The New York Times has praised violinist Miranda Cucksons undeniable musicality, while Gramophone has declared her an artist to be reckoned with.
Born in Australia and educated in America, she makes her ECM New Series debut alongside pianist Blair McMillen with three 20th-century milestones: the Hungarian Bela Bartoks Violin Sonata No. 2 (1922), the Russian Alfred Schnittkes Violin Sonata No. 2 Quasi una Sonata (1968) and the Pole Witold Lutoslawskis Partita for Violin and Piano (1984).
Bringing these great Slavic composers together enables us to hear each dealing with the dichotomies of form and spontaneity, playfulness and seriousness, folk expression and abstraction, Cuckson explains. The colors and traits of Slavic ethnic music are vibrantly in the foreground in Bartoks music, more subsumed into abstraction and flavor in the Schnittke and Lutoslawski. Humor is a tool of provocation and survival in Schnittke and to some extent Lutoslawski, a cheeky attitude anchored by deep purpose. In Bartok, the boisterousness and teasing charm of folk dances gives way to moods of profound melancholy.