Crossings – New Music for Cello (CD Review)

Crossings – New Music for Cello

Kate Dillingham, cello; Amir Khosrowpour, piano

Furious Artisans Recordings


On Crossings, cellist Kate Dillingham brings energetic artistry to a program of new works. The CD includes a number of solo pieces. Bhakti 4, “Atma Shatakam” (Song of the Self), by Jonathan Pieslak, pairs a meditative modal melody over a drone. Tian Jing Sha, by Yuan-Chen Li, calls upon the cellist to sing in delicate tones alongside a vigorously arpeggiated accompaniment rife with trills. Behold the Lamb of God by Jorge Muniz  is a supple work, its ardent melodic lines creating a rhapsodic ambience that alternates with brusquely repeated notes. Chemin, Three Episodes, and Aria for solo cello by Federico Garcia de Castro exploits the cello’s full range in insistent low double stops, long glissandos, and penetrating harmonics. These surround a mid-range melodic thread built out of unconventional scalar fragments. David Fetherolf’s E io li tenni dietro is an extended suite featuring a variety of demeanors and playing techniques. Passages of pizzicato (plucked) figures, multi-stops, and harmonics are complemented by dancing figures and moody angular melodies.

Joined for duos by pianist Amir Khosrowpour, Dillingham digs in to Gilbert Galindo’s Almost Within Reach, relishing its passionate long breathed melodies and altissimo register cries. Khosrowpour is equally impressive, performing limpid cascades and stentorian chordal outbursts with precision and forceful authority. Allen Schulz’s A Dance of Shadows finds the duo in a dramatic colloquy filled with syncopated gestures and brusquely dissonant verticals. The recording’s highlight, Adagio pour Amantani  by Gabriela Lena Frank, is an expansive and beautiful piece, filled with lyrical cello recitatives and soaring passages for the piano. Frank’s harmonic language is intriguingly varied, at some points incorporating triadic writing while at others delving into more intricate chromaticism. Crossings does indeed provide an intersection between a multiplicity of compositional voices and aesthetics. It is unified by the commitment and considerable capabilities brought to each and every performance on the recording. Recommended.



Vijay Iyer Trio – “Break Stuff” (Video preview)

Pianist Vijay Iyer’s latest ECM release, Break Stuff, is out in the US on February 10. The recording features bassist Stephan Crump, and drummer Marcus Gilmore. Encompassing compositions by Monk and Coltrane, an homage to early hip hop, excerpts from Iyer’s Open City project and from a suite premiered at MoMA, Break Stuff may access far flung influences, but it is crystallized by the trio’s incendiary playing and excellent rapport.