The brief Moderato
for cello and piano was discovered in the State Archive of Literature and Art in 1986. The exact date of its composition is not known, since Shostakovich never counted it among his numbered works; it is thought to date from the 1930s. Its brevity suggests that it may have been intended as part of a sonata—perhaps a first-movement exposition, or the first part of a slow movement. Its intense lyricism links it strongly with Lady Macbeth
, and with Katerina’s Act I aria in particular, intriguingly suggesting that there might have been an alternative Cello Sonata in Shostakovich’s mind in the mid-1930s.
from notes by Pauline Fairclough © 2006