Daniil Shafran ∙ Karlsruhe Recital 1959


Daniil Shafran’s recordings have become a cellist’s treasure trove. The Karlsruhe Recital from 1959 features the great cellist at his formidable best. His freedom of expression was complete, his command of the instrument so effortless that it seemed to convey the very essence of his musical spirit.

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DANIIL SHAFRAN The Karlsruhe Recital in 1959

Schubert: Arpeggione Sonata in A minor, D 821
Brahms: Cello Sonata No 2 in F major, Op 99
Debussy: Cello Sonata in D minor, L 135
Shostakovich: Cello Sonata in D minor, Op 40
Granados: Danza Española No 5 in E Minor, Op 37

Daniil Shafran · cello
Walter Bohle · piano

Recorded · 06 November 1959 · Karlsruhe · Sendesaal · Süddeutscher Rundfunk · Live Recording

Article number: MC 3012
UPC barcode: 791154054383
Recording date: 1959
Release date: July 2016
Total timing: 79:50
Booklet: 8 Pages
From the Original Masters ∙ © 2016 Meloclassic

October 2016 ∙ MusicWeb International ∙ Daniil Shafran ∙ Cello Recital in Karlsruhe 1959
This single recital was given by Daniil Shafran and Walter Bohle in Karlsruhe in November 1959. The recital visits pieces central to his repertoire – Schubert, Brahms and Shostakovich principally. In the Arpeggione Sonata he dispenses with the first movement exposition repeat, which was something he was not to do in his studio recording in 1970, and phrases with inimitable warmth adding a degree of ‘pathetic’ expression as the opening movement draws to its close. The Adagio is full of characteristically romanticised colour and expressivity, with a full complement of slides, too. There’s a little textual snip in the finale too – were they shoehorning this to meet the radio schedule, I wonder – but the playing is fanciful and light on its feet. Brahms’s F major sonata is far more vivace in Karlsruhe than it was to become two decades later when he set down a recording with Felix Gottlieb. Later on a kind of moderato gauze descended over his Brahms but here his wide and variegated vibrato is very different and this, allied to near-constant fluctuations of vibrato speed, breadth and colour keep the ear constantly intrigued. The serious introspection cultivated in the slow movement is accompanied by withdrawn dynamics. It’s not simply that he’s much faster here than he was later – contrasts are more graphic, articulation is more incisive, and the character of the music is wholly different. The fruits of this single recital, heard in fine recorded sound, are augmented by the fine booklet documentation.
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January 2017 ∙ MusicWeb International ∙ Daniil Shafran ∙ Cello Recital in Karlsruhe 1959
This live German radio recording dates from 6 November 1959, and I’m impressed by how good it sounds considering its date and provenance. The pianist is Walter Bohle, a name I haven’t come across before. Shafran made commercial inscriptions of all the works performed in this recital, sometimes on more than one occasion: Schubert (3), Brahms (1), Debussy (1), Shostakovich (4) and Granados (2). The qualities I find compelling in Shafran’s playing are to be found here. He has a rich, focused tone, achieved by an intense vibrato, the speed of which he varies to achieve a myriad shades and colours. His sound is never one-dimensional. His technique is formidable, and his intonation pristine. All of these qualities are underpinned by a profound musicianship. For me his playing is viscerally exciting and takes you to the edge. The booklet notes include an interview with Vera Shafran, the cellist’s wife. These are attractive and highly individual interpretations.
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