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Provenance


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Audio CD, May 25, 2010
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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Provenance is the latest release from Maya Beiser, hailed by The New Yorker as a 'cello goddess' and by the San Francisco Chronicle as 'the queen of post-minimalist cello.' The title means 'origins,' referring to both Maya's personal history and the intertwining cultural traditions that course through this stunning disc. On some selections, the rich-hued sound of Maya's cello is heard on its own; on others, she's accompanied by Lebanese-American master musicians Jamey Haddad (percussion) and Bassam Saba (oud), with percussionist Shane Shanahan. The culminating track is a dazzling arrangement of Led Zeppelin's Kashmir for multi-tracked cello and drumkit, featuring studio legend Jerry Marotta .

Review

"American cellist Maya Beiser, a founding member of Bang On A Can, has devoted her considerable gifts -- a warm, gorgeous tone; a flawless technique; and above all, an intense soulfulness -- to the contemporary repertory, and she is responsible for the creation of significant new works for her instrument. Provenance is a tribute to what Beiser describes as the Golden age of Spain, the 9th to the 15th centuries, when the peaceful coexistence of Islam, Jewish, and Christian cultures engendered an especially rich musical tradition. The album includes four works written for Beiser, several of them scored for cello and a variety of traditional instruments as well as voice, and an arrangement by Evan Ziporyn of the Led Zeppelin tune "Kashmir," by Robert Plant and Jimmy Page. Among the composers are Kayhan Kalhor (Iran), Djivan Gasparian (Armenia), Tamar Muskal (Israel), and Douglas J. Cuomo (U.S.). All of these pieces showcase the committed expressivity and unabashed emotionalism of Beiser's playing. The works create an aura of exoticism (in the use of modes and folk instruments associated with the Near and Middle East), have a solo line that sounds freely improvisatory, and a tone that is most often passionately melancholy. Several tracks feature Beiser alone, but with extensive overdubbing; the Gasparian uses mostly accompanimental drones, and in the Cuomo, contrapuntal lines create a delicate web of intricately shifting textures. The Kalhor and Muskal are evocative, colorful, piercingly emotional ensemble pieces that sound both ancient and freshly imagined. Ziporyn's Led Zeppelin arrangement uses rock drumming, overdubbing, and a processed sound that reflect its musical origins, but it has a distinctive new flavor. Innova's immaculate, vibrant sound is impressively present. The CD should be of interest to fans of virtuoso cello playing, new music, and the fusion of Western classical and world music traditions." -- allmusic - http://www.allmusic.com/cg/amg.dll?p=amg&sql=43:206643~T1

Two innovative new releases highlight the course of classical music in the 21st Century: Cortical Songs (Nonclassical) by the duo John Matthias and Nick Ryan and Provenance (Innova) cellist, Maya Beiser's new album. Both albums underscore a growing desire by musicians and composers to avoid confining forms, formats, and labels. Both releases come right up to the classical music line; neither crosses it.

Beiser's album is the most recent addition in a line of releases over the years exploring cross cultural musical influences. Beiser can thank Yo Yo Ma and his Silk Road Project for making albums like Provenance viable. Provenance means origins. The album reflects Beiser's origins (she grew up in Israel) and the intertwined origins of Islam, Christianity, and Judaism. For the project, Beiser commissioned four new pieces and recorded a cover of Jimmy Plant and Robert Page's Kashmir - Beiser brilliantly carries the song's vocal line with her cello. The album wears well on repeated listening. Part of the reason for this is the homogeneity of sounds, effects, and atmospheres utilized in each piece. Another reason this album wears well is that there are genuinely interesting moments. There is the ear opening arrangement of Kashmir of course, but Tamar Muskal's work Mar de Leche also stands out because of the piece's own origins - a Ladino love song. Sung text opens the piece followed by a variety of interesting rhythms including stumbling pizzicato's and infectious dances. As expected, Beiser's playing is exceptional through out. -- The Gathering Note - June 25, 2010


