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Cook releases 2-CD set for MSR Classics

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Kim Cook, distinguished professor of cello, recorded a 2-CD set for MSR Classics released in December 2018. The CDs include three solo cello concertos with the St. Petersburg State Symphony in Russia: Richard Strauss’ Don Quixote, and cello concertos by Robert Schumann and Edward Elgar. Also included is a re-issue of an earlier recording of the Cello Concerto by Antonin Dvorak with the Bohuslav Martinu Philharmonic. Gerardo Edelstein, director of orchestral studies at Penn State, conducts the works by Strauss and Dvorak, and Arkady Shteinlucht of St. Petersburg conducts Elgar and Schumann. Critics have lauded Cook's interpretations of these pieces as "superb" (Atlanta Audio Club) and "radiant and ecstatic" (Fanfare), and they have praised her "sumptuous tone" (Infodad). Henry Vogel of Fanfare stated, "An amazing performance by Cook…I'd put this performance [of Don Quixote] in the same class as the Szell/Fournier/Cleveland version."

Cook said it was exciting to record Richard Strauss' Don Quixote with the St. Petersburg State Symphony. "This work is one of the most fascinating and inspired pieces in the classical literature.  Richard Strauss takes Cervantes' novel Don Quixote and attempts to musically illustrate his fantasy world and story. Strauss employs the cello to represent the character of Don Quixote. He creatively utilizes the orchestra to express Don Quixote's journey to conquer the world, including a wind machine for the magic carpet, flutter-tonguing winds for bleating sheep and deliberate slides to represent yawning and snoring. We hear lyrical expressions of his daydreaming and of his yearning for Dulcinea. At the end, Strauss portrays Don Quixote as he comes to his senses in an emotionally moving reflection on his life, and in a final death scene, the cello climbs higher and higher representing his gradual ascent into heaven, followed by the gasp of his last breath—a final glissando to the lowest register of the cello."

Cook has released a total of nine CDs, including concertos by Haydn, Lalo, Saint-Saens, Shostakovich and Tchaikovsky; solo works by Kodaly, Crumb and Hindemith; trios by Brahms and Ravel; and a recent Naxos CD of premieres of Paul Reale, which won a Top 5 Issue Award for 2018 from Fanfare.

The CD is available on Amazon https://www.amazon.com/Elgar-Schumann-Dvor%C3%A1k-Concertos-Strauss/dp/B07L5ZD6N5.