The “ravishing” (The Herald) French-Canadian cellist Jean-Guihen Queyras makes his 92Y debut with three of the greatest works written for solo cello.
The program begins with one of Bach’s best-loved works follows, his first suite in G Major, a work which displays Bach’s mastery of harmony, and his veneration of the dance suite form. Then, Benjamin Britten’s passionately lyrical Third Suite, written for Rostropovich, is redolent of the Russian steppes. Employing three Russian folk tunes in its 9 movements, the sonata ends with a Passacaglia on the “Kontakion”—the Russian Orthodox hymn for the dead. Kodály’s fireworks-filled Sonata concludes the program, a piece which prompted critic Calum MacDonald to note that, “Had he written nothing else…Kodály would still deserve to be accounted one of the greatest musical geniuses that Hungary has ever produced.”