultancy company

Special thanks to Mr. Nigel Hirst

October 2003: New CD was released on the label Boheme Music in collaboration with The Boris Tchaikovsky Society.

It is new recordings made in 2001-2003 by prominent Russian cellist Alexander Rudin

The programme of the disc includes:

  • Boris Tchaikovsky - Sonata for Cello & Piano

  • Andrey Golovin (b. 1950) - Elegy for solo Cello

  • Petr Klimov (b. 1970) - Suite for solo Cello

  • Ksenia Prasolova (b. 1970) - Duet for Cello & Piano

  • Stanislav Prokudin (b. 1970) - Two Preludes for Cello & Piano

Please contact us if you are interested in this disc

The music of the five authors presented on the CD is united not so much by a general name of a style, so common in the twentieth century, as by a certain "ism". This music was written by representatives of different generations of composers. The dates of the pieces presented span nearly half a century from 1957 (the Sonata by Boris Tchaikovsky) to 2000 (the Suite by Petr Klimov). Despite the differences between the individual composers, their music shares a deep internal kinship. This kinship is seen in both the unquestionable dominance of the melodical source, and in the seriousness of the music's overall tone, which never takes on loquacious false depths. Uniting the musical pieces is, finally, the delicate, at times barely noticeable, but always true and inherent feeling of the music's national belonging. This feeling is a person's initial recognition of himself as a someone who speaks the language of Russian artistic culture, the language which one absorbs from infancy with the air of his country. While the piece can speak of faraway lands or the view from one's own window, the "breath of inspiration" amidst everyday chaos, of looking at clouds or of loneliness in an empty flat, the artist always makes it speak "in Russian".

Another characteristic of the music presented on this disc deserves attention. It is customary to believe that the twentieth century demanded that each composer be different from all the others. But what will this difference be? Will it consist of merely patenting new sound techniques, theoretical systems, or esthetical concepts? The compositions presented here go about being different in another way. The music's individual character comes from the author's personality, his ability to say something important about himself and the world in the most stingy and spiritual fashion. Poetry is a concept whose relationship to music is nearly forgotten in our days. But it is the poetry present in these works as the living mystery of personal worldview that makes the music of each composer truly inimitable. Closely following the unique characteristics of one's own poetic world allows the seemingly traditional use of language in these works to be free of cliche artistic images, and, because of this, the whole piece is free of ordinary musical thinking.

Andrey Golovin (1950) is a former student of the Moscow Conservatory. He graduated in 1976; his teacher was Evgeny Golubev, an outstanding composer, who, in his turn, was a student of N.Myaskovsky. Golovin's compositions include the opera "First Love", cantata "Plain Songs", four symphonies, Canto d'attesa for Violin and Orchestra, "Music for the Strings", other chamber and vocal compositions, and soundtracks to motion pictures. One of his strongest features, the unusually broad air of his music, brings to mind such composers as A.Glazunov or S.Rachmaninov. A.Golovin has a remarkable ability to build large-scale music constructions upon a short, expressive musical phrase. As a result of this natural and gradual movement of music, the initial image develops internally and goes, often unnoticed, through important stages of formation and reshaping, something reminiscent of seasons changing. The gradually accumulating energy bursts out in the climax part, when the initial music material undergoes the final quality changes, reshaping into something quite different. Captured by the illusion of being in the same emotional state, the listener is unaware until the end of the scale and importance of the way just completed. This all holds equally true for the Elegy for solo Cello, composed in 1980. The cello is interpreted here as a purely melodic instrument, while the consistency of natural C-sharp minor throughout the whole piece plays up the integrity of the Elegy.

The Duet for Cello and Piano was composed by Ksenia Prassolova in 1993. The title of the piece reflects the essence of the relationship between the two instruments a continuing dialog. While at the beginning the soloists' parts are highly individual, they grow closer together in the middle, with the piano's part becoming more and more cantilena-like, until they merge into a unison around the culmination. The Duet develops in a wave-like manner, from episode to episode. The music, very concentrated and diverse, undergoes a series of metamorphoses, reaching such a deep disruption in the culmination that one can call this piece a genuine instrumental drama.

Talking of Stanislav Prokudin, B.Tchaikovsky noted that his student had a talent for finding and hearing in his mind's ear the musical material for his future compositions. The melody's lively and unpredictable movement, now improvising, now freezing within a bright repeating tune, originality of harmonies, transparency of the texture are all characteristic of Prokudin's works, such as the Concerto for Piano and Orchestra, Concerto for Clarinet and Orchestra, Symphonietta for String Orchestra, Trio for Violin, Cello and Piano, Trio for Violin and Two Cellos, two Suites for piano, and many others. Among his best works are Two Preludes for Cello and Piano (1995), remarkable for a very unconventional approach to the relationship between the instruments in this type of an ensemble.

By the time he composed the Suite for solo Cello in 2000 Petr Klimov was already the author of a number of symphonic and chamber pieces: Concerto for Cello and Orchestra, Concertino for Piano and Chamber Orchestra, Trio for Violin, Viola and Cello, Sonata for Violin and Piano. In the Suite, the composer deliberately plays down the virtuoso capacities of the instrument and concentrated on the intonational expressiveness of the monophony and psychological authenticity and development of the artistic images born by the music. (Interestingly, there is not a single example of double notes in the whole piece). One can also note the original combination of explicit genre features (etude, scherzo) which prevent the music from being too monolog-like and permit free interpretation of the whole composition and its parts. The melodic narration is often not restricted by the boundaries of musical forms, but is more akin to the stream of consciousness and the change of emotional states of a poem.

Petr Klimov dedicated his Suite for Cello to its first performer, People's artist of Russia Alexander Rudin. This outstanding musician is a wonderfully subtle, enthusiastic and deep interpreter of the compositions on this disc. The clear and transparent sound of his cello, responsive to each and every nuance of the author's intention, melds inseparably with the music. The sound seems to peel off its physical shell to become a pure and essential meaning. A mysterious fleeting beauty of the timbre unites the different poetic worlds of the composers who contributed to this disc, allowing the pieces to heard as though performed in one breath.