ByGreg Cahill | From the November-December 2021 issue of Strings magazine
From the get-go, The Solo Album packs a punch. The opening strain of Giovanni Sollima’s Concerto Rotondo for solo cello sounds for all the world like the intro to Led Zeppelin’s grand “In the Light” from the Physical Graffiti album. The track features an alternative tuning and digitally processed effect—it’s startling in its scope and sweep.
Indeed, there’s nothing about this album that doesn’t captivate the listener. On seven modern works, Christoph Croisé delves into the realm of sonic possibilities. He includes the sonatas of Zoltán Kodály and György Ligeti, as well as Sollima’s Concerto Rotondo, and a group of shorter works: Some like to show it off by Thomas Buritch; Stonehenge by Péter Pejtsik; Sollima’s Alone; and Croisé’s own Spring Promenade (making its recording debut).
Croisé is a master not only of extended technique, but also beautiful timbre. His rendering of Dialogo from Ligeti’s Sonata for Solo Cello aches with yearning, as does the Adagio (con grand espessione) from Kodály’s somber Sonata for Solo Cello, Op. 8—Croisé has deep reverence for these masters. Buritch’s fancifully titled Some like to show it off dive bombs from high to low registers and provides an exhilarating exposition of the dynamic range and melodic sweep of this cherished stringed instrument. The Solo Album is an emotional thrill ride that testifies to the power of the cello when placed in the hands of a gifted virtuoso.