In the end we listen. We brush all these things aside, for after all modern music can be heard to contain all manner of attitudes but primarily projects musical values that work together or not according to whatever standard we might apply. And so we find today the two brilliant works for cello contained in a nicely performed program (Harmonia Mundi 90214).
Emmanuelle Bertrand handles the solo cello part for both pieces, and does so in a less emotionally romantic manner than some earlier principals have, which I think allows a better balance between the elements of each work, and perhaps better suits the expressive nature of these works. The BBC National Orchestra of Wales under Pascal Rophe give the concerto a spin that fits Bertrand's reading. It gives expressive weight where needed but a kind of well-balanced, musical treatment prevails. The same can be said of pianist Pascal Amoyel in the sonata.
All told this is a fine set of performances that bring out the brilliance of Shostakovich. His complex personality and the complex world in which he thrived all play a part in the music, but a Shostakovich for today should let the music ring through, for it is brilliant. This recording does that well.