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Alisa Weilerstein: 'Solo' - Works for Cello Solo by Zoltán Kodaly, Osvaldo Golijov, Gaspar Cassadó and Bright Sheng / Alisa Weilerstein, cello

Album Summary

>Kodály, Zoltán [Composer] : Sonata for solo cello, Op. 8
>Golijov, Osvaldo : Omaramor, for solo cello
>Cassadó, Gaspar : Suite for cello solo
>Sheng, Bright : Seven Tunes Heard in China
Performer Composers

Notes & Reviews:

The long-awaited solo album from Decca's star cellist sees Weilerstein revealing and reveling in her technique. The 20th Century was significant in affirming the cello's place as a premiere solo instrument. Between 1900 and 1960 over 160 works were written for solo cello - the most ground-breaking of these forms the centerpiece of this recital: Zoltan Kodaly's Solo Sonata, composed in 1915. Calling for left hand pizzicato as well an alternative tuning of the cello's lower strings, Kodaly's Sonata was far ahead of the time in which it was written and explored every facet of the cello, revealing what could be done with this instrument. Many of Kodaly's works are based upon Hungarian folksongs & dances, and this theme inspires the rest of the album, with works from the in-vogue Argentinian composer Osvaldo Golijov, across the world to the Chinese composer Bright Sheng.

Sheng's work is based on seven tunes from China (Seasons, Guessing Song, The Little Cabbage, The Drunken Fisherman, Diu Diu Dong, Pastoral Ballade, Tibetan Dance). Golijov's Omaramor is a musically playful fantasia inspired by Carols Gardel (the Argentine tango specialist); and Gaspar Cassado's Suite, consisting of three dance movements, quotes the Kodaly work.

The most substantial item of additional content, the Ligeti sonata, has two movements: the first has a (modal) melody deliberately written with a typical Hungarian profile, heavily influenced by Kodaly; the second is a virtuosic piece in sonata form.

Committed to expanding the cello repertoire, Alisa is a fervent champion of new music and this release is her first solo album. The American cellist has attracted widespread attention worldwide for her combination of natural virtuosic command and technical precision with impassioned musicianship. The intensity of her playing has regularly been lauded, as has the spontaneity and sensitivity of her interpretations.

New York Magazine
Whatever she plays sounds custom-composed for her, as if she has a natural affinity with everything.

Gramophone Magazine, January 2015
It feels a little dangerous to say this, but the opening of Alisa Weilerstein's 'Solo' hits the listener between the eyes in a way that was particularly characteristic of Jacqueline du Pre's earlier performances...As a whole, too, this is a very well chosen programme.

American Record Guide, January/February 2015
A program of 20th Century music for cello alone is a demanding task. All of these compositions demand a virtuoso technique that Weilerstein is a mistress of. They also are pieces with personality, each representing a different country: Zoltan Kodaly sounds very Hungarian, Osvaldo Golijov (b. 1960) is from Argentina, somewhat to his surprise, or at least mine. Gaspar Cassado (1897-1966) was Spanish. and Bright Sheng (b. 1955) is from Shanghai, China. Both he and Golijov now live in the USA. All of these composers use national material, each in a different way. All of the works on this program are strong and expressed with passion. The Cello Overview (Mar/Apr 2009) deals with various performances of the Kodaly. After all this, Weilerstein's is still an attractive and dramatically cogent reading. Her intensity is impressive, her use of dynamic contrast the most yet.

Notes & Reviews:

Recording information: Teldex Studio, Berlin (10/12/2013-10/14/2013).



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Works Details

>Kodály, Zoltán [Composer] : Sonata for solo cello, Op. 8
  • Performer: Alisa Weilerstein (Cello)
  • Notes: Teldex Studio, Berlin (10/12/2013-10/14/2013)
  • Running Time: 33 min. 22 sec.
  • Period Time: Modern
  • Written: 1915

>Golijov, Osvaldo : Omaramor, for solo cello
  • Performer: Alisa Weilerstein (Cello)
  • Notes: Teldex Studio, Berlin (10/12/2013-10/14/2013)
  • Running Time: 8 min. 14 sec.
  • Period Time: Contemporary
  • Written: 1991

>Cassadó, Gaspar : Suite for cello solo
  • Performer: Alisa Weilerstein (Cello)
  • Notes: Teldex Studio, Berlin (10/12/2013-10/14/2013)
  • Running Time: 15 min. 27 sec.
  • Period Time: Modern
  • Written: circa 1950

>Sheng, Bright : Seven Tunes Heard in China
  • Performer: Alisa Weilerstein (Cello)
  • Notes: Teldex Studio, Berlin (10/12/2013-10/14/2013)
  • Running Time: 18 min. 19 sec.
  • Period Time: Contemporary
  • Written: 1995