Listen to Samples and Buy MP3s

Songs from this album are available to purchase as MP3s. Click on "Buy MP3" or view the MP3 Album.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         

Samples
Song TitleArtist Time Price
listen  1. I Was ThereMaya Beiser15:36Album Only
listen  2. MemoriesMaya Beiser 6:58$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  3. Mar De LecheEtty Ben Zaken14:42Album Only
listen  4. Only BreathMaya Beiser10:07Album Only
listen  5. KashmirMaya Beiser 7:17$0.99  Buy MP3 

Product Details

  • Conductor: --
  • Composer: Kahlor, Casparian, Muskal, Cuomo, Page, et al.
  • Audio CD (May 25, 2010)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Innova
  • ASIN: B003E113SU
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #91,210 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

22 of 24 people found the following review helpful By Moira Kelly on May 31, 2010
Format: MP3 Music Verified Purchase
This is the most original heartfelt music I have heard in years. I heard the interview with Maya Beiser on NPR sunday morning and thought to myself: interesting story but when the music started pouring in I was transformed. Bought the MP3 download for the car ride and intend to buy the CD for my parents. (Though I wonder what they will think of Led Zep Kashmir? :) I dont want to analyze the music as every word I add is unnecessary. listen to it and you will understand. Highly recommended Chris G.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Dean R. Brierly on September 9, 2010
Format: Audio CD
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.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Niklas P. Andersson on June 23, 2010
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
I'm a big fan of Jordi Savall's music and projects and have also been dipping into Persian and Middle Eastern artists with hit or miss luck. Heard Provenance featured on NPR and the sound I heard is just what I've longed for, imagined even. This recording delivers soulful and intelligent conversations between East and West. It is mostly contemplative in nature; that is, good for introspection and quieter moments, not that there isn't moments of tension in the music. The Last track, however is a rocker, a violin rocker. Maya Beiser proves that the tension from the Led Zepplin classic can be successfully transmitted via violins and Middle Eastern instruments.
An unexpected delight that has but Maya Beiser on my radar. This promising artist needs to be supported. Buy this. There will be no regrets.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Jane Martin on August 25, 2010
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
I have always loved the Cello, but not to the extent to which I would purchase music focused on the Cello. One evening I was listening to NPR Radio and listened to an interview with Maya Beiser, a Celloist. The station played samples of songs from her new CD - Provenance. I immediately purchased the CD from Amazon. There are only 5 songs on the CD, but they are incredible; beautiful and dreamy. My personal favorite is Kashmir which was a Led Zepplyn song. Maya's style is unique and I finally get to hear how beautiful Cello music can be. She is a gifted Celloist.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Laurence Dworet on July 31, 2011
Format: Audio CD
Beautiful music. Similar - a little - to some of Yo Yo Ma's work with the Silk Road Ensemble. One of the best CD's in my (too big to say without embarrassing myself) collection.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Virginia on July 30, 2010
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
I heard the first piece from this CD on the classical music station in Chicago and liked it so much I searched for it on Amazon and bought it right away. I was intrigued by the idea of Spanish music from the ninth through 13th centuries. It does not disappoint and I highly recommend it. The last piece by the way is Led Zepplin which is a big leap in centuries but it fits in well.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Gary D. Schnell on July 11, 2010
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Maya Beiser is very creative and original. Wonderful set of pieces by a very talented chello player. Highly recommended.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By A. W. Honeycutt on March 13, 2014
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
The review title captures it all. It might be cliche, but Maya Beiser earns it's use in all sincerity.

The clarity of the recording, and the passion of the artist, combine to let you hear her breathing as she saws on the strings, like a concert hall performance for an audience of one.

Only 5 songs, but they're long, and gorgeous, and I get entranced every time.

The energetic fifth track, Kashmir, is exactly the cover you think it is, but so well executed you won't believe it. It ranks somewhere in my top-10 favorite individual music tracks ever -- maybe top-5. (Just don't ask me to list the others - I'm terrible at remembering artists and song titles.)

If you enjoy the soul-strumming character of the cello, this is a must-buy album.
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