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This debut CD from the Hack sisters dazzles. Their intensity and bravura, sheer tightness of ensemble and rich tone colours carry the listener on a searching, thrilling journey.

Shostakovich’s D minor Cello Sonata (1934) and Daniel Shafran’s arrangement of his last work, the Viola Sonata written for Fyodor Druzhinin of the Beethoven Quartet (1975), make a compelling if stylistically disparate diptych. The lyrical sonata, from an emotionally fraught period in the composer’s life (he’d temporarily lefthis wife for a young translator), are unfolded near cinematically, its ideas and gestures shadowed and suspended in heightened narrative. Similarly the spiritually exacting quarter-of-an-hour finale of the Viola Sonata, with its Moonlight references and expanses of cello desolation. An epic reading.

Handsomely endorsing this German duo, Capuçon joins for an adaptation of one of Shostakovich’s sweet-tooth bon-bons arranged by Lev Atovmian – the Prelude from The Gadfly film score (1955). A tasteful, unsentimental performance. Genuin always produce, engineer and package classy recordings. Here, in the inviting acoustic of the Jesus-Christus-Kirche Dahlem, Berlin, they’ve captured something very special.

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