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Russian Soul - CC1008

"Russian Soul"

Daniil Shafran


Daniil Shafran ventured outside Russia rarely during his long career, but became a cult figure to his admirers. His recorded legacy is rich, as demonstrated by this compilation, chosen by the artist's devoted admirer, Steven Isserlis. Shafran's première recording of the 2nd Kabalevsky Concerto,of which he was the dedicatee, is coupled with a live performance of Prokofiev's Sinfonia Concertante, a legendary performance here issued for the first time on CD.  An attractive, but rarely heard, suite of  5 Pieces written for Shafran by the Georgian composer Tsintsadze complete this collection by one of the great cellists of the 20th century.

  • Kabalevsky - 2nd cello concerto, op.77
  • Prokofiev - Sinfonia Concertante, op.125
  • Tsintsadze - Five Pieces on Folk Themes

"Daniil Shafran (1923 - 1997) was a staggering player, whose agility - witness his near impossible feats of virtuoso athleticism in the central Allegro Giusto of the Prokofiev - was positively violinistic in its fearless velocity. This, combined with a musical intensity and independence of thought, resulted in performances of breathtaking authority and interpretative near-meltdown. If Shafran's white-hot reading of Prokofiev comfortably survives comparison with Rostropovich's two commercial accounts, his Kabalevsky (of which he was the dedicatee) is finer still - a fitting companion to his classic première recording of the first Concerto on Revelation, also with the composer conducting. Sulkhan Tsintsadze (1925 -1992) was from 1944, the cellist in the State Quartet of Georgia for which much of his earliest music was written. Typically for composers of this region, Tsintsadze tended towards long-breathed, Oriental-style melodies (Eastern European rather than Asian) with a well-developed ear for rhythm and instrumental colour. Shafran's performance works wonders in making music of less than top-drawer quality sound like a million dollars, despite a touch of distortion in the high-kicking Finale. The orchestra items demonstrate no such problems and have been most skilfully transferred. There are excellent annotations from Andrew Stewart."
Julian Haylock   International Record Review   August 2002

"Cello Classics, a specialist label masterminded by the London Mozart Players¹ principal cellist Sebastian Comberti, has exhumed three incredible performances for this Shafran tribute. This collection opens with a live 1961 Moscow Conservatory recording of Prokofiev¹s Sinfonia Concertante, under Rozhdestvensky. The performance is nothing less than electrifying, with Shafran¹s inflammatory virtuosity gripping from first note to last. Mandatory listening for cellists everywhere."
Performances: OUTSTANDING   Sound ***
Michael Jameson   BBC Music magazine August 2002