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Anastasia Kobekina : Venice Review

Anastasia Kobekina : Venice Review

Anastasia-Kobekina-sound-in-review-cdSony Classical’s recent unveiling of Venice by cellist Anastasia Kobekina marks a pioneering venture into the depths of classical and baroque music through the lens of Venice’s evocative landscapes. The album displays Kobekina’s unparalleled musicianship and bold journey through a city that has captivated her imagination and artistic exploration. Kobekina, celebrated for her almost overwhelming sincerity and fearless artistry, navigates through this repertoire of twenty-three selections, embracing a range of modern and baroque cello techniques with an imaginative flair that is fascinating.

Venice is a concept album where Kobekina embarks on an introspective quest, questioning the authenticity of our collective imagery of Venice. The album captures a personal dialogue between the musician and the city, exploring its multifaceted character and how it resonates with each visitor uniquely. Kobekina’s interpretation of Venice combines a tangible city and an ethereal idea for a profound musical exploration.

The selection of pieces in Venice spans from the Renaissance works of Claudio Monteverdi and John Dowland to contemporary compositions by Brian Eno and Caroline Shaw, featuring an array of guest artists and the Basel Chamber Orchestra. This wide-ranging repertoire highlights Kobekina’s versatility and her deep connection with the city’s historical and imaginative aspects. The inclusion of Barbara Strozzi and Antonio Vivaldi, among others, bridges the gap between the city’s illustrious musical past and its present-day echoes.

Kobekina’s rendition of “Lamento d’Arianna” by Monteverdi displays her technical finesse and emotional depth. Vivaldi’s “Cello Concerto in A Minor, RV 419: III. Allegro” shows her ability to convey the piece’s expressions and quick lines on the cello, with precise intonation and dynamic control, exemplifies her deep understanding of the music’s underlying emotions. Of Vivaldi, Kobekina says: ‘There are such extreme contrasts in Vivaldi’s music, especially between the orchestra and soloist, it’s as if between sun and shade. There is this almost physical feeling of getting picked up and carried off in the waves. An unconscious dance, eternal, as if beating a rhythm innate in all of us, movement as the root of music. It is so easy to get swept away in.’

Similarly, her interpretation of “Emerald and Stone” captures the song’s melancholy with graceful phrasing and nuanced vibrato, allowing the cello to become a conduit for the song’s poignant narrative. Her patience in sculpting the melody is outstanding as she builds each phrase with purpose and continuity.

The serene “II. Largo” from Vivaldi’s Cello Concerto in E-flat Major, RV 408, highlights Kobekina’s lyrical phrasing and introspective expressiveness. Her dialogue with the orchestra and the piece’s counterpoint sections reveals a balanced texture and a conversational quality that is engaging and reflective. Kobekina’s approach to Vivaldi, recognizing the contrast between soloist and orchestra as akin to sunlight and shade, showcases her innate understanding of the emotional and physical aspects of music-making.

Venice is about the cello and a broader exploration of music as a form of human expression, akin to the natural communicative power of the human voice. Kobekina’s ambition to transcend technical mastery in favor of reaching the listener on a profoundly personal level is evident throughout the album. Her music becomes a direct channel of expression, aiming to touch the listener’s soul beyond the confines of conventional musical interpretation.

Anastasia Kobekina’s Venice is an audacious and captivating exploration of the city’s essence through the medium of classical music. The album significantly contributes to the classical music landscape, offering listeners an immersive journey into Venice’s heart. Kobekina’s masterful command of baroque and modern cello literature, coupled with her imaginative approach and emotional sincerity, makes Venice a landmark album redefining our musical perceptions of the city. Through Kobekina’s eyes—and strings—Venice is reimagined as a place of infinite inspiration, where music bridges the past and the present, inviting us to ponder our relationship with this timeless city.


Anastasia Kobekina: Website

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Anastasia Kobekina

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February 2, 2024


Sony Classical

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