Marimba and cello form a vibrant and compelling – if unconventional – duo in the hands of Stick&Bow, comprised of Canadian marimba player Krystina Marcoux and Argentinian cellist Juan Sebastian Delgado. Resonance, the debut recording from the Montreal-based award-winning musicians, explores a wide palette of repertoire and styles, transcending tradition with new arrangements of music from Bach to Boccherini, and from Nina Simone to Radiohead. Performing Baroque or tango, rock or gypsy-jazz, Stick&Bow brings unique passion, wit, and technical mastery to eclectic and powerful arrangements of some of the most celebrated music in history, presenting the infinite potential of their combined instruments in refreshing and unexpected ways. Resonance is released on the Canadian label Leaf Music on November 1st, 2019.
The new album – with its bilingual liner notes, in true montréalais style – opens with a captivating mélange of works by J.S. Bach, with a transcription of the Adagio from the Sonata for viola da gamba in D Major swinging into the Prelude in D Major from the Well-Tempered Clavier. Also taking inspiration from Bach is American singer-songwriter Nina Simone, who adopts the composer’s contrapuntal style for the 1928 tune Love Me or Leave Me, here in an irresistible new arrangement. The album features not one but two fandangos, with Boccherini’s take on the traditional Spanish folk dance from his Quintet No. 4, and Paco de Lucia’s Entre Arrayanes, in one of Stick&Bow’s most technically challenging and creative arrangements, capturing the colour and essence of flamenco guitars.
A range of characters and moods emerge in three settings for marimba and cello of Bartók’s Romanian Folk Dances, while the gypsy-jazz style of Stéphane Grappelli explodes in Tzigane, with idiomatic embellishments and virtuosic cadence-like runs. The revolutionary Argentine composer and virtuoso bandoneon player Astor Piazzolla is represented with his lyrical and nostalgic Invierno porteño, winter in Buenos Aires.
More illuminating performances from the classical repertoire include two movements from Schumann’s Fünf Stücke im Volkston and the second movement of Shostakovitch’s cello sonata. The complex harmonies and instrumental textures of Radiohead’s Paranoid Android is a surprisingly convincing element of the album, with marimba and cello exploring a range of timbres, including electric guitar sounds.
Also dedicated to working closely with contemporary composers on daring yet accessible works, Stick&Bow includes two new works on Resonance: Jason Noble’s (b. 1980) Folk Suite, a set of miniatures inspired by the rich folk traditions of his home province of Newfoundland and Labrador; and Parisian composer and bandoneon player Louise Jallu’s (b. 1994) À Gennevilliers, injected with fresh, jazzy harmonies and a freely improvised rhythmic section.
First-prize winner at the Latin-American cello competition (2008), Juan Sebastian Delgado holds a Doctoral degree in cello performance from McGill University and Krystina Marcoux, first-prize winner of the OSM competition (2012), holds her PhD from the Conservatoire national supérieur de musique de Lyon. Their music has brought them to share magical moments from Banff to Colombia, passing by Armenia, Italy, the USA, Ecuador, France and two extensive Canadian tours in 2019 & 2020 as “Emerging Artists” of Jeunesses Musicales du Canada.
This project is funded in part by FACTOR, the government of Canada and Canada’s private radio broadcasters.
Ce projet est financé en partie par FACTOR, le gouvernement du Canada et les radiodiffuseurs privés du Canada.
We acknowledge the support of the Canada Council for the Arts.
Nous remercions le Conseil des Arts du Canada de son soutien.