Cellist Jonah Kim and pianist Sean Kennard perform two cello sonatas from distinctly opposite ends of the Romantic movement: The Russian composer Rachmaninoff (1873-1943) created his Sonata in G Minor, Op. 19 in 1901. Its four mvmts are a traditional scheme. The first mvmt, Lento – Allegro Moderato, is passionate and melodious, though it lacks a formal recapitulation. The second mvmt, Allegro scherzando, is impishly playful, in 12/8 time, with a luxurious, secondary theme in 4/4. The music indulges in potent accents for both instruments. The solo piano opens the third mvmt, a slow Andante in 4/4. This music is built in long phrases that rise to an impressive climax. The last mvmt, Allegro mosso, is both jubilant and virtuosic, a rondo that develops several, simultaneous melodic lines of, with frequent changes in tempo. The last pages, Vivace, conclude with a grand sense of dramatic effect.|
American composer Samuel Barber (1910-1981) wrote his Cello Sonata in C Minor, Op. 6 in 1932, while a student at the Curtis Institute in Philadelphia. Despite the writing’s modernity, its changes in key, and angular melodies, Barber’s model was the German composer, Johannes Brahms. The first mvmt, Allegro ma non troppo, uses leaping figures (often a minor 6th) as a unifying device. Barber often presents the cello in its rich, low register for dramatic and melodic effect. He combines his fast and slow mvmts into one entity, Adagio; Presto; di nuovo Adagio, and the result is a study in great contrasts. He saves his fireworks for the last mvmt, Allegro appassionato. The solo piano begins with a melody over a low bass, while the cello drifts dreamily in themes it played earlier in the sonata. The challenge in this mvmt lies in the cross-rhythms and sudden tempo shifts the two principals must execute in coordinated gestures.