More musicians than ever are doing it for themselves.
Rather than waiting for some big label (or even a small
one) to record him, New York cellist Adam Grabois is
producing on his own.
“This level of artistic responsibility is unusual
in the production of recorded music; musicians normally
relinquish their control once they leave the recording
studio,” annotator T. Kaori Kitao writes in a
program note. “Instead … Grabois [has]
as nearly complete control as possible of the music
he brings to the listeners.”
In this first release, in which Grabois
performs on his 1998 Brooklyn-made instrument, the
Rachmaninoff Sonata is a striking vehicle for the cellist’s
variable tone. It sometimes seems almost vocal in
its ability to morph into different timbres. Grabois
his sound at the end of the third movement just to
the point of decay, and expands it to a triumphant
cheer in the last movement. Sometimes, the way he
plays with the sound of a single note has enough emotional
sustenance in it to launch a half-dozen distinct
in quick succession.
Grabois, a 1984 Swarthmore College
graduate, does similarly vocal things with Beethoven’s
variations on a theme from The Magic Flute. Nauman
is a partner
Along with the other works, the gauzy
Debussy reminds us, once again, that big-label devotees
experiencing every artist who deserves to be heard.