Cellist John-Henry Crawford’s New Album, “Voice Of Rachmaninoff”
Released on Orchid Classics, Crawford performs with pianist Victor Santiago Asuncion to celebrate Rachmaninoff’s 150th birthday
Celebrating the 150th anniversary of Rachmaninoff’s birth, cellist John-Henry Crawford and pianist Victor Santiago Asuncion explore the vocal qualities of Rachmaninoff’s melodies in selections, transcriptions, and arrangements from a range of his works.
The album comprises No.1 Elégie, Moderato, from Rachmaninoff’s Morceaux de Fantasie, Op. 3; Zdes Khorosho “How fair this spot,” from the 12 Romances, Op. 21 No. 7; and Ne poy krasavitsa pri mne “Oh never sing to me again,” from the 6 Songs, Op. 4 No. 4.
More tracks include Variation 18, Andante Cantabile, from Rhapsody on a theme of Paganini, Op. 43; Vocalise, Op. 34 No. 14; “Preghiera,” the second movement of Piano Concerto No. 2 in C Minor, Op.18, arranged by Fritz Kreisler and Shelbie Rassler; plus the Sonata for Cello and Piano in G Minor, Op.19, which forms the centerpiece of the album.
Due to his affinity for the instrument, the cello sonata is the only work Rachmaninoff wrote for any solo instrument other than piano.
“Rachmaninoff is most revered as a pianist and for his magnificent compositions for the instrument, but he also had a remarkable ability to sing through the soaring melodies one finds across his entire musical output,” Crawford wrote.
“This album celebrating his one hundred and fiftieth anniversary displays not only the power and richness of his piano writing, but also his extremely vocal style,” he continued.
“His romances for voice…show his heart on his sleeve while his Vocalise magnifies the human voice to an almost total purity, devoid of any given syllables or words,” he added. “This collection of works shows Rachmaninoff at his most nostalgic and illustrates how adept he was at fusing pianistic brilliance with rich soulful lyricism.”
To purchase and listen to the album, click here.
A video of “Preghiera” can be viewed below.
Crawford is a Louisiana-born cellist, whose 2021 debut album “Dialogo” on Orchid Classics appeared on the Billboard Top 10 chart, was top five on iTunes, and first on Amazon’s Classical New Releases.
A graduate of the Curtis Institute of Music, The Juilliard School, and the Manhattan School of Music, his mentors have included Peter Wiley, Carter Brey, Joel Krosnick, and Philippe Muller.
His accolades include first prize at the IX International Carlos Prieto Cello Competition, Young Artist of the Year by the Classical Recording Foundation, and the National Federation of Music Clubs’ 2021-2023 Young Artist in Strings. He performs on a rare 200-year-old European cello smuggled out of Austria by his grandfather, who evaded Kristallnacht in 1938, and a 1790 French Tourte bow.
A Filipino-American pianist, Victor Santiago Asuncion made his orchestral debut at the age of 18 with the Manila Chamber Orchestra and his New York recital debut at Carnegie Hall in 1999. He has since appeared in concert halls internationally as a recitalist and concerto soloist.
Also the founder of the FilAm Music Foundation and a Steinway artist, he received his doctorate in music in 2007 from the University of Maryland at College Park studying with Rita Sloan.
He has worked with conductors including Sergio Esmilla, Mei Ann Chen, Leon Fleisher, Michael Stern, Jordan Tang, and Bobby McFerrin, and performed chamber music with Cho-Liang Lin, Giora Schmidt, plus the Dover, Emerson, and Vega String Quartets.
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