Stjepan Hauser

Classic

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The mononymous Hauser is cellist Stjepan Hauser, one half of the wildly successful crossover duo 2Cellos. The other half, Luka Šulić, made his solo debut in 2019, shortly before the release of Hauser's album, with an album devoted to transcriptions of Vivaldi's Four Seasons violin concertos. With Classic, as promised by the title, Hauser also moves in the direction of classical repertory as compared with the albums of 2Cellos, which are mostly devoted to cello arrangements of Michael Jackson, AC/DC, and the like. Even the crossover items here, by pianist Yiruma and songwriter Lucio Dalla (Caruso), would likely land in the classical bins. The rest consists of famous classical tunes, arranged for cello, including a lot of Mozart. Yet in a way, Hauser is closer to the 2Cellos sound than his partner, who delivered a tweaked but recognizable Four Seasons. Although the album was recorded in London's venerable Henry Wood Hall, producer Nick Patrick mashes the sound down and removes the dynamics and any trace of an edge; even when the orchestra is replaced with piano accompaniment, the sound is so diffuse that you hardly notice. The advantage of this is listeners wanting a mellow, relaxing sound will get exactly what they want, with Hauser's warm cello going down very easily. A further positive is that the Barber Adagio for strings, in an effective cello-and-orchestra arrangement, makes a strong conclusion. The downside is that the overall mood has very little contrast or variety. It's safe to say that 2Cellos fans in the main will enjoy this, but it will be interesting to see whether the styles of the two principals continue to diverge.

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