We know that our seafaring ancestors cultivated a strong tradition of singing. And Russian singing, especially in a religious context, is a renowned hallmark of the country’s rich culture. Both composers featured on this album were partial to the human voice. Many regard the cello as one of the instruments best able to reproduce the human voice, and it is tempting to presume that both Rachmaninoff and Shostakovich were motivated by the cello’s matchless range of expression when each wrote his powerful sonata — and, mind you, with the piano as wholly equal partner. Each was considered one of the most outstanding piano virtuosos of his generation and knew his instrument through and through.
We hope that the Russian sonatas — in Norwegian renderings — can show that the human spirit transcends cultural and national boundaries. All that remains is to listen. Perhaps we may perceive the sounds of our ancestors singing together. In music — humanity’s home — we all share the same mother tongue.