Julia MacLaine writes about this program:

"This likely won't come as a surprise to you, but to me, the cello is THE ultimate instrument to lend its voice to that deep, sorrowful, beautiful Russian soul. I've been drawn to Russian music since I was very young; my childhood piano teacher wondered if I had some Russian ancestry somewhere, and my elementary school friends were somehow convinced I was a spy! For this concert, Carson and I have chosen to pair shorter works by Jean Sibelius (Finland) and Thomas de Hartmann (Ukraine) with two of the big Russian sonatas for cello and piano. Both Shostakovich and Prokofiev ran into trouble with the Zhdanov Decree and had their works banned for not adhering to the 'national' style as prescribed by the 'government'.  Following the première of Prokofiev's Sonata with Rostropovich, Sviatoslav Richter wrote: We gave the first performance of Prokofiev's Cello Sonata. Before playing it in concert, we had to perform it at the Composer's Union, where these gentlemen decided the fate of all new works. During this period more than any other, they needed to work out whether Prokofiev had produced a new masterpiece or, conversely, a piece that was 'hostile to the spirit of the people.'  Carson and I promise to rehearse this rich program - full of darkness, joy, and whimsy - with the windows wide open. We expect that the birds and squirrels, and the odd neighbour, will grant their permission and deem this soulful music fit for your gentle ears!"

Saturday, May 18th, 2024         4:30pm


Jean Sibelius: Malinconia

Dmitri Shostakovich: Sonata for Cello and Piano in D minor, op. 40

Thomas de Hartmann: Deux pleureuses, op. 64*

Sergei Prokofiev: Sonata for Cello and Piano in C major, op. 119

Thomas de Hartmann's music has been made available to us largely because of the work of Tom Daly and the Thomas de Hartmann project.  Please visit

Julia MacLaine, cello

Carson Becke, piano