BRAHMS: The Two Sonatas for Cello and Piano;  Sonatensatz
in C-minor — Michal Kanka, cello/ Ivan Klansky, piano — Praga Digitals
SACD mulichannel disc PRD/DSD  250214 ****:

If you are enthralled as I am by the sound and range of the cello and
its blending with the piano, you must acquaint yourselves with the two
Brahms Cello Sonatas. Brahms wrote no cello concerto. He admired
Dvorak’s effort, but was daunted by the prospect of mating the
instrument with the orchestra. We are the malefactors of this, and must
settle for these sonatas, which are very different from one another and
both quite magnificent.

Op.38 in E-minor, written in 1862 when Brahms was 29 and still learning
to play the cello, was contemporary with Ein Deutches Requiem and the
op.36 String Sextet. This first cello sonata reveals Brahms strongly
influenced by the classicism of Haydn, drawing upon the romantcism of
Schumann,  yet creating his own unique voice.

Op.99 in F-major, written in 1886, 24 years following the E-minor
Sonata, represents the mature Brahms of the 3rd and 4th Symphonies.
This is a work which emphasizes flowing lyricsm and is composed in a
freer form than the earlier Sonata. The effect is similar to Brahms’
songs with the cello often resembling the baritone voice. The Op.99
Cello Sonata is autumnal as is the 4th Symphony. It celebrates the
special fondness Brahms had for the piano/cello sound and is a
masterpiece.

Michal Kanka, cello and Ivan Klansky, piano provide committed,
passionate performances of these works by the master, Brahms. These are
virtuoso players, expert in the Brahms idiom.

Recorded at the Martinu Concert Hall of The Academy of Music, Prague in
Nov.,2004 and Jan.2005, the SACD surround sound disc captures the
acoustic of these sonatas in a hall whose ambiance becomes palpable.
Fine performances, very well recorded, of essential cello repetoire.
Recommended !
                                                      — Ronald Legum