September 15, 2010

Alisa Weilerstein: Tiny Desk Concert ( Tom Huizenga, September 15, 2010, NPR: Tiny Desk Concert)

Alisa Weilerstein's cello career began with chicken pox. At about age 3, frustrated and itchy, little Alisa became mesmerized by a new toy. It was a miniature cello, crafted by hand by her grandmother. The body of the instrument was made from Rice Krispies boxes, and the endpin was an old toothbrush.

Something major must have clicked that day. Because now, some 25 years later, Weilerstein is one of today's top cellists, enjoying a globe-spanning career of performances with orchestras, chamber music concerts and recitals. [...]

For this Tiny Desk Concert, Weilerstein chose to juxtapose the old with the new — beginning with a pair of movements from J.S. Bach's Suite No. 3 for solo cello. [...]

In contrast to Bach, the new piece, Omaramor by Osvaldo Golijov, also has a story. Essentially, it's a wide-ranging, cinematic homage to the late, great Argentine tango singer Carlos Gardel.

Weilerstein's performance couldn't be more visceral and gripping. Her cello takes us through the back streets of Buenos Aires — sometimes violent, but always suffused with the soulful, restless spirit of Argentina's beloved tango.

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Posted by Orrin Judd at September 15, 2010 8:26 PM
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