- Cello Concerto No. 1 in G minor, Op. 49
- Cello Concerto No. 2 in C major, Op. 77
- Improvisation for violin & piano (from the film Petersburg Night), Op. 21
- Rondo for violin & piano, Op. 69
Of the many works for the cello to emerge from the former Soviet Union, those of Dimitry Kabalevsky are likely the most often -- inappropriately -- neglected. The first of his two cello concertos, completed in 1949, was written as a student work though it is anything but juvenile. Kabalevsky's use of Russian folk tunes as the basis for his melodies creates an instant connection with listeners. The second concerto, which did not come about until 1964, is much more sophisticated and represents the composer's maturing musical style. Performing these two overlooked concertos is cellist Marina Tarasova joined by the Symphony Orchestra of Russia under Veronika Duderova. Tarasova possesses the quintessential Russian cello sound: robust, meaty, powerful, focused. These qualities transform the "First Concerto" from a student work into a driven, exciting experience. Her ability to sustain intensity through even the longest notes plays well with the "Second Concerto"; the two cadenzas that join the three movements are played with impeccable technique and intonation. Although this alto CD's recorded sound makes Tarasova seem somewhat distant, she is still able to power her away above the sometimes densely scored orchestral accompaniment. Listeners unfamiliar with these concertos could scarcely hope to find a more commanding, confident performance.