Accessible cello modernism stunningly selected and played.
Alisa Weilerstein is everything you'd want in a cello soloist: powerful sound, dyamite technique, intelligent interpretive personality . . . Most cellists, even most virtuosos, sound deoxygenated at the top of their range. Weilerstein sounds urgent. The contrast with the rich full resonance of her lower notes is extreme, and she knows how to use it . . . [Kodály / Cello Sonata]: the rest of the CD could be filler and I'd still want it for this . . . [Golijov / "Omaramor"]: at once soulful and gymnastic, pushing the cello all over ist range and falling unexpectedly and turn to jagged shards of sound . . . The disc's jaw-droppingly good out-of-left-field clincher is "Seven Tunes Heard in China" by the Chinese-American composer Bright Sheng. Weilerstein's playing is authorative throughout these pieces, but in the Sheng, she's revelatory. She manages to evoke the soundscape of Chinese traditional music -- using a bare timbre, micro-variations in pitch, feathery bowing that scarcely grazes the strings, and a whole suite of non-standard techniques -- while also making the most of the deep, flowing sound that only a cello can produce . . . well-chosen music, lively and imaginative playing, full of passion and a sense of fun . . . Get hold of Weilerstein's "Solo" disc. That's the one you want.
. . . [Weilerstein] clambers energetically into music of the past 100 years with four highly physical works . . . [Kodály / Cello Sonata]: an arresting physicality . . . a formidable programme . . .
This is Weilerstein's first solo disc and it is spectacular from the opening of Kodaly's cello sonata to the final Tibetan dance of Chinese composer Bright Sheng's "Seven Tunes Heard in China" . . . Everything on this disc is impressive but her performance of the Kodaly solo cello sonata -- one of the greatest works in the form since the Bach unaccompanied cello suites -- is rather close to brain-boggling.
. . . the program here is not just original, but qualifies as daring . . . all the music has an ethnic flavor, and one might think that 75 minutes of solo cello music in this vein would be a tough slog. Nothing of the sort. Weilerstein chooses the program intelligently . . . Weilerstein keeps this large and potentially unwieldy enterprise under perfect control, and her reading of the Kodály, with intense forward momentum in the cello's high registers, is extraordinary. This still-developing cellist, aided by fine engineering work at Berlin's Teldex Studio, is decidedly one to watch.
The opening of Kodály's highly significant Sonata, Op 8, has much . . . sinuous but elegiac passion that manages, despite pushing the instrument to its limits, to remain emotionally balanced at the same time [which] makes for an exciting listening experience . . . she showcases the sound the cello can make and the emotion behind the work, but not at the expense of the musical argument. This is particularly noticeable in the first movement of the Kodály, where there is a build-up through the central phrase, with its resolution only coming after an almost free-standing, florid vignette that Weilerstein uses to intensify the power of the phrase it interrupts, rather than deflate it . . . As a whole, too, this is a very well chosen programme.
All of these compositions demand a virtuoso technique that Weilerstein is a mistress of . . . She plays with accuracy and feeling . . . All of the works on this program are strong and expressed with passion . . . [Cassado / Suite]: an attractive and dramatically cogent reading. Her intensity is impressive . . .
[Kodály / Sonata op. 8]: The performance is superb: totally secure in technique, rich in sonority, compellingly idiomatic in its rhapsodising, and exhilarating in the passages representing an entire band of village musicians. The rest of the programme, all vividly recorded . . . is all colourful and enjoyable stuff . . .
Weilersteins Art zu spielen ist geprägt durch die Freude am Klang . . . [dass sie Musik als Ganzes liebt,] hat sie mit diesem Solo-Album hörenswert bewiesen . . . aus den Werken erklingt einfach das Selbstverständnis einer Künstlerin, die ergründen will, was den Komponisten bewegte.
Weilersteins fulminante Interpretationen ergeben ein vitales Kompendium für Violoncello-Musik im zwanzigsten Jahrhundert.
L'interprétation d'Alisa Weilerstein ne vous décevra pas. Basses caverneuses, forte sulfureux, puissance de feu sans limite . . . Bref, la fougue, la fermeté et l'aplomb qui rendent Weilerstein assez impressionnante dans le répertoire concertant . . .
. . . [cet album] rend le mieux justice à son remarquable talent . . . ce disque est un juste autoportrait de la musicienne et du message musical qu'elle entend porter . . . Cet album donne à entendre Alisa Weilerstein sans compromis, enfin, et offre un portrait pertinent du répertoire du violoncelle de notre temps, qui se nourrit de sources populaires et, dans sa recherche d'évolution, s'élargit au niveau planétaire.