Cello Sonata in d minor, Op.2
Nikolai Potolovsky (1878-1927) was born in Moscow where he studied cello and composition at the Moscow School of Music and Drama where he later taught. He composed in many genres and this cello sonata is numbered among his more important works.
The Sonata for Cello and Piano in d minor was composed in 1905 and is in three movements. In many respects, it has the aura of a concerto in that its writing contains many virtuosic episodes, especially in its use of rhythms. But these are only made more impressive because of the basically lyrical and singing nature of the writing. In the dramatic opening movement, Allegro impetuoso, one immediately finds this quality as the cello introduces the main theme in its lowest registers, though gradually climbing to its higher. Lyricism is at the forefront. The middle movement, a Largo, begins as a delicate and very romantic song without words, however, the middle section is a violent torrent of passion and power. The finale, Allegro risoluto, begins in a serious, somewhat plodding fashion and one would not guess that it would soon become lighter and even playful, but there are many different moods very effectively juxtaposed to be found here.
This is a major work of the first order which should have taken its place in the standard repertoire and no doubt would have, had the Russian Revolution not shoved it and many other first rate Russian works into oblivion. We heartily recommend it to professionals and amateurs alike.