Electricity: Works for Cello & Electronics
Madeleine Shapiro is a recognized figure in the field of contemporary music as a cellist, producer of chamber music concerts, and as a teacher. She has appeared as a solo recitalist throughout the United States, Europe and Latin America. She has a strong commitment to performing works by living composers and has a repertoire of over 40 solo works by composers from the Americas, as well as Europe and Asia. The chamber ensemble ModernWorks, founded by Madeleine in 1997, presents an annual New York City concert series and has been heard yearly on the New York Consortium for New Music's prestigious Sonic Boom Festival and at other New York venues, including a series at the Museum of Arts and Design, as well as on NPR. She teaches at the Mannes College of Music in New York City, where she directs the Contemporary Music Ensemble and teaches classes in the performance practice of contemporary music. She writes: "My love for electro-acoustic works began as an undergraduate at The State University of New York at Stony Brook where it was suggested by the eminent violinist Paul Zukofsky that I learn Mario Davidovsky's Synchronisms No. 3, my first experience with a work by a living composer. My subsequent performance of this piece led to a life-long commitment to both works by living composers, and the electro-acoustic medium. The pieces on this CD were chosen for their wide range of musical expression, and for the variety of electronic technology they employ. Since 1964, when the Davidovsky was written, the developments in technology have been astounding. As a performer, I have found this revolution exhilarating, and embrace the expressive and coloristic possibilities that such technology has afforded us."
Top customer reviews
There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later.
The opener, "The Song of Songs" by Karen Tanaka, would be easy for almost anyone to like, even those not normally inclined toward this type of repertoire. Over a mellifluous drone with what sound like shimmering bells, Shapiro's soulful cello line grows ever more intense before the work's quiet ending.
The works by Jukka Tiensuu, Ge Gan-ru and Kaija Saariaho are all notable for using the instrument in unusual ways -- knocking on the wood, bowing near the bridge, and other ear-opening techniques, and one can't help but be impressed by Shapiro's consistent accuracy and passion in these difficult scores. The classic Davidovsky "Synchronisms No. 3" might be the most "modernist" item on the menu, but even it sounds warmer in Shapiro's hands than it might in others.
And Shapiro saves a stunning example of Michael Gordon's work, "Industry", for the very last. Gordon's rugged use of repeated double-stops will either wear you out, or hypnotize you -- for me it was definitely the latter -- and Shapiro's prodigious technique will leave you exhilarated. Throughout the recording, Shapiro is as masterful a guide as anyone could want in this repertoire, in a well-conceived combination of little-known works and modern classics.
The CD was beautifully recorded by Adrian Carr, with a nice balance between the cello timbre and the electronic sounds -- neither one overwhelms the other -- and Albany has preserved all of this with a beautifully designed package and cover art (the liner notes credit Christine Chagnon). Don't miss the clever photograph on the back, too, in which Shapiro's cello appears to be flying off into space.