New Music for Cello and Piano

by Bob Edgerton

Ambassador Recording Company ARC1022 1999
P.O. Box 31112, Seattle, WA 98103

(The following does not necessarily represent the opinion of the Internet Cello Society or its representatives. It is the opinion of an individual ICS member.)

In the fall of 1999 the Krishnaswami-Salman Duo (Rajan Krishnaswami, cello, and Mark Salman, piano) toured the East coast with concerts in Boston, Pittsburgh, and New York City. They wound up the tour with a superb concert in their hometown of Seattle to a very appreciative audience in the Illsley Ball Nordstrom Recital Hall at Benaroya Hall.

Concertizing together since 1991 they have earned an enthusiastic audience and have explored together a wide range of musical material. They have specialized in commissioning new works by American composers. They savor energy, melody, wide ranges of mood, tonal, musical expressiveness with evocative phrases and they have been nurturing an audience that now appreciates their vision of contemporary musical composition.

Their first CD is a wonderful collection of pieces that embody all of these characteristics. Several pieces were commissioned by Rajan Krishnaswami and were written inspired by his musical personality. Others are written by composers that he knows and admires. The music was recorded in a long weekend recording session in the chapel of Bastyr University (Saint Thomas Seminary, Bothel, WA). The site was chosen because of the excellent acoustics in the chapel. The great care that was put into the recording is immediately felt when listening to the CD. The performance is very intimate and heartfelt. The quality of the sound of both the cello and piano is excellent.

The first piece by Samuel Zyman was written specially for Rajan in 1992 and is a powerful and expressive piece with the full range of emotion and thematic development. Zyman was born in Mexico and teaches composition at the Juilliard School in NYC. The second piece by David Stock was commissioned in 1998 by Rajan and is titled "Refuge". The melodies are beautiful and memorable. Full of rhythmic energy contrasting with lyrical melodies. A third piece by Lowell Liebermann was written in 1978 when he was 17. It is a youthful ambitious piece that shows his emerging remarkable talent. All three of these pieces are world premier recordings. The CD is rounded out by a fun piece by William Bolcom, a Seattle native now living in Ann Arbor, Michigan. It is titled "Capriccio" with each movement in a different style that includes a barcarole and a jazzy tango. The CD also includes two haunting numbers by Reza Vali inspired by Armenian and Persian folk songs. My only "criticism" of the CD is that it does not make good background music. Just as concerts require one to listen with full attention, this CD reaches out and connects with your heart and sole. It is concert music of the highest quality.

For information an availability of the CD contact: or call 206-283-3392.

Direct correspondence to the appropriate ICS Staff
Webmaster: "webmaster" Associate Webmaster: webmaster
Director: John Michel
Copyright © 1995- Internet Cello Society