on 11 July 2004
I've been trying to track down an affordable first-rate recording of Shostakovich's Viola sonata, written from his hospital bed shortly before his death, for some time now. And this certainly doesn't disappoint. Along with the 5th symphony I consider this to be the very best of Shostakovich's compositions (but let's face it, he was a true musical genius and most of what he wrote was pretty incredible) and this recording does it full justice. Bartholdy's arrangement of the Cello Sonata for Viola is good, although I'd rather listen to the original Cello, but her performance of the Viola Sonata is amazing and touches the very soul. If you don't like the music of Shostakovich, this won't be for you. But if you are an admirer of his, and particularly his string quartets and other chamber music, then do not hesitate. Buy this now! Words cannot describe the pain and beauty that it unfolds.
on 13 March 2015
Bartholdy brandishes an exquisite sensitivity in these pieces, her playing draws you in and only on the very darkest moment of the Cello sonata do I feel that she does not quite wrench the last drops of blood from her instrument, which momentarily also detaches the pianist who otherwise delivers an unfaltering performance which brings to mind to me the playing style of the great Tatiana Nikoleyeva. The recording quality is excellent (9.7/10) though does not quite place the listener in the lap of Bartholdy which is where I would need to be to deliver a 10/10.