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Zuill's Fiery Cello

10 MAR 09 VIVIEN SCHWEITZER

Accompanied by the San Francisco Ballet Orchestra and Martin West, the cellist Zuill Bailey makes an impressive Telarc debut with Russian Masterpieces For Cello And Orchestra -- demonstrating a rich, muscular tone, fiery technique and passionate musicality.

The disc opens with Tchaikovsky's "Variations on a Rococo Theme," which highlights the composer's affinity with Mozart. With striking commitment Bailey vividly illuminates the contrasting character of each of the seven movements, such as the lighthearted second variation and the soulful third.

The disc also includes a vivid performance of Tchaikovsky's "Pezzo Capriccioso" in B minor and a poetic rendition of Tchaikovsky's wistful "Nocturne in D minor," the composer's arrangement for cello and orchestra of his "Nocturne, Op. 19, No. 4" for solo piano.

There is a dramatic change of character from the poetic Nocturne to the biting wit of Shostakovich's "Concerto No. 1 in E-flat Major," composed for Mstislav Rostropovich, who had often performed the composer's cello sonata.

The first movement "Allegretto" is trademark Shostakovich, blending sardonic humor with fretful intensity and animated dialogue between cello and woodwinds. Bailey plays with subdued intensity in the second movement, fiery brio in the unaccompanied third movement Cadenza and jaunty panache in the concluding "Allegro con moto."

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    Tchaikovsky: Variations on a Rococo Theme ...

    Zuill Bailey, Martin West, San Francisco ...