SCHNITTKE Cello Sonata No. 11. Suite in the Old Style1. Madrigal in Memoriam Oleg Kagan. Musica Nostalgica1.
ELSCHENBROICH Shards of Alfred Schnittke1
Leonard Elschenbroich (vc); 1Petr Limonov (pn)
ONYX 410 (60:00)
Is Schnittke’s music really nostalgic? I ask because Leonard Elschenbroich has entitled his new CD Musica Nostalgica, and the idea permeates his every interpretation. Admittedly, the title comes from one of Schnittke’s own works, which is included, but in general, the composer’s attitude to the past seems more complex than simply a lost Utopia. Elschenbroich explains in his liner note that the Russian equivalent, nostalghia, “is a feeling more painful, more severe, regarded with respectful fear.” That translates, in these readings, as a deep expressive intensity, which works well for all the chosen works. Some interpretive decisions are open to question, but the coherence and commitment that characterizes Elschenbroich’s Schnittke are not, and the results are stimulating and emotionally engaging throughout.