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|Maya Beiser||Primary Artist, Cello|
|Philip Blackburn||Label Direction|
|Lili Almog||Art Direction|
|Maya Beiser||Producer, Liner Notes, Executive Producer|
|Douglas J. Cuomo||Composer|
Posted October 1, 2010
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.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Maya Beiser revolutionized contemporary classical cello with her album "Kinship," and every subsequent album from "World to Come" through "Provenance" has demonstrated how multi-dimensional and talented this artist is. Provenance is simply stunning; the rendition of Kashmir is very refreshing after a few somewhat disappointing attempts by other classical musicians, but the other pieces really make the album. She clearly knows the music and the area it comes from very well (not many classically trained Western musicians have a nuanced enough understanding of this music to deliberately include Kurdish music and even Ladino music), but the most impressive aspect is, as always, her playing. Ten years ago, no one would have argued with the notion that Beiser is a virtuoso up there with Rostropovich and Du Pre, but now I think she is entering new territory that no one in the history of the instrument has ventured into. In an era where pop and rap have gripped the popular culture, Beiser's music is one of the last bastions of intelligent and thoughtful composition that everyone can enjoy. My only wish is that she would have included some of the other pieces she performed at the opening concert for Provenance at Carnegie Hall, I really enjoyed them and missed them on the album.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted June 1, 2010
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