Reviews from the Cabrillo Festival performance of Azul featuring cellist Alisa Weilerstein.
Metro Santa Cruz
Santa Cruz Sentinel
The Sacremento Bee
"Weilerstein sang through Golijov's long-noted lines, storming or gossamer-light or evoking the slow, earthy grandeur of Bach. They mixed and merged with the reedy folk-techno-whoosh of the accordion (Michael Ward-Bergemen) and the Dionysian rustlings of percussion (Baptista and Jamey Haddad), while the orchestra hovered, a luminous cloud (those trombones! those horns!), with Alsop fine-tuning the proceedings across four movements.
And yet some of the work's best moments happened when the orchestra melted away, like precious metals vanishing to leave Weilerstein and the other soloists — perhaps representing Bach and all the musicians of the world — to a Baroque-raga jam session. Crazy, beautiful stuff."
"...an accordionist (playing a whooshing, digitally enhanced instrument, like a folk musician from outer space..."
"...wizardly Cyro Baptista, sporting a pair of gigantic red eyeglasses, looking like Merlin as a rock star."
"Osvaldo Golijov’s uncategorisable Azul, in its revised version, simply beguiled. The Argentine-born composer mines Indian ragas, finds inspiration in baroque forms and the poetry of Neruda and conjures sonorities that seem both to hover in the air and pierce the heart. Cellist Alisa Weilerstein has succeeded Yo-Yo Ma as this work’s prime interpreter; her collaboration with hyper-accordionist Michael Ward-Bergeman and percussionists Jamey Haddad and Cyro Baptista, both rhapsodic and visceral, set the standard for the festival."