Album liner notes that start off with effusive, self-laudatory praise raise eyebrows as they often do not deliver on their promises. In the case of this Analog Arts album, Cello Populus, cellist, producer, recording engineer, and editor Dariusz Skoraczewski actually does give listeners what he says: a solo cello album with staggeringly beautiful sound quality. Is it vastly superior quality to virtually every other such album available? Probably not, but Skoraczewski does have something special to offer in both his playing and his ear for recorded sound. Skoraczewski's program begins with the 1923 Hindemith Solo Sonata, Op. 25/3, and progresses through works from the last half of the 20th century by Bacewicz, Crumb, Ligeti, Penderecki, Lutoslawski, and Saariaho. In each case, Skoraczewski plays with remarkably precise technique: intonation, articulation, shifts, and dynamics are all superb. He also incorporates vivid, sweeping musical gestures that instantly grab the attention of the listeners as he guides them through what, for most, is largely unfamiliar literature. His tone is rich and dark on the lower strings, clear and penetrating in the higher registers, and is seamlessly connected between the two. Put together all of these attributes and the result is a truly exceptional album that leaves listeners eagerly waiting for another installment.
Cello Populus Review
by Mike D. Brownell