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Provenance

Audio Samples

>Kalhor, Kayhan : I Was There, for cello, oud & percussion
>Gasparyan, Djivan : Memories, for cello
>Muskal, Tamar : Mar De Leche, for voice, cello, oud & percussion
>Cuomo, Douglas J. : Only Breath, for cello
>Page, Jimmy : Kashmir

Album Summary

>Kalhor, Kayhan : I Was There, for cello, oud & percussion
>Gasparyan, Djivan : Memories, for cello
>Muskal, Tamar : Mar De Leche, for voice, cello, oud & percussion
>Cuomo, Douglas J. : Only Breath, for cello
>Page, Jimmy : Kashmir
Performers Composers
Notes & Reviews:

Personnel: Maya Beiser (cello); Etty Ben-Zaken (vocals); Bassam Saba (oud); Jerry Marotta (drums); Jamey Haddad, Shane Shanahan (percussion).

Taking the well-established route of solo explorations in between any number of collaborative appearances, cellist Maya Beiser continues in her exploration of a wide variety of compositional impulses. The earliest track that surfaced from the album was also the most familiar -- a reworking of Led Zeppelin's stately "Kashmir," which keeps the familiar elegance of the hard rock warhorse while bringing out the sense of the song's roots in Middle Eastern musics. Here it appears as the calm conclusion for Provenance, but the other selections are the more compelling as a result. Djavan Gasparyan contributes "Memories," very much in the vein of much of the Armenian composer's work on duduk; hearing Beiser apply her preferred instrument to the slow swoop of the composition is equally compelling listening. In contrast, "I Was There," written by Kayhan Kalhor, balances between a similarly slow unfolding of an arrangement, a sense of a steady muse via Beiser's performance as well as that of her collaborators on percussion and electronics, and sudden quick bursts of energy, always set against distant sonic textures. The addition of guitar as a counterpoint is a sudden thrill as the whole arrangement then becomes more upbeat and gently celebratory set against the steadier drumming. It's the standout of the disc as a whole, though the melodramatic "Mar de Leche," thanks to its guest vocals adding a romantic tinge, has its own compelling edge as well. ~ Ned Raggett



Reviews

Bridging Past and Present
From the opening notes of “Provenance,” it’s impossible not to find oneself transported from mundane reality to a time and place of spiritual calm and rejuvenation. Cellist Maya Beiser, whose career path is as unpredictable as it is artistically rewarding, explores Spain’s centuries-old musical traditions in works by several contemporary composers on this, her latest and most accessible recording. Beiser was raised in Israel, so her interest in Middle Eastern music is no surprise. Several of the composers invited to participate in this project hail from Iran, Israel and Armenia; their compositions tap into ancient musical forms while retaining a distinct contemporary attitude. Each piece leads seamlessly into the next, creating a rich musical tapestry of melody, emotion and drama in which Beiser’s cello is the dominant voice. Her haunting and soulful playing is deftly supported by appropriately minimalist accompaniment: oud, percussion and voice. The disc’s final track, Led Zeppelin’s classic “Kashmir,” might seem an odd inclusion until one realizes that it incorporates classical Moroccan, Indian and Middle Eastern musical motifs. Beiser’s stunning interpretation highlights these elements while also relating the emotion in the song to the tracks that precede it. “Provenance” is yet another triumph for the virtuoso cellist who is helping to redefine the limits and the capabilities of modern classical music. Easily my favorite disc of 2010.
Submitted on 09/09/10 by Dean Brierly 
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Works Details

>Kalhor, Kayhan : I Was There, for cello, oud & percussion
  • Performers: Bassam Saba (Oud); Jamey Haddad (Percussion); Maya Beiser (Cello); Shane Shanahan (Percussion)
  • Running Time: 15 min. 36 sec.
  • Period Time: Modern

>Gasparyan, Djivan : Memories, for cello
  • Performer: Maya Beiser (Cello)
  • Running Time: 7 min. 1 sec.
  • Period Time: Modern

>Muskal, Tamar : Mar De Leche, for voice, cello, oud & percussion
  • Performers: Etty Ben-Zaken (Voice); Bassam Saba (Oud); Jamey Haddad (Percussion); Maya Beiser (Cello); Shane Shanahan (Percussion)
  • Running Time: 14 min. 41 sec.

>Cuomo, Douglas J. : Only Breath, for cello
  • Performer: Maya Beiser (Cello)
  • Running Time: 10 min. 7 sec.
  • Period Time: Contemporary

>Page, Jimmy : Kashmir
  • Performers: Jerry Marotta (Drums); Maya Beiser (Cello)
  • Notes: This work was written in collaboration with John Bonham (1948 - 1980), Robert Plant (1948 - ).
  • Running Time: 7 min. 17 sec.
  • Period Time: Contemporary