Alex Chaushian has been around and about the London music scene for quite some time as a teacher, chamber musician and soloist. He was in Freddy Kempf's Trio, playing in some fine recordings they made for BIS. Alex and Yevgeny Subdin recently made another duo CD of Weinberg's Cello Sonatas, and are regular duo partners.
This terrific CD of the best known Russian Cello sonatas, by Rachmaninov and Shostakovich includes a surprise in the shape of Borodin's Cello Sonata. Intriguingly built from a fragment of Bach's Solo violin sonata number 1 (the fugue subject), its splendid piece, with moments of beguiling lyricism and plenty of propelling energy.
Chaushian is a subtle player, with impeccable intonation, a singing tone that's never strangled by intrusive vibrato. His slight emotional reticence in the Rachmaninov makes it a fresh experience, a classically minded account with a clear sense of direction and structure given to the music. Sudbin's partnership is thrilling yet never hogs the limelight.
The Borodin romps and sings and you'd hope, a hugely compelling performance of an unfamiliar work. The Shostakovich is a difficult work to pin down: the neoclassical elements, the lack of biting satire might some as a shock. But another performance of total conviction from Sudbin and Chaushian crowns this top-drawer recital of Russian classics.
As ever with BIS the recording is superbly balanced.