First Day

First Day


Artist: Laura Metcalf

Composers: José Bragato, Caleb Burhans, George Enescu, Alberto Ginastera, Marin Marais, Bohuslav Martinů, Francis Poulenc, Dan Visconti

Format: 1 CD


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Cellist Laura Metcalf, noted for her "gorgeous cello legatos" (Washington Post) and her “sensitive, melodic touch” (BlogCritics Magazine) enjoys an active career as a soloist, chamber musician, orchestral musician, and teacher. She is the cellist of acclaimed string quintet Sybarite5 who won the 2011 Concert Artists Guild Victor Elmaleh Competition, and has performed sold-out concerts at the Library of Congress, Lincoln Center and many other venues worldwide. Sybarite5 made its Carnegie Hall debut at Zankel Hall in 2012, and their album Disturb the Silence recently reached the Top Ten on the Billboard Charts. In 2011 Laura was appointed to the cello-percussion quartet Break of Reality, with whom she has toured extensively. Laura also performs regularly as a solo recitalist; First Day is Laura’s debut album!

Pianist Matei Varga’s artistry has garnered superlative reviews from critics around the world, who have found his performances “magical” (Süddeutsche Zeitung), as well as “colorful, vivacious [and] engaging” (Le Diapason). A top prizewinner at the Maria Canals and George Enescu piano competitions, Mr. Varga has appeared as a soloist and recitalist in many of the world’s leading concert halls, among them Carnegie Hall and Alice Tully Hall, Konzerthaus (Berlin), the Auditorium du Louvre and Salle Gaveau (Paris). He is a graduate of Mannes College of Music, where he studied with Pavlina Dokovska.

First Day represents many firsts, beginnings and youthful sentiments. The title is taken from the phrase "paths of the first day" from the final track on the album, "Les chemins de l'amour" by Francis Poulenc. The pianist Matei Varga was one of Laura’s first friends and musical partners when they both moved to New York City in 2004. They played together a great deal in those early years, and after a decade of pursuing independent musical projects, were thrilled to collaborate again for this recording. The eight works on this album are ones to which both feel deeply connected, and which they believe complement each other to form a whole that is both exuberant and reflective.

Track List

José Bragato
1. Graciela y Buenos