RACHMANINOV; PROKOFIEV Cello Sonatas
Johannes Moser is palpably a gifted cellist, lending his warm tone to two very different Russian sonatas. I was momentarily thrown by the opening of the Prokofiev Sonata, which is slightly sour, tuning-wise, and this is occasionally an issue elsewhere. But there is also much to applaud. The mock-martial demeanour of the second movement, with its sonorous pizzicatos, is vividly wrought by Moser and Korobeinikov – more subversive than Müller-Schott and Piemontesi – and they relish the contrast between this and the languorous bowed theme. If it is the latter duo who find more light and shade in the opening Andante grave, in the finale, by contrast, I very much like infectious busyness of this new set; by comparison Müller-Schott and Piemontesi are perhaps a little too lithe and streamlined.
Moser and Korobeinikov’s Rachmaninov Sonata has a keen sense of drama and line that never gets obscured despite the piece’s manifold technical challenges. They have to contend with some big-name comparisons, however, not least the recent Weilerstein and Barnatan that so impressed my colleague Hannah Nepil. For white-hot reactivity these two are hard to beat, and Moser doesn’t quite scale the same emotional heights. Nor does Korobeinikov boast the range of colours that Hough finds for Isserlis in the songful Andante. And while the finale of this new set has both impetus and passion, again Weilerstein and Barnatan are more febrile still.
By way of extras, we get from Moser and Korobeinikov a beautifully fresh-sounding Rachmaninov Vocalise (almost as moving as Weilerstein), an ardent account of the Adagio from Prokofiev’s Cinderella and two minutes of pure pleasure in their borrowing of Scriabin’s teenage Romance, originally for horn and piano. A nicely recorded balance too.