Cello Sonata No.2 in G Major, Op.39
Rubinstein's Second Cello Sonata dates from 1857 and must also be considered a relatively early work, written at a time when Mendelssohn was still Rubinstein's model. It four movements, it begins with a march-like Allegro which has a more lyrical theme for its second subject. Next comes a heavily accented Scherzo which recalls, in part, Beethoven's Second Rasumovsky Quartet. There is a finely contrasting trio. The third movement is a broad and expressive Andante, at times dark and agitated. In really is only in the brilliant and passionate finale, Moderato, we hear the influence of Mendelssohn.
Anton Rubinstein (1829-1894) was one of the great piano virtuosi of the 19th century with a technique said to rival that of Liszt. He also gained renown as a composer and conductor. Rubinstein was one of those rare concert virtuosi whose contribution to music went far beyond performing. In 1862, he founded the St. Petersburg Conservatory and served as its first director. His efforts in developing Russian musical talent were perhaps the greatest of any single individual. Not only did he introduce European educational methods but he also established standards that were as rigorous as any conservatory in Europe. Rubinstein was a prolific composer writing in nearly every genre. Chamber music figures prominently amongst his works. He wrote 10 string quartets, at least 5 piano trios, a string quintet and a string sextet as well as several instrumental sonatas.