Cellist Paul York's 2008 album on the Centaur label, cleverly entitled Cello Vision, portrays the instrument in a variety of different settings, clearly demonstrating its vast versatility. Though all of the works heard here, six in total, were composed in the 21st century, each of them is entirely accessible to listeners and tend to favor lyricism and beauty of tone over pure virtuosity or extended techniques. York's diverse selection of repertoire finds the cello joined by piano (Freund's Toccata for Cello and Piano and Rouse's Sonata for Cello and Piano), a chorus of seven cellos (Kernis' Ballad for Solo Cello and Seven Cellos), marimba (Speck's Night Moves for Cello and Marimba), wind ensemble (Brink's Open Four), and finally cello solo (Satterwhite's Witness of Time). York does a marvelous job of integrating his instrument's sound into these highly contrasting accompaniments. Perhaps the most intriguing combination of sounds is achieved in Night Moves with the dark, mysterious tone of the marimba coupled with the lyrical, singing voice of the cello. York's sound quality and intonation is quite nice throughout the album, with the possible exception of more glaring intonation difficulties in Satterwhite's work for solo cello. This is also the least accessible piece on the program, though the liner notes help relate what is being portrayed in the music. Centaur's recorded sound is generally good, but because each work was recorded in a different time and in a couple of different venues, there's some definite inconsistency from piece to piece.
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AllMusic Review by Mike D. Brownell
|Sonata for Cello and Piano|