"Superhumans come in all forms. In this case, they have arrived in the form of Andrea Casarrubios, Shostakovich and Van Gogh" ● ABC Classic, Best Classical Music Albums 2019
"The most emotionally resonating part of the entire concert was the solo performance of Andrea Casarrubios’ “SEVEN” ... Woefully deserved, Mesa’s rendition was greeted by a standing ovation from the Madison faithful, proving to be among the standout performances of the night." ● The Badger Herald
"With this album (Caminante), Andrea Casarrubios, with great sensitivity and compositional imagination, has taken music and emotions closer to the ears of people who dwell upon this planet Earth." ● Michael Thallium: Andrea Casarrubios, The Wayfarer Of The Strings and The World
“SEVEN is a hauntingly beautiful tribute… a work that will grip your heart and punch you in the stomach in the most beautiful, cathartic, and absolutely necessary way” ● Crystal Bick, This Time Tomorrow
"A wide range of works that take you in with interpretations in which the cellist plays the lead role. (The album) is authentic and fascinating through Andrea Casarrubios' expressive, virtuoso, powerful and elegant game." ● Jan de Kruijff, Musikalifeiten
RECORDINGS & PROGRAM NOTES:
Sonia for cello and piano (2023)
This work was commissioned by cellist Thomas Mesa for the Sphinx Medal of Excellence Ceremony and written in honor of Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor. The music attempts to capture her humanity: the determination, generosity of spirit, thoughtfulness and dedication that characterize Justice Sotomayor both on and off the bench.
Armadura (Armor) for solo cello (2022)
The seed for both the concept and the music developed while spending time with the sketches and words of Mexican artist Frida Kahlo from 1953: La vida callada... dadora de mundos... which can be translated as "The silent life... giver of worlds." This description of the inner world immediately resonated with me, yet I couldn't help consider the cost; the energy necessary to protect that space, the worlds that coalesce within it, and how easily — particularly in an age of social media — that center can be disrupted. Armadura is an attempt to evoke these contrasting yet linked phenomena: the silent life and sometimes self-imposed fortress, the fragility of the nascent worlds within and the effort exerted to protect them. The music is founded on a heartbeat rhythm, which increases in intensity over time until we reach the end of the work, when the main theme is presented one last time, unprotected, with honesty and simplicity. This work was commissioned by EXTENSITY Concert Series. 8'
Anthem (2022) for String Orchestra or for cello quartet
Commissioned by the University of Iowa and Anthony Arnone for the 20th Anniversary of Cello Dayz, Anthem is an introspective work conceived as a personal anthem. This music evokes the process and, ultimately, the acceptance of letting go of what is not in my control. I was inspired by the idea of an anthem as a way to provide solace and guidance, and it is my hope that those playing or listening can use this music as a release. 5'
The Airport Jog (2022) for cello choir or cello quartet
Commissioned by The University of Iowa and Anthony Arnone for the 20th Anniversary of Cello Dayz, The Airport Jog is a humorous short piece that refers to the many questions posed to cellists — equal parts earnest and hilarious — while en route to their gate at the airport. These conversations interrupt the flow of their walk, resulting in the occasional dead sprint to make their flight while loaded like a pack animal. 3'
Silbo (2021) for cello and piano
This work takes inspiration from the fascinating whistling languages that have existed in territories worldwide, developed to communicate from across long distances. Each whistling language has its own codification, tied to its history and heritage. For example, the origins of Silbo Gomero are associated with the language of Guanche, spoken in the Canary Islands during pre-hispanic times. Silbo Gomero not only has been preserved, but has recently been granted UNESCO World Heritage status. This duo for cello and piano was commissioned by the Cello Teaching Repertoire Consortium in collaboration with the University of Rochester's Eastman School of Music. The cello often utilizes harmonics that create a sound world imitating whistles, and these are combined with dance rhythms inspired by traditional music of La Gomera island. 6'
Amid a Place of Stone (2020) for solo violin
Amid a Place of Stone was commissioned by Emily Daggett Smith and funded by the Andy Warhol Foundation and the Hudson Arts Program. This piece, conceived during the 2020 pandemic and the ensuing crisis in the performing arts, combines nocturne and passacaglia elements, and traverses a range of phases within the subjects of isolation, vulnerability, and survival. Recording and premiere: Emily Daggett Smith, Albany's University Art Museum, 2021. 10'
SEVEN (2020) for solo cello
Commissioned by Astral Artist Tommy Mesa for his project Songs of Isolation, SEVEN is a tribute to the essential workers during the global COVID-19 pandemic, as well as to those who lost lives and suffered from the crisis. Written in Manhattan, the piece ends with seven bell-like sounds, alluding to New York's daily 7 PM tribute during the lockdown, the moment when New Yorkers clapped from their windows, connecting with each other and expressing appreciation for those on the front lines. Recording: Thomas Mesa, Sphinx & Four/Ten Media. 10'
Chorale (2020) for String Orchestra
Providing equilibrium and an emotional depth that lift us from a darker place, the Chorale was written in New York taking J.S. Bach's Chorale BWV 390 in C major as inspiration. Orchestra Version Premiere & Recording: Guadalajara Virtuosi, Festival del Lago, Mexico. 2'
...in the age of noise (2020) for string trio or for cello trio
Premiered online during the lockdown in Philadelphia by members of the Dover and Escher String Quartets, this short piece was commissioned by Manhattan Chamber Players for a project called "MCP's Sketchbook: Quarantine Art in the Making." The opening gestures are like breaths, and silence is one of the music's main elements in this work. 3'
Overture & Chorale (2020) for cello quartet
(or two violas and two cellos)
The first movement, Overture, was written for CCCMF and it highlights the interplay between the four instruments. French rhythms from the baroque style are mixed with harmonies from the 21st century, accentuating the time and space that there is in between. The Chorale adds equilibrium and an emotional depth that lift us from a darker place. The Chorale was written taking J.S. Bach's Chorale BWV 390 in C major as inspiration. Premiere & Recording: MCP & Crescent City Chamber Music Festival. 4'
Day 30 (2020) for viola and cocktail shaker
Day 30 is a humorous short piece written for Luke Fleming (violist and cocktail master) during the 30th day of quarantine in New York, 2020. The piece was premiered by Luke Fleming (Viola) and Brendan Speltz (Cocktail Shaker) at the Chappaquiddick Music Festival in 2021. 1'
MIRAGE Concerto for cello and orchestra (2019)
Written in New York and Los Angeles, this work was premiered in 2019 at Auditorio Nacional in Madrid. Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra and Tommy Mesa performed the U.S. premiere of this work. The first movement, Mirage, depicts desert soundscapes, in which the music travels from disorientation to a fierce, maddening dance. The intimate second movement, Mensajes del agua, is an oasis, a meditation. After an exhilarating Cadenza the last movement appears, Marcha, where the cello combines the intensity of the first movement with the wisdom from the second to climb towards a new and higher plane. Instrumentation: Mvt 1: 3 perc--strings--solo cello. Mvt 2: pno--solo cello. Cadenza: solo cello--2122--2221--3 perc--strings. Mvt 3: 2122--2221--3 perc--harp--pno--strings--solo cello. 17'
Mensajes del agua (2019) for cello and piano or violin and piano
Mensajes del agua is a meditative work and the music is inspired by the delicate perfection of the shapes found in unpolluted frozen water. Recording: Mesa & Casarrubios at Oktaven & WRTI Radio. 4'
La Libertad se levantó llorando for violin, cello, and pre-recorded text (2017)
"Liberty rose weeping" was written for violinist Emily Daggett Smith, and premiered in New York City on February 18th, 2018. The text is part of a poem by Pablo Neruda, an excerpt that refers to the Spanish Civil War. The music is filled with the strength and the vulnerability of Neruda's words. In this piece, the image of battered Liberty is used to resonate with our own perceptions of the never-ending global fight for human rights. Recording: Odradek Records. 13'
Crisol: Improvisations on a theme by Haydn (2018) for piano
Crisol is based on motives from the Sonata No. 39 in D major by J. Haydn. The improvisations begin with Andrea Casarrubios' own harmonic and textural language, to soon melt into a musical world from the Romantic era. The music walks through a jazz-like moment to then unveil the purity and simplicity of the Classicism, with the second movement of Haydn’s Sonata No. 39, which is harmonically linked to his last movement, the Finale. Recording: Odradek Records. 7'
24 Mozas (2017) for cello and string orchestra, or for cello and piano. 24 Mozas is a short virtuosic piece inspired by the traditional song "Tío Babú" song from Toro (Zamora, Spain). The two themes are presented on the cello and the orchestra at first, before taking several unexpected turns as the piece develops. The percussive cello sounds come from clapping and hitting a table, an activity that can be done while singing the tune at a casual home gathering with wine flying around. This, in fact, is how the composer first experienced the song. US Premiere: New York, 2017. The European Premiere took place in Spain, 2018 at Teatro Latorre (Toro). The cello and orchestra version was premiered in Ajijic, Mexico. 4'
luzAzul (2016) Passacaglia for Piano Trio
This work was composed for a project entitled Passacaglia: Walking the Streets of Time, a program that also includes piano trios by Shostakovich, Haydn, and Ravel. Premiered in Baltimore (2017), the piece was written for Trio Appassionata's 10th year anniversary. In this music, luz azul (blue light) is tied to the sound of a C sharp. This tone, almost like a scent, is the seed from which everything blossoms. Recording: WFMT Radio. 8'
Speechless (2015) for cello and percussion (vibraphone, cymbal, marimba)
Written for Ensemble Connect, Speechless was born out of questioning what it means to have a voice. In this work, the performers embark on a playful, yet desperate search. At its core, it is an experience based on a non-verbal discussion between the inner voices of one’s self. The music travels through ideas, impulses, memories, and it never visits the same place twice. It is a singular piece, as it was written backwards. The premiere of Speechless was presented by Carnegie Hall at National Sawdust in New York City on March 29, 2016. Recording: Odradek Records. 14'
Caminante (2014) for cello and choir
The text is from Antonio Machado's poem Caminante, describing someone who walks through a non-existing path, creating it by taking steps forward. The music is meditative, mystical, intuitive, welcoming the uncertainty of the future with humility but with confidence. Premiere: Spain 2015. Recording: Odradek Records. 8'
Maktub (2013) for three cellos or for string trio
This trio in two movements was written in Los Angeles for the VI Boccherini Festival in Spain. New sonorities and concepts experienced during travels to Asia and the Americas coexist with a reference to the last movement of Beethoven's Piano Sonata Op. 109. Recording: Odradek Records. 6'