The first name you might think of on seeing the cover of this album is that of Rostropovich, for whom Shostakovich and Prokofiev composed some of their greatest music. But these works were created much earlier, sometimes, it would seem, for cellists who were not particularly good.

That is not a problem here. It’s a tribute to Steven Isserlis and Olli Mustonen that it’s hard to imagine more thoughtful, well-prepared performances. Yet this is also playing in which everything is “in the moment”. Every vivid emotion – passion, anguish, hysteria, vivacity, despair – makes it mark. Mustonen brings a composer’s sensibility to his work, and a deep knowledge of these musical worlds from his other life as conductor. Isserlis is en pointethroughout – this is a tremendous partnership.

The one major work here written for Rostropovich...

This article is available to Limelight subscribers.

Log in to continue reading.

Access our paywalled content and archive of magazines, regular news and features for the limited offer of $3 per month. Support independent journalism.

Subscribe now