The Russian composer Nikolai Korndorf (1947–2001) was a larger-than-life character and wrote music that was similarly expansive and urgent. His three works for solo cello illustrate his unwillingness to be governed by convention. The Concerto capriccioso (1986) for cello, strings and percussion is influenced by religious ritual and rock music. The Triptych for cello and piano (1998–99) takes its starting points in folk and operatic lament, primitivist painting and Russian Orthodox prayer. And the immense Passacaglia for solo cello (1997) is an instrumental retelling of Dante’s Divine Comedy, the cello taking the part of the narrator, with the cellist whistling, reciting and singing alongside the instrumental part. Alexander Ivashkin, the soloist on this recording, was a close friend of the composer — the Passacaglia was written for him – which gives his performances a unique authority.
"...This is rather a fascinating disc, played (and spoken and sung) with style. The horrible-sounding intonation is part of the game Korndoff is playing. If it doesn’t scare you off, I suspect we won’t hear it done better. He is a strange composer, but he means it, and there is beauty enough to make up for the accompanying weirdness. Oh Yes, Ivashkin gets to whistle, too! Enjoy!"
David More - American Record Guide - March/April 2013
"...It is hard to imagine a better interpreter of this music than Ivashkin, who has lived with it and performed it for so long, and pianist Anya Alexeyev and the Russian Philharmonic under Konstantin Krimets accompany him with conviction and a true sense of the music’s powerful beauty, in resonant recordings made in both Moscow and Canada."
Ivan Moody - International Record Review - July/August 2012