Electric Review

Culture & Criticism Since 2003

A Life In the Light

LA VOCE DEL VIOLONCELLO: SOLO WORKS OF THE FIRST ITALIAN CELLIST-COMPOSERS. Elinor Frey. With Esteban La Rotta and Susie Napper. Passacaille Records.

The cello adorning the cover of LA VOCE DEL VIOLONCELLO was built by composer Domenico Galli for the great Duke Francesco II d’Este in 1691; its ornate complexion reflecting the beauty and pain of the period. Following suit, Frey’s interpretation of these classic compositions adds another layer to a timeless story.

Music is about the sound of feel – about the marriage of vibration to the invisible nuances of mind as real-time books of pictures are created in the eye of the listener. It’s a process that you can’t really explain: Each movie and each journey is as personal as the two people creating it – artist and listener forever joined by this spontaneous collaboration that occurs on two distinct and separate planes.

Furthermore, this relationship is never more stunning than when it occurs in conjunction with the classical genre: The ethereal nature of classical music (so heavily predicated on strings and piano) allows for an instant connection that spans centuries, stitching the wonders of artistic expression to the ordinary moments of life.

In La Voce del Violoncello, Elinor Frey provides an in depth examination of the cello (spanning a 75 year period from the mid 17th century through the death of Neapolitan composer Francesco Supriani). Quite simply – this album is a tour de force that endeavors to chronicle the instrument’s most fertile period.

Here, we are presented with a record of the first Italian cellist-composers – the ones who wrote the secret bloom of the instrument’s language into a melodic garden with ten thousand doors and twenty thousand rooms – each line resonating deeper than fever through tongue of wound.

In La Voce del Violoncello, Frey gives a virtuoso performance: Her playing layered and instinctual, at one with the breadth of the notes. As you listen to the pieces on this recording, you come to realize that Frey is not merely playing music, but instead, feeling the impulses of the compositions rise through her being – pulsating through blood, consuming flesh and bones.

In essence, these songs are about a life in the light, and Frey’s mastery of the cello allows her to transcend present time and go back: venturing though webs of sky and wind, reconnecting with the vision of the men who first heard a faint creaks of sound in their minds and then somehow wove them into actual panes of music.

In the end, music tastes of blood, reuniting random men with the same path their ancestors walked – binding estranged spirits, bridging the gulfs and chasms that separate me from you. And that’s just how La Voce del Violoncello works: Frey, hundreds of years removed from the origin of these compositions, was nonetheless able to hurl them back into life because she heard their ghosts talking to her – melding their voices with her voice via the wholly original tones of this free-standing violin.

Stand-out cuts include: “Sonata in A-minor” (Anonymous); “Sonata Quinta” (Galli) – note the way the cello becomes nearly breathless here as the piece swells and wanes and writhes at the mercy of Frey’s brilliant fingers; and “Toccata Qunita” (Supriani).

Notwithstanding the fact that these three pieces stand tall, there isn’t a weak cut on the album; in point of fact, the thread of cohesion is absolute: the record building in chapters, telling a complete story with its secret webs of melody.

In turn, La Voce del Violoncello records the heartbeat of the cello in real-time, painting a portrait of “classical music” at its finest hour.

See here for more information.

by John Aiello


One comment on “A Life In the Light

  1. Pingback: Elinor Frey Revisited | Electric Review

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This entry was posted on August 1, 2013 by in 2013, August 2013, In the Spotlight, Rat On Music and tagged , , .
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