Ian Maksin

Solo Flight

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Cellist Ian Maksin's self-produced album entitled Solo Flight consists of a somewhat unimaginative program played even more unimaginatively. Maksin opens with the first two solo cello suites of J.S. Bach. While there is clearly nothing wrong with programming either of these cornerstones of the repertoire, to do so as a young musician like Maksin comes with the expectation that something exceptional or different would be present. Instead, Maksin's Bach is rigid and uninspiring. His left-hand technique is quite solid -- wonderful intonation and nimble playing -- but his left arm is constantly heavy in the string and almost brutal at times. There's a great deal of production noise to be heard, and the seemingly close placement of the microphones only exacerbates this problem. There are even tracks when the microphone placement seems totally different, making for jarring and unwelcome changes in sound quality. Maksin's instrument also produces a much brighter, more stringent sound on its A-string than the neighboring D-string, again producing undesirable changes in sound. Maksin concludes his program with Gaspar Cassadó's Suite for Solo Cello. Here, too, Maksin focuses so much on producing a big, powerful sound that it comes across as forced and harsh. Meanwhile, subtle musical considerations are glossed over leaving listeners yearning for a mature, thoughtful performance throughout.

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