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Veit Hertenstein has recorded Shostakovich’s Viola Sonata op. 147 and the Cello Sonata op. 40 in his own arrangement for viola

From the young viola player Veit Hertenstein came the saying, “Violin is good, viola is better!”

Born in Augsburg, he conquered the concert stages of the world with his viola, of which he must surely be aware. Trained as a violinist to the age of 15 but, on the advice of his teacher, switched to the viola, which in his opinion suited him better. “I simply love this dark tone, which can radiate so much warmth and allows you to play so many different timbres,” says Veit Hertenstein, whose preference is for Russian music, particularly Sergei Prokofiev and Dmitri Shostakovich. 

On his new CD featuring exclusively Shostakovich’s chamber music, Hertenstein himself has become an arranger. Without further ado, he turned Shostakovich’s 1934 Sonata for Violoncello and Piano op. 40 into a viola sonata, which in this recording he directly juxtaposes with the Korean pianist Minze Kim and the Russian’s original piece, the legendary late work Sonata for Viola and Piano op. 147. 

Although the early work is still completely fulfilled, especially in the first movement of Russian Melos, the cello sonata reveals the typical characteristics of Shostakovich's “merciless deformation and irreversible de-animation of the main theme”, as musicologist Claus-Christian Schuster once put it.

The cello sonata also shows traces of a lament, as so impressively defined by Shostakovich's work completed just before his death, the Viola sonata op. 147. Shostakovich himself never actually heard the late Viola Sonata op. 147 for on 9 August 1975, a few weeks before the premiere (1975), he passed away.

Dmitri Shostakovich:
Sonata for violoncello and piano in D minor op. 40 in an arrangement for viola and piano (Arrangement of the viola part: Veit Hertenstein)
Sonata for viola and piano op. 147
Veit Hertenstein (viola), Minze Kim (piano)
hänssler Classic CD HC20011

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