by Stephanie Manning
It’s not uncommon for performers to experiment with a Bach Cello Suite, typically alternating movements with ones from other pieces. But to save the Prelude for last? That’s a little more unusual — yet that wasn’t the only time Alisa Weilerstein chose to do things in reverse.
The cellist’s concert at Severance Music Center on May 11, FRAGMENTS 1, defied many traditions of a solo recital. Audience members gathered knowing the project’s basic conceit — that the evening would feature movements from J.S. Bach’s Cello Suite No. 1 interspersed with works by 5 of the 27 composers Weilerstein commissioned for this multi-year project. But the specifics of which music would be heard, and when, remained a secret until the programs were distributed at the concert’s conclusion.