A heavenly marriage of acoustic and electronic elements
Bruce Hodges | New York, NY | 03/25/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"In addition to having a lot of sensational music, this outstanding recording shows the huge range of expression from today's composers. I've been fortunate to hear Madeleine Shapiro in live performance a number of times in New York, and she definitely knows her electronics (and needless to say, her cello).
The opener, "The Song of Songs" by Karen Tanaka, would be easy for almost anyone to like, even those not normally inclined toward this type of repertoire. Over a mellifluous drone with what sound like shimmering bells, Shapiro's soulful cello line grows ever more intense before the work's quiet ending.
The works by Jukka Tiensuu, Ge Gan-ru and Kaija Saariaho are all notable for using the instrument in unusual ways -- knocking on the wood, bowing near the bridge, and other ear-opening techniques, and one can't help but be impressed by Shapiro's consistent accuracy and passion in these difficult scores. The classic Davidovsky "Synchronisms No. 3" might be the most "modernist" item on the menu, but even it sounds warmer in Shapiro's hands than it might in others.
And Shapiro saves a stunning example of Michael Gordon's work, "Industry", for the very last. Gordon's rugged use of repeated double-stops will either wear you out, or hypnotize you -- for me it was definitely the latter -- and Shapiro's prodigious technique will leave you exhilarated. Throughout the recording, Shapiro is as masterful a guide as anyone could want in this repertoire, in a well-conceived combination of little-known works and modern classics.
The CD was beautifully recorded by Adrian Carr, with a nice balance between the cello timbre and the electronic sounds -- neither one overwhelms the other -- and Albany has preserved all of this with a beautifully designed package and cover art (the liner notes credit Christine Chagnon). Don't miss the clever photograph on the back, too, in which Shapiro's cello appears to be flying off into space.
Cello-Writer | 03/29/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"With this CD Madeleine Shapiro has solidified her reputation as a leading proponent of cutting edge new classical writing for the cello. While most cellist dabble with electronics, here Ms. Shapiro embraces it. The pieces are facinating, evocative and original and Ms. Shapiro's execution is excellent. This CD should be required listening for composers writng for the cello. Thank god people are still making CDs like this."