Clancy Newman and Natalie Zhu's New CD: "From Method to Madness: The American Sound"


Cellist Clancy Newman and pianist Natalie Zhu recently released their newest disc on Albany Records. Titled From Method to Madness: The American Sound, the album explores four American works, all dating from the last 100 years.

Opening the album is Kenji Bunch's Broken Music. The work was written specifically for Newman, and he gave the premiere at Lincoln Center in 2003. Now, two decades later, it is receiving its premiere recording also. This work is followed by a 2008 work of Newman's, the titular From Method to Madness, which is also being recorded for the first time.

Two twentieth-century pieces round out the disc. Samuel Barber's Sonata for Cello and Piano is an early work, written while he was still a student, and was on vacation in Europe with fellow composer Gian Carlo Menotti.

The final work on the album is Lukas Foss's Capriccio for Cello and Piano, a 1946 work that had its premiere at Tanglewood the following year. It was written for the cellist Gregor Piatigorsky, and Foss himself remarked on the Americanness of its compositional style.

"I feel connected with this program because of the way it reflects this ever-changing world that we live in, in an organic and incisive way," said Zhu of the works on the disc.

"The first time Natalie and I played this music together, it was at the height of the pandemic," added Newman. "I will always associate it with that turbulent time, deeply personal, when life, art and music all seemed to take on a deeper meaning."

"There is so much variety, so much richness, and so much beauty encompassed in these four works by American composers."

You can hear the duo's recording of the Barber sonata below.


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