Search This Blog

Tuesday, December 7, 2021

Sheku & Isata Kanneh-Mason, Muse, Barber and Rachmaninoff for Cello and Piano


Some music and artists seem promising straight off. That is what I felt opening up the mailer that contained cellist Sheku Kanneh-Mason and pianist Isata Kanneh-Mason's album Muse (Decca B0034635-02), It is an interesting assortment of short songs--with the cello taking the vocal parts--and a Cello Sonata each, all by two Late Romantic composers from two edges of the Western world, namely Samuel Barber and Sergei Rachmaninoff, from the USA and from Russia, two composers I have long appreciated, both entering my music experience beginning with the earlier days of my exploration of Classical 20th Century music.

The artists are brother and sister and they have had the good fortune to be playing the two Sonatas repeatedly on tour during the Fall of 2019, The pandemic cut short any continuation of the tour but by then they had grown into the works by a kind of concerted osmosis. So indeed these works plus the selected songs seemed like the perfect material for their recorded debut. And here we have it!

Both composers have in common an Expressionist emotive quality and a wayward insistence that their music go its way with an intensely personal originality, each of course in different ways, partially because of the way their music worlds contrast as heritages.

Not surprisingly both composers give the duo carefully conceived and personal yet idiomatic expressions for cello and piano. And the songs come through too as wholly appropriate in the cello-piano adoptions.

I have already come to know and love the Rachmaninoff Sonata so I got to hear how their interpretation differs from ones I have heard. I must say the flow and feelingful poise is in all ways worthy and first-rate. Though unfamiliar up until now with the Barber sonata it too convinces in its whole-cloth grasp of what is lurking inside every note.

There is nothing but good things to say about this program and the beautifully poetic presence of the Kanneh-Mason siblings. This is one to savor, in solitude or with some good people. This is Modern music that seeks a beauty we sometimes leave behind in our Space Age of being. Regain some of it here. Highly recommended!

No comments:

Post a Comment