After a series of acclaimed concerts in Chicago , New York and Cincinnati in the fall of 2008, German-Canadian cellist Johannes Moser (pictured) returned to the United States in January with performances in St. Louis and Seattle that delighted critics and brought audiences to their feet. He is gaining a reputation across the U.S. as a star soloist with major orchestras, while his recent recording of Saint-Saëns’s cello works is already being talked about as one of the top recordings of the year.
On January 23 and 24, Moser joined the St. Louis Symphony and British conductor Edward Gardner to play Shostakovich’s Cello Concerto No. 1. Sarah Bryan Miller of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported that Moser…
“…is young, gifted and intense, and his performance was absolutely searing … The concerto's moods range from the otherworldly to the mournful and elegiac, from the sarcastic to the frantic. Moser expressed them all, with a stunning display of technical facility, leaping from the top of the instrument's range to growling low notes with a rich, consistent sound. Moser is a major talent, and it is to be hoped that he'll return in coming seasons.”
On January 29 and 31, Moser travelled to Seattle for a performance with the Seattle Symphony and music director Gerald Schwarz. This time Moser took on Tchaikovsky’s Variations on a Rococo Theme and wowed both of Seattle ’s major daily papers. Bernard Jacobson of the Seattle Times proclaimed…
“There was no mistaking the star quality of the soloist in the Tchaikovsky "Variations": Johannes Moser is a joy of a cellist, not only for the sheer quality of his playing, but because it is indeed a joy to see a musician having such an obviously good time interacting with colleagues and conductor. His encore too — the Sarabande from Bach's First Suite — showed that depth is as much a part of his repertoire as brilliance and charm.”
Meanwhile, Philippa Kiraly of the Seattle Post-Intelligencer raved about the performance and wrote:
“Moser's cello, built in 1692 by Francesco Ruggieri, has an open, easy sound, which he never hacked or pushed to produce but simply allowed to bloom under his bow. It shone easily over the reduced orchestra for the composer's lighthearted, classically influenced work, and the music sang as Moser's cascades of runs sparkled and rippled, perfectly shaped and in tune, full of life and charm.”
These concerts come on the heels of much praise Moser has received for his recent recording of the complete cello works of Saint-Saëns. Classics Today named this CD one of the “Top Ten of 2008” and editor David Hurwitz wrote in his 10/10 review that “Johannes Moser plays with consummate technique, gorgeous tone, and a rhythmic kick that seems tailor-made for these elegantly crafted pieces … This is a major release, and Moser is without question an artist worth watching.” The recording was also a “Pick of the Week” on WNYC radio’s Soundcheck – a rarity for a classical recording.
Last fall, Moser’s performance of Tchaikovsky’s “Rococo Variations” with the Cincinnati Symphony and conductor Alan Gilbert gained similar praise. Janelle Gelfand of the Cincinnati Enquirer called his interpretation “brilliant” and “something that music lovers will not soon forget. Richly communicative and beautifully played, his was the freshest, most original interpretation I have ever heard of this showpiece, a staple of the cello repertoire.”
Next up for Moser in North America are appearances on March 27, 28 and 29 in Los Angeles when he joins the LA Philharmonic for a performance of Haydn’s Cello Concerto No. 1. He returns at the end of May to Toronto to perform the Haydn concerto again with the Toronto Symphony Orchestra.
For more details, please visit Johannes Moser’s web site at: www.Johannes-Moser.com