Saint-Saens / Favalessa / Semeraro - Cello Sonatas | RECORD STORE DAY

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Prior to the turn of the 20th century, Camille Saint-Saens enriched the cello repertoire with two important compositions: his Cello Concerto No.1 in A minor (Op.33) and his Cello Sonata No.1 in C minor (Op.32). The first Cello Sonata was composed in the autumn of 1872, and it's first public performance - with J. Reuschel on cello and the composer at the piano - was given on 26 March 1873 at the Salle Érard in Paris. The work is divided into three movements: the first and third have a tragic character, while the second offers an oasis of quiet serenity. The work opens with a dramatic Allegro in sonata form. The second movement stems from an organ improvisation performed by Saint-Saëns at Saint-Augustin. The final movement takes up the tumultuous and agitated character of the first and ends in an unrelenting race. Some 30 years separate the Cello Sonata No.2 in F (Op.123) from it's predecessor. The fruit of laborious work, it was completed in early 1905. The Sonata is structured in four movements, the first in sonata form with contrasting heroic and lyrical characters throughout. The second movement is a Scherzo with eight variations, each with it's own identity while maintaining a link to the theme, one of them in the form of a fugue. The third movement is, in Saint-Saëns' words, 'a romance that will delight cellists', and he wrote of it's concluding section, 'the Adagio will bring tears to sensitive souls'. The sonata ends with a playful, light Rondo in which both piano and cello engage in technical virtuosity and imitative games.