8 Cellists of the Sinfonieorchester Basel
The Eight Cellos
Even though the cover of the present recording centres on soprano Nuria Rial and the size of the font seems to confirm that she will be the most important interpreter of the works of this collection, actually the curiosity for the experiment which takes place here at first is stronger than the interest for her performance.
The present recording includes Astor Piazzolla’s Las Cuatro Estaciones Porteñas and Heitor Villa-Lobos’s Bachianas Brasileiras no. 5 re-arranged for eight cellos or for cello and voice, the popular Catalan song El Cant dels Ocells and the world premiere recording of Bernat Vivancos’s Vocal Ice, especially composed for Nuria Rial and the ensemble of eight cellists of the Sinfonieorchester Basel.
Why eight cellos? The idea originates from at least two premises: the first comes from the great cellist of the last century Pablo Casals, who wished for an entire orchestra made up of cellos. Berlioz was the second “mentor” when he wrote that «a cello section of eight or ten players is, essentially, a body of singers» in his Treatise on Instrumentation.
It is from these premises that ensembles made up of more than one hundred cellos established in the past years. Among these groups, there is the cello octet formed by cellists of the Sinfonieorchester Basel, founded in 2013.
Vocalise: The Performance
As the works listed above make you guess, in this recording a warm and radiant colour predominates by definition. The 8 Cellists of the Sinfonieorchester Basel naturally accentuate the languorous tone of Piazzolla’s and Villa-Lobos’s works. They plays with remarkable insight and skill, enlightening from time to time the melancholic or luminous tone of the works they perform.
As for soprano Nuria Rial, she is the ninth voice of the ensemble. Her instrument shares with the cellos the same smoothness and warmth and blends perfectly well with them. The best songs to exemplify this “connection” are in particular the first Bachianas Brasileiras and the amazing Vocal Ice. She is definitely a fine singers, capable of conveying the most varied emotions and feelings: she is lively and witty in a piece as Dança (Martelo), but she finds also melancholic accents and expressions.
Her best moment is definitely Vocal Ice. In this song, that in the composer’s intentions is «about love and consolation», her voice becomes crystalline and suave. In the voluntary lack of expression of her vocalize all the emotions that words cannot express can be easily guessed.