Illuminations - Suite for Solo Cello - CD SKPST020


Illuminations - Suite for Solo Cello - CD SKPST020


Illuminations - Suite for Solo Cello - CD#SKPST020

  • Erik Friedlander, cello

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Produced by Erik Friedlander

Recorded April 14, 2014 at Let Em In Studios in Brooklyn

Recorded by Scott Solter

Mixed by Erik Friedlander

Mastered by Silas Brown at Legacy Mastering

Design by Vanessa No Heart

ILLUMINATIONS, cellist Erik Friedlander’s latest solo release was originally commissioned by the Jewish Museum in New York City which hosted an exhibit of ancient books from Oxford University’s Bodleian Collection.  The exhibit  brought together ancient illuminated texts in Arabic, Latin and Hebrew.

“I found myself in this darkened room surrounded by these gorgeous books and manuscripts that seemed to be talking to me. They were telling me a story of patience and craft, ritual and dedication that was inspiring.”

Friedlander has worked on the Bach suites throughout his life as a cellist and he used the suite form as a launching point for ILLUMINATIONS. Friedlander begins the suite with the meditative Invocation.  The Prelude (subtitled Scriptorium) that follows is a furious moto perpetuo with an improvisatory pizzicato interlude. “I was inspired by Bach’s Preludes which are technically challenging and musically formidable. Scriptorium is a serious place where work gets done.  Scribes sometimes spent their entire lives working in this room.” Instead of the French dances most often used in the Bach suites (Allemande, Courante, Bouree, and Gigue) Friedlander chose instead to compose using vocal forms, Chants and Madrigals as well as dances of his own choosing: Cham is a hypnotic, trance-like piece named for the mystical Tibetan dance; the Tarantella is a ⅞ dance of madness named for the infamous serpent who tempts Eve; a Fantasia is a free, improvisational meditation and Kaddish is a mourner’s prayer.  The suite finishes with Pavan, a dedication to Hildegard von Bingen, the 12th century mystic and composer.

ILLUMINATIONS weaves inspirations from ancient book making with ritual dance movements and Renaissance vocal forms.  At times, the listener may feel he or she is hearing a lute or a gamba.

Says Friedlander, "I'm always trying to tell a story with my playing and in 'Illuminations' it's all about a world that's lit by candles and has the smell of leather and parchment."

  1. Invocation - Seshat

  2. Prelude - Scriptorium

  3. Madrigal - Siddur

  4. Chant - Illuminations

  5. Cham - Hypnotique

  6. Tarantella - The Serpent

  7. Fantasia - Zodiac

  8. Chant - Kaddish

  9. Madrigal - The Virgin & The Unicorn

  10. Pavan - Hildegard

Release date: April 21, 2015