The works of composer Alfred Schnittke are, to this day, largely misunderstood and underappreciated. Often inappropriately labeled as avant-garde, Schnittke’s harmonies and tonal languages are indeed complex and at times quite dissonant. However, if appreciated from more of an emotive standpoint, his works are generally quite approachable. This album of works for cello and piano is a prime example of how he uses modernism purely to demonstrate emotion. With the exception of the first cello sonata, all of these works were written after his first, near-fatal stroke of 1985. His treatment of the cello is reflective of the struggles he faced in the last 13 years of his life. Cellist David Geringas and his wife, pianist Tatjana Geringas, are uniquely qualified for these performances. They not only received training and coaching from the composer, but Geringas is one of only two cellists to have received permission from Schnittke to perform the Epilogue from Peer Gynt (Rostropovich was the other). Fortuitously for listeners, David and Tatjana’s performance is in line with their accolades. Both present a unified and extremely convincing performance of four works. David’s technique, apart from some overly wide vibrato in the upper registers, is extremely clean and precise. Their interpretations are filled with the emotive qualities so necessary for the appreciation of Schnittke’s works. As an introduction to his cello and piano compositions or to Schnittke in general, this album is sure to delight listeners.