“Cello, Celli!” – The Yale Cellos, directed by Aldo Parisot – BRUBECK: Elegy; Regret; God’s Love Made Visible; Cello, Celli; The Desert and the Parched Land; BACH: Brandenburg Concerto No. 3; Jesus Christ Je t’implore; Brandenburg Concerto No. 6 – Naxos 8.557816, 65:10 ****:
Keep in mind that I’m nuts about ensembles involving multiple groupings of similar instruments, and cello ensembles are one of my favorites. One of my own recordings of which I am most proud is a cello quartet. It looks like there are about 16 members of this ensemble, and their director is one of the world’s leading cellists – who has made many recordings. In fact I seem to remember the very first stereodisc of classical repertory I bought a Counterpoint LP featuring Parisot. He concertized throughout the world and had many works dedicated to him. In fact Villa-Lobos’ Cello Concerto No. 2 was written for him. His Delos CD with this ensemble – Bach Bachianas, got a Grammy nomination in 1988. Parisot has evidently been a superb teacher for the members of this ensemble.
The combination of Bach and Brubeck is not at all strange here. Both were/are great improvisers and both wrote/write important liturgical works. Brubeck is also a friend of Parisot and a Duke Ellington Fellow at Yale University. The two Bach Brandenburgs were transcribed for the ensemble by Claude Kenneson. They lack the variety of instrumental sounds of the original – including the harpsichord – though they benefit from the rich massed sounds of the cello ensemble. The intonation in these two selections could be more precise. The Brubeck pieces – mostly coming from his various liturgical works of recent years – were edited by Derek Snyder. If you also appreciate the rich string tone of the cello – probably the most-loved string instrument – I recommend this delightful disc!
– John Sunier