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Every day we post 10 new Classical CD and DVD reviews. A free weekly summary is available by e-mail. MusicWeb is not a subscription site. To keep it free please purchase discs through our links.

  Classical Editor Rob Barnett    



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Stone and Steel
Henry PURCELL (1659-1695)
Dido’s Lament (arr. Patrick Zimmerli) [2:59]
Dido’s Lament Electronic (arr. Patrick Zimmerli and Satoshi Takeishi) [4:11]
Hide Those Eyes (arr. Kenji Bunch) [5:59]
John DOWLAND (1562-1626)
George Whitehead’s Allemand (arr. Patrick Zimmerli) [5:14]
Flow My Tears (arr. Patrick Zimmerli) [4:01]
ANONYMOUS
Auctori vite psalmis (arr. Patrick Zimmerli) [7:10]
Jean-Philippe RAMEAU (1683–1764)
Nouvelles Suites de Pieces de Clavencin – Gavotte (1728) as ‘After Rameau’ (arr. John Novacek) [4:59]
Kenji BUNCH (b.1973)
Crawlspace (1996) [5:05]
Hildegard von BINGEN (1098-1179)
Columba aspexit (arr. Patrick Zimmerli) [5:56]
Patrick ZIMMERLI
Stone and Steel (2008) [11:22]
Kristina Keiko Cooper (cello)
Satoshi Takeishi (percussion)
John Novacek (piano)
rec. Systems Two, NYC
LINUS 270103 [56:53]
Experience Classicsonline

This is different. These are arrangements for cello, piano and percussion of Medieval, Gregorian and Baroque pieces – with a couple of original compositions into the bargain. The focus of the disc is the cellist Kristina Keiko Cooper whilst in terms of arrangements the majority derive from Patrick Zimmerli. The ethos is jazz-tinged, or rock-influenced; Latin American dance rhythms have a strong element to play as well.
 
We start with Dido’s Lament, though I doubt it’s been ‘a pop hit for many centuries’ as the booklet suggests – that summons up the bizarre idea of electric guitars and flared trousers down the ages. The theme emerges after a Piazzollan mêlée of some drama. The other Purcell theme is the love song Hide Those Eyes in this arrangement by Kenji Bunch. This has Anglo-Chinese elements with the cello’s pizzicati adding a certain amount of tension whilst the piano offers mainly supportive chording. Zimmerli is back for a fast and combative Dowland revisiting of George Whitehead’s Allemand. The use of a Swedish snare drum in Satoshi Takeishi’s kit offers its own timbral authority. Quite jazzy, this one. The anonymous Gregorian chant Auctori vite psalmis is another piece arranged by Patrick Zimmerli. It has meditative nobility as befits the source material with a supportive piano and evocative percussive gestures. When things speed up they get progressively rockier and there’s an extensive cello cadenza from the disc’s primarius Kristina Keiko Cooper.
 
Rameau has a Caribbean beat, quite insistent and driving, but with a slow and reflective second part which works well. Dowland’s Flow My Tears is given a rumba treatment. Bunch’s original Crawspace was written for cello in 1996 and then transcribed for viola eight years alter. It tests the stamina and range of the cellist in a broadly rock-based context, heavily insistent and rhythmic; in fact guitar heroes prove to be a starting point for the composer – Hendrix, Jimmy Page and Van Halen. The longest track is Zimmerli’s own Stone and Steel, the work that gives its name to the album’s title. It was written for the CD and pays allusive homage to classical composers along the way – Gregorian chant and Brahms are specifically noted in the booklet as reference points. To me the Piazzollan influence is there again, so too a strongly lyric strength but a busy and jazz-sourced sound world as well.  To finish we have a back-to-the-future electronic version of Dido’s Lament.
 
There’s an attractive if occasionally vaporous booklet. If you’re a fan of Kristina Keiko Cooper – her booklet biography calls her ‘enchanting’ – you have four full colour photographs to enchant you. 
 
Jonathan Woolf 
 

 


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