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20.11.09

Sonia Wieder-Atherton Sings of the East

available at Amazon
Chants d'Est, Sinfonia Varsovia, S. Wieder-Atherton

(released on April 28, 2009)
Naïve V 5178 | 61'37"
Cellist Sonia Wieder-Atherton has made a niche for herself by avoiding the well-trodden paths of celebrity cellists, although her credentials -- Russian conservatory studies, lessons with Mstislav Rostropovich, a Mention at the Third Rostropovich Competition in 1986 (the year that Gary Hoffman won the Grand Prize and Jean-Guihen Queyras won the Prix Jeanne Marx) -- could have set her on that trajectory. A perusal of her concert schedule shows that she plays a lot of interesting chamber music, programs a lot of contemporary music on her solo concerts, and plays the occasional concerto, mostly ones written in the 20th century, with orchestras here and there. A few years ago we wrote about one of her collaborations with filmmaker Chantal Akerman, providing music that went with a screening of Akerman's film D'Est, and one of the cellist's abiding interests has been in music of Russia and central Europe, especially with Jewish roots.

Wieder-Atherton has been performing music from her new CD of Slavic music, Chants d'Est, in Europe, but with an ensemble other than the Sinfonia Varsova heard on the disc. In a One on One interview for Playbill Arts, Wieder-Atherton said that she conceived the program as "a journey of 24 hours," beginning with an arrangement of the Nunc dimittis from Rachmaninov's Vespers (so, a journey that begins in the darkness of late evening, I guess). The regions and peoples visited in this nocturnal peregrination include Hungary (Dohnányi's Ruralia Hungarica), Russia and Ukraine (Tcherepnin's Tatar Dance and Prokofiev's devastating The Field of the Dead from Alexander Nevsky), and Czechoslovakia (Franck Krawczyk's adaptations of Janáček's Moravian Folksongs and Martinů's Variations on a Slovak Folksong). The predominating mood is somber, imbued with a depressive gloom, culminating in the contemplation of total separation from life, in a moving, tender adaptation of Mahler's song Ich bin der Welt abhanden gekommen. It is a gorgeous CD for quiet listening, with smooth, emotionally expansive playing from the Sinfonia Varsovia, conducted in some tracks by Christophe Mangou.

Sonia Wieder-Atherton and the Niguna Ensemble will perform selections from this disc on their program at Le Poisson Rouge in New York this Monday (November 23, 7:30 pm).

1 comment:

Taylor V said...

What an incredible Cellist! I'm so looking forward to listening to her Chants d'Est. Thanks for sharing! Can't wait to hear how her Le Poisson Rouge concert goes.