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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.