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The Essence of Cello - Music of Paul Suits, Hugo Weisgall, Peter Susser & David Sanford / Eric Bartlett, cello

Notes & Reviews:

This recording of works for cello is special because all of the compositions were written for Eric Bartlett. Music by one of America's most distinguished composers, Hugo Weisgall; two young composers, David Sanford and Peter Susser; as well as the gifted composer Paul Suits, is offered in stunning performances. Each of these composers has, in his own way, found the essence of cello. Eric Bartlett, a member of the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra and the New York Philharmonic, has also served as principal cellist of Lincoln Center's Mostly Mozart Festival for 14 years. A graduate of the University of Massachusetts and the Juilliard School, he is the recipient of a Solo Recitalist's Award from the National Endowment for the Arts.

American Record Guide, March/April 2015
Four works written for cellist Eric Bartlett are here in first recordings. Paul Suits (born 1955) contributes his Fantasy from 1984 (later revised) cast in two six-minute movements. I is a gentle, slowly swaying, folk-style song, II a dance-like, folk-style perpetuum mobile. They do sound quite beautiful on the cello. Also from 1984 is Hugo Weisgall's Arioso and Burlesca. Weisgall (1912-97) is best known for his operas and song cycles (see our index) but also wrote some instrumental pieces. Five Ballads was written in 1997 by Peter Susser (born 1959) and, unlike the other works on the program, for unaccompanied cello. Totaling 24 minutes, twice as long as anything else here, these five movements are designed to offer a wide variety and much contrast in musical materials, tempos, playing techniques, and moods. Finally there's 22 Part 1 written in 1995 by Peter Sanford (born 1963). This is the only item here that could be categorized as "avant garde". Bartlett plays all four of these very varied works with authority, polish, and lustrous tone, ably accompanied by Paul Suits and Margaret Kampmeier. Albany's sonics are clear, detailed, rich, natural, and immediate. The four composers couldn't wish for a better presentation of their music.


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