During the last decade of his life, Dmitri Shostakovich devoted special attention to chamber music. Emotional keenness and bright figurativeness which were so inherent in the composer's style were complimented with laconism and conciseness of statement. Every intonation, every stroke gained in importance.
The Sonata for Violin and Piano composed in 1968 is prefaced with a ceremonial dedication "In the honour of David Oistrakh's 60th birthday". The sonata is a cycle which is not very usual in terms of structure, with the extreme calm, restrained and focused movements framing an active and energetic middle one.
The Sonata for Viola and Piano composed in 1975 is the composer's first work performed after his death. The sonata is dedicated to Fyodor Druzhinin, an outstanding viola player and educator, a teacher of Yuri Bashmet. It is clearly contains intonations of "farewell", concentrated thinking about relegation to oblivion where death becomes immortality.
This disc features the two of Shostakovich's chamber opuses performed by two of the best musicians of the 1980s Oleg Kagan and Yuri Bashmet. Behind the piano is the great Sviatoslav Richter who was involved in the premiere of the violin sonata in 1968 and performed the viola sonata with Yuri bashmet for more than thirty times.