Sonatas is the debut album by Alexander Warenberg and Giuseppe Guarrera with TRPTK. The album features the duo performing sonatas composed by Rachmaninov and Shostakovich for cello and piano.
The Sonata for Cello and Piano in D minor, Op. 40, was one of Dmitri Shostakovich's early works, composed in 1934 just prior to the censure by Soviet authorities of his music, notably the opera Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk, which was deemed too bourgeois and decadent for the Soviet people. It was also a period of emotional turmoil in his life, as he had fallen in love with a young student at a Leningrad festival featuring his Lady Macbeth. Their affair resulted in a brief divorce from his wife Nina, and it was in August, during their period of separation, that he wrote the cello sonata, completing it within a few weeks and giving its premiere in Moscow on 25 December with his close friend, the cellist Viktor Kubatsky, who was also the piece's dedicatee.
Sergei Rachmaninoff's Sonata in G minor for Cello and Piano, Op. 19 is being regarded as one of the most important cello pieces of the 20th century. It is also the last piece of chamber music that Rachmaninoff wrote. The sonata belongs to the first compositions that came after a depressing and non productive period in Rachmaninoff's life, caused by great criticism over his first symphony. In 1900 he had finally gained enough confidence to continue composing, resulting in his famous 2nd piano concert and the sonata for cello and piano.
TRPTK describes the recording process for Sonatas
"Quite some time ago, we met up with young Russian-Dutch cellist Alexander Warenberg, back when we were based at our old studio in Baarn. We planned on making a recording together for a long while, when after a long while, we got back in touch with some concrete plans. Together with master pianist Giuseppe Guarrera from Italy, he wanted to record both Shostakovich’ and Rachmaninoff cello sonatas. And so we did.
For our location, we chose the beautiful small hall of the Muziekgebouw Eindhoven, in the south of the country. And take “small” with a grain of salt – it’s really not that small – and the reverb, although dryer than you’d expect from a room this size, is lush and beautiful. In the hall stands a magnificent Steinway Model D concert grand on which Giuseppe played. Alexander plays on an 1845 Jean-Baptiste Vuillaume cello, courtesy of the Dutch Musical Instruments Foundation.
The recording setup for this album was quite simple, just a main pair of three Sonodore RCM-402 in our Optimized Omnidirectional Array. This was supplemented with a Sonodore MPM-81 Tube microphone on the cello, for this extra bit of kick and definition in the balance. Without it, the piano sometimes easily overrules the cello, in which case you can fade up the spot microphone a little bit to retain detailing in the sound.
The microphones go through custom Furutech 4-pin XLR cables to the power supply, which feed into our Merging Technologies HAPI converters at 352.8 kHz. We recorded in Pyramix by Merging Technologies, as for all our albums."