Russian Cello

Enter the world of Russia. Zoe Knighton and Amir Farid present a mix of unknown works alongside much loved classics. The recording celebrates a romanticism in composition inspired by the combination of cello and piano.

A duo that relishes playing unknown works alongside much loved classics, Zoe Knighton and Amir Farid enter the world of Russia with the launch of their their fifth CD on the MOVE label - Russian Cello.

Inspired by the combination of cello and piano, they perform works by Rachmaninov, Gretchaninoff, Prokofiev, Stravinksy and Glière in a CD celebrating a romanticism in composition.

"This CD is chockablock with luscious melody after luscious melody. These Russian composers really knew how to tear at heart strings and to make an audience sit up and listen" writes cellist Zoe Knighton "It has been a really rewarding CD to record - we are particularly proud of unearthing the Gretchaninov sonata which is a real gem."

Reviewing the concert to launch the CD on 20 April 2015, Joel Carnegie (The Age) said: "Endearing and earnest, the duo commenced the concert with the crowd pleasing Vocalise from Rachmaninoff – a performance that offered exquisite and at times surprising moments from the pair. Grechaninov's Sonata for cello and piano in E, Op.133 followed – with the contrasting and extended work allowing for jaunty dance-like sequences, floating cello lines, and vigorous melodic back and forths between cello and piano – requiring complete focus from Knighton and Farid.

"Glazunov's Elegy in G minor, Op. 44 continued the exploration of mood, with cellist and pianist presenting a collection of emotional states, in this sombre lament for a deceased person. Knighton's reflective and 'heart softening' cello lines in particular were particularly noteworthy.

"Stravinsky's Russian Maiden's Song from his comic one-act opera Mavra set Knighton and Farid the task of depicting a woman embroidering in her living room. Gliere's Album Leaf No. 5 offered the pair space to indulge the audience with some quiet contemplation, and Prokofiev's Sonata in C, Op. 119 rounded out an well-rounded evening of hallmark expat Russian fare."


Zoë Knighton

Zoë is at the fore of a new generation of performer intent on forging an innovative path for the enjoyment of 'classical' music. She is a founding member of Flinders Quartet

Amir Farid

Pianist Amir Farid has been described as "a highly creative musician - a pianist of great intelligence and integrity. He brings strong musical substance to all that he does, imbuing it with his own particular experience and understanding", and who "in a well populated field...distinguishes himself for all the right reasons".

Press quotes

“The great discovery (for me at least) was the cello sonata by Alexander Gretchaninov, his opus 113, a work completely unknown to me, but a knockout, and beautifully played by these two artists as well.”

— Phillip Sametz, ABC Classic FM

“If there is one nationality who really wrote with hearts on sleeves, it was the Russians. If there is an instrument that can really explore the torment, it's the cello. Russian Cello, is a wonderfully colourful project for Zoe Knighton and Amir Farid who deliver a selection from known masters (Stravinsky, Rachmaninov, Prokofiev) and less known contemporaries (Glière, Gretchaninov and Sokolov). The duo start with an exquisite rendition of Rachmaninov's Vocalise that allows Knighton to warm up her thrilling tenor-sound, sensitively accompanied by Farid. The programming continues with other 'songs without words' including an enchanting Album Leaf from Glière followed by Stravinsky's eccentric, folk-inspired Chanson Russe. The playing goes up a gear with a pair of Glazunov items, beginning with Chant du Ménéstrel. Knighton's portamento is suitably full of woe and in the substantial Elégie she really gets to show much more range, muscling into her lowest register with grit. Farid is an attentive partner in crime. Both are attuned to each other's subtle musical choices. Grechaninov's Sonata is the first long-form piece on the album. With charming interjections from the piano and a pretty melody for the cello it's a lovely warm up for Prokofiev's Sonata, which gives Knighton and Farid a kaleidoscope of texture and colour to play with. It's cheeky, thrilling and uncertain, as Prokofiev should be.” ★★★★

— Sascha Kelly, Limelight Magazine

Audio previews

Track Listing

  1. Vocalise, Op. 34 No. 14 Sergei Rachmaninoff 3:46
  2. 12 Album Leaves Album leaf No. 5 Reinhold Glière 3:42
  3. Chanson Russe (Russian Maiden's Song) Igor Stravinsky 4:01
  4. Chant du ménéstral, Op. 71 (Minstrel Song) (Alexander Glazunov) 4:10
  5. Elégie, Op. 17 (Alexander Glazunov) 10:15
  6. Sonata for violoncello and piano, Op. 113 Alexander Gretchaninov

  7. Mesto - Allegro Agitato 7:06
  8. Menuetto Tragico 6:13
  9. Finale 8:40
  10. Preludium, Op. 26: No. 1 Nikolay Sokolov 3:25
  11. Sonata for violoncello and piano, Op. 119 Sergei Prokofiev

  12. Andante Grave 12:44
  13. Moderato 5:44
  14. Allegro ma non troppo 9:07



Sergei Rachmaninoff

Sergei Vasilievich Rachmaninoff (1873 – 1943) was a Russian composer, pianist, and conductor. Rachmaninoff is widely considered one of the finest pianists of his day and, as a composer, one of the last great representatives of Romanticism in Russian classical music.

Alexander Gretchaninov

Gretchaninov started his musical studies rather late, because his father, a businessman, had expected the boy to take over the family firm. Gretchaninov himself related that he did not see a piano until he was 14 and began his studies at the Moscow Conservatory in 1881 against his father's wishes and without his knowledge. His main teachers there were Sergei Taneyev and Anton Arensky. In the late 1880s, after a quarrel with Arensky, he moved to St. Petersburg where he studied composition and orchestration with Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov until 1893.

Where to buy

Russian Cello can be purchased online through Buywell Just Classical or the Australian Music Centre which both offer secure online ordering.

This title is also available in (or can be ordered through) many fine music retailers across Australia, including Thomas’ and Readings.

Product details

List price
$25.00 AUD
Total playing time
78 minutes 53 seconds
Release date
April 2015
© 2015 Move Records
℗ 2015 Move Records
Catalogue number
MD 3390
Alternate catalogue number
EAN 9314574339024