Shostakovich – Complete Works for Cello

On this superbly recorded two-CD set, cellist Raphael Wallfisch, pianist John York, conductor Martyn Brabbins, and the BBC Symphony Orchestra make the strongest possible case for the worth of the Moderato and Adagio; indeed, Wallfisch all by himself makes the strongest possible case for the worth of Shostakovich’s complete cello works. Always an extremely expressive cellist with a big tone, a fabulous technique, and a winning interpretation, Wallfisch gives better than his best with playing of consummate musicianship and interpretations of immense depth and tremendous compassion. Wallfisch seems to do more than perform the music here; he appears to inhabit it, to incarnate it in interpretations of emphatic understanding. Conductor Brabbins is a sympathetic accompanist and he leads the BBC through performances of blazing intensity. Pianist York is a powerful partner and he drives as much as he supports Wallfisch. Taken all together, most listeners would probably agree that, at least in these performances, all six works constitute Shostakovich’s complete cello works. Nimbus’ sound is exemplary: clear, close, and direct in the cello and piano works and big, clean, and vivid in the cello and orchestra works.