Let There Be Cello
2018 / Portrait/Sony Masterworks
Review by Kathy Parsons
Let me preface this review by saying that the cello is my second favorite instrument (after the piano) and that I absolutely love it when artists have no musical boundaries. The latest album from the Croatian duo 2Cellos, Let There Be Cello, achieves perfection in both areas. I had seen some of their videos, but this is the first album I’ve heard and I am completely hooked. I spent most of last evening watching 2Cellos’ YouTube videos and am just blown away by Luka Sulic and Stjepan Hauser’s mastery of their instruments as well as their fearless combinations of musical styles from classical to hard rock to movie themes and beyond. For example, how often do you find a medley of Beethoven and Led Zeppelin that really works??? This album also features two original compositions, which are also compelling. From driving rhythms to elegant, soulful ballads, these two young artists can do it all and do it all well. If you are new to 2Cellos’ music, you have to check it out!
Let There Be Cello begins with “Concept2,” one of the original compositions. Dark, intense and edgy, it’s a great opener and makes it obvious that this isn’t your typical classical music album! “Eye of the Tiger” by a cello duo? Oh yes, the rock anthem from some of the Rocky movies is in very good hands here with a driving beat and a level of excitement that sends it soaring. Wow! The brief and more experimental “Cadenza” is the second original piece. Their duo’s stirring arrangement of Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah” is one of the most heartfelt arrangements I’ve heard. I love this song, and the simplicity of this version allows the bittersweet melody to really sing. Perfection! And speaking of that, Ed Sheeran’s “Perfect” is also given a gentle treatment that keeps the beautiful melody front and center. “Vivaldi Storm” returns to virtuoso excitement and power. “Whole Lotta Love (Medley)” begins with a section from Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony and then one of the cellists veers off into Led Zeppelin’s “Whole Lotta Love.” Before long, both are rocking out with a beat that makes it impossible to sit still while listening. Beethoven peeks in here and there, but this is really powerhouse rock! “Asturias Meets Carmen” is another fascinating medley that combines the Albinez piano (later, classical guitar) piece with themes from Bizet’s opera. Queen’s “The Show Must Go On” becomes even more of a heartbreaker as a cello duet - gorgeous! From that rock classic, we turn to John Lennon’s “Imagine,” played gently and simply, overflowing with grace and sincerity. The album closes with “Champions Anthem,” the official anthem of the UEFA Champions League - a triumphant ending to a magnificent musical achievement!
If you have an appreciation for a wide variety of music and virtuoso performances, Let There Be Cello is a must-have! It is available “everywhere,” including Amazon and iTunes. I give it my highest recommendation!
January 29, 2019