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Arts Blog

Pianists who wrote for cello: Alisa Weilerstein plays Rachmaninov and Chopin

Frederic Chopin and Sergei Rachmaninov were composers, sure. However, both stand as among the greatest of pianists of their respective eras (early 19th century / early-to-mid 20th century). While much of each composers’ repertoire is for solo piano, as well as a few concertos, each wrote wonderful music for the cello. Both composers put the cello on an equal footing with the piano, and both wrote large-and-small scale compositions for cello: a four-movement sonata, and some melodious shorter works.

American cellist Alisa Weilerstein, in my recorded conversation, shares the story of the cello’s history with the piano, and with her longstanding professional partnership with pianist Inon Barnatan (Oregon Symphony fans will remember Barnatan’s 2013 performance). This is their debut recording, but the sense of communication between the two musicians is very apparent throughout, and their years-long collaboration has yielded results that invite repeated hearings. We’re currently playing all of the selections in our regular programming on All Classical Portland; here you’ll get the background on the music and these two artists.

Chopin, Rachmaninov Cello Sonatas
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