This two CD set showcases some of the lesser known writing of Prokoviev, Rachmaninov and Shostakovich, and as one would expect, is quintessentially Russian in feel and sentiment. There is passion and fire here; Harrell and Ashkenazy show a feeling and empathy for the music based on deep understanding. The two protagonists complement each other perfectly, alternately reflective and mutually deferential, yet again each driving the other to pyrotechnic dispays of virtuosity and emotion. The recording quality is first class, the playing top drawer. There may well be better recordings of individual pieces out there, but all taken in all, this is a great opportunity to hear some of the best 20th century writing for cello and piano, by players at the top of their game.
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