Much of the music of Latvian composer Peteris Vasks is characterized by the juxtaposition of extremes: violent and ethereal, impetuous and reserved, strictly metered and largely improvisatory. Such is also the case with this powerful collection of works with cello on the Hanssler Classics label. Performed by cellist David Geringas (a student of Rostropovich and Tchaikovsky Competition Gold Medal winner), Vasks‘ Book for Solo Cello, Partita for Cello and Piano, and piano trio entitled Episodi e canto perpetuo test every aspect of a performer’s technical and musical abilities. Whether in the savage, endurance-testing opening of the Book for Solo Cello or the song-like, mellifluous Canto Perpetuo of the Piano Trio, Geringas‘ playing is both captivating and convincing. His improvisatory playing (in movements where Vasks asks for such techniques) is as intense, refined, and directed as when Vasks tells the performers precisely what to play. Vasks‘ music, particularly fast movements, relies heavily on rhythmic intensity and vitality; Geringas and his colleagues consistently deliver well-articulated, precision rhythm throughout. There are a few moments in the piano trio where intonation between the two string players does not entirely line up when playing in unison or octaves, but the other positive aspects of this album far outweigh these infrequent imperfections.