Saturday, December 11, 2010

Listen Magazine: Awadagin Pratt & Zuill Bailey record Brahms cello-piano sonatas for Telarc

[Zuill Bailey and Awadagin Pratt (Listen Magazine, photo by Lisa-Marie Mazzucco)]

Drawn to Brahms: Cellist Zuill Bailey and pianist Awadagin Pratt find a connection. Article by Donald Rosenberg in Winter 2010 issue of Listen: Life With Classical Music, published quarterly by The two musicians were recording a CD scheduled to be issued by Telarc in March, 2011.

“Cellist Zuill Bailey and pianist Awadagin Pratt were immersed in day two of a four-day project to record the two iconic cello-piano sonatas, transcriptions of seven songs, and Sonatensatz, which a twenty-year-old Brahms composed as the scherzo of a violin sonata with other movements by Robert Schumann and Albert Dietrich in honor of Joseph Joachim.”

“For extroverted, Virginia native Bailey and the soft-spoken, Pittsburgh-born Pratt, the experience was the culmination of a journey that began at a ping-pong table at the Meadowmount School of Music in 1986 (where Pratt was enrolled as a violinist). They ran into each other several years later at the Peabody Conservatory in Baltimore but didn't make music together until 1998. 'It was so deep when we started playing together that we started laughing,' says Bailey, professor of cello at the University of Texas at El Paso and a rising star in the cello world.”

“Although they'd spent a few days rehearsing in Cincinnati, where Pratt is on the faculty at the University of Cincinnati-College of Music, in the studio they encountered typical distractions and frustrations – a creaking chair or a piano needing adjustment.” “After an extended take that riveted everyone in the control booth, Pratt earned praise from recording engineer Bruce Leek: 'Awadagin, awesome. You don't take any prisoners.'”

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