The scherzo of Shostakovich's Cello Sonata is as fearsome as music for that instrument gets. Within the raucous, drunken, dance-of-death confines of this movement, the cellist must play a series of eerie harmonics in which the left hand moves up and down the fingerboard at something like the speed of light, while the bow arm must move just as quickly, hitting the treacherously positioned notes with just the right amount of pressure.
In her cello recital last night in Friedberg Hall, Sharon Robinson sounded as if she were not in the least intimidated by this passage. She made it slither and sing.
The rest of the sonata was equally impressive: a first movement that was insouciant, a soulful slow movement and a final one in which her playing spoke eloquently throughout, particularly at whisper-soft levels. Her partner, Sam Sanders, brought distinction to the piano part.