A majority of well-known composers have written at least a few chamber compositions in their entire lifetime. The most famous would have to be Mozart, Beethoven, Brahms, and probably Prokofiev. Some, including Respighi and Vaughan Williams, are overlooked or even rejected in today's society. Whether it's because of lack of originality or excessive complexities, these sorts of compositions are always left in the dark. Take Rachmaninov's Cello Sonata, for instance. This 35-minute work doesn't receive the complete recognition it deserves. It's overshadowed by the composer's piano concertos and symphonies, all of which are respectfully first-rate works in their own right. Maybe it has to do with its supposed simplicity, but the Cello Sonata is what makes Rachmaninov Rachmaninov. It's a classic example of Slavic classical music. Its exotic melodies and purely Romantic technicalities are what makes it an almost divine experience. The first notes of the Sonata instantly brings you in for what sounds like an underrated masterpiece. Rachmaninov put a lot of heart and soul in this composition, and it shows.
Michael Grebanier (cellist) and Janet Guggenheim (pianist) give very nice performances. Even if they aren't entirely emotional throughout the piece, they do concentrate on technical aspects more, relying on proper structures more than overly dramatic emotion (which will be fine for some). The sound quality from Naxos is spot-on, and don't let the budget price fool you. This is a worthy addition to anyone's classical music library.
Grade: 9.7 out of 10