Steven Isserlis and Olli Mustonen play Shostakovich’s Cello Sonata in D Minor – deemed as ‘the most popular cello sonata of the twentieth century’ - alongside two other Russian masterpieces, from pre-revolutionary Prokofiev to Kabalevsky in the Khrushchev era.
Isserlis and his long-term colleague Olli Mustonen make a compelling case for Kabalevsky’s Cello Sonata, finding such expressive drama that for once I was not distracted by the Sonata’s obvious cribs from Shostakovich and Debussy…Isserlis and Mustonen are themselves extraordinary musicians, and both clearly believe in the music they are performing. BBC ****
Isserlis and Mustonen make a strong case for [the Kabalevsky] in a performance of grand gestures that proves a real roller coaster ride. Isserlis’s intensity and Mustonen’s pianistic weight suit the piece wonderfully well...The Shostakovich Sonata, in contrast, seems spacious and ruminative, particularly when placed beside Rostropovich’s performances with Britten at Aldeburgh...The shorter pieces are also superbly done. Gramophone