Massenet Meditation from Thais
Soloist soars with 17th-century cello
Cellist Zuill Bailey, guest soloist with the Honolulu Symphony this week, performed on a 1693 Matteo Gofriller cello that had an absolutely gorgeous tone.
Bailey sounded as though playing is both privilege and joy.
His choice of music, Tchaikovsky's Variations on a Rococo Theme, Op. 33, displayed his breadth of style. Much like blues in jazz, theme-and-variations pieces consist of a recurring framework for varied improvisation or invention.
Bailey played passionately, with Romantic abandon, using dramatic shadings — delicate, even fragile pianissimos, wild flights of virtuosity, aching melodies, fiery discourse. Musician and instrument were a good match, speaking clearly as one voice.
In encore, Bailey performed an arrangement of Jules Massenet's "Meditation for Thais," which was composed for violin but, as Bailey explained, "Everything sounds better on cello."
By Ruth O. Bingham
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