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Beiser, Maya: Provenance

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Album Review

Taking the well-established route of solo explorations in between any number of collaborative appearances, cellist Maya Beiser continues in her exploration of a wide variety of compositional impulses. The earliest track that surfaced from the album was also the most familiar — a reworking of Led Zeppelin's stately "Kashmir," which keeps the familiar elegance of the hard rock warhorse while bringing out the sense of the song's roots in Middle Eastern musics. Here it appears as the calm conclusion for Provenance, but the other selections are the more compelling as a result. Djavan Gasparyan contributes "Memories," very much in the vein of much of the Armenian composer's work on duduk; hearing Beiser apply her preferred instrument to the slow swoop of the composition is equally compelling listening. In contrast, "I Was There," written by Kayhan Kalhor, balances between a similarly slow unfolding of an arrangement, a sense of a steady muse via Beiser's performance as well as that of her collaborators on percussion and electronics, and sudden quick bursts of energy, always set against distant sonic textures. The addition of guitar as a counterpoint is a sudden thrill as the whole arrangement then becomes more upbeat and gently celebratory set against the steadier drumming. It's the standout of the disc as a whole, though the melodramatic "Mar de Leche," thanks to its guest vocals adding a romantic tinge, has its own compelling edge as well.

Customer Reviews

Beautiful and moving

Maya Beiser has always produced magnificent music, but she reaches new heights with Provenance. The playing is virtuosic and flawless (no surprise there), the mix is wonderful, and the pieces themselves are simply fabulous. Maya Beiser is the benchmark for contemporary cello, and Provenance is a testament to that. Highly recommended.

Rock classic

Wonderful spin on the Led Zeppelin classic!


I liked Kashmir


Genre: Classical

Maya Beiser has etched a bold career path that marries classical to rock, starched collars to casual dress, and tradition to unorthodoxy. With an eclectic repertory of works by John Tavener, Tan Dun, Osvaldo Golijov, Philip Glass, Steve Reich, Led Zeppelin, and many others from all over the musical map, she plays what many call indie-classical or alternative classical. However one defines her, Beiser clearly enters the world of contemporary music with a willingness to take risks. Her freewheeling...
Full Bio
Beiser, Maya: Provenance, Maya Beiser
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Customer Ratings