By contrast, Alexander Suleiman's rendition of Alfred Schnittke's "Madrigal in Memoriam Oleg Kagan" demonstrated the cello as an unearthly mourner. With the opening E-G-A-G-A notes -- a play on Kagan's name -- the somber and long-fingered Suleiman coaxed tonally perfect cries from his instrument, seizing the audience's attention with his intense, mostly senza vibrato performance.
The day's last performer, Ruslan Biryukov, attacked Astor Piazzola's "La Grand Tango" as though his life depended on it. Despite a little trouble with his double-stops, Biryukov poured passion through his instrument, playing with sonorous authority that was occasionally overwhelmed by the grand piano accompaniment.
In a city obsessed with what's new, it seemed only fitting for the Los Angeles Violoncello Society to have presented a recital of contemporary cello works. Sunday's free concert featured additional performances by Stephen Custer, Jerry Kessler, Jakub Omsky, Daniel Rothmuller, Marek Szpakiewicz, and Maxim Velichkin.
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