- Sonata for cello & piano in D minor, Op. 40
- Sonata for violin & piano, Op. 134
- The Gadfly, film score, Op. 97: Romance for cello and orchestra
- The Gadfly, film score, Op. 97: Nocturne for cello and orchestra
Three out of the four pieces on this all-Shostakovich disc feature the artistry of Dmitry Yablonsky either as a cellist, a conductor, an arranger, or all three -- and one of them has nothing whatsoever to do with Yablonsky. If you think that sounds like an unlikely program, you're right. If you think that sounds like an unbalanced program, you're right again. But if you think that sounds like an unsuccessful program, you're wrong. It's unbalanced because there's more cello than violin. It's unlikely because there are two chamber works and two orchestral works. But it's successful because all the works were written by Shostakovich -- and all the performances are first rate. Yablonsky's performance of the "Cello Sonata" with pianist Ekaterina Saranceva is big boned and heavy muscled with plenty of heart-on-the-sleeve lyricism. Yablonsky's performances of his own transcription of the Romance and the Nocturne from "The Gadfly" with the Russian National Orchestra under his own direction are quite sensuous and very sentimental with lots of juice in the tone. Violinist Maxim Fedotov's performance of the "Violin Sonata" with pianist Galina Petrova is even juicier, with plenty of energy and tremendous depth of tone. Although longtime Shostakovich fans will undoubtedly have their longtime favorite performances of the works -- the Rostropovich "Cello Sonata" and the Oistrakh "Violin Sonata" are probably at the top of most folks' lists -- these strong and vital performances are still well worth hearing. Naxos' Moscow digital sound is honest but often not particularly pretty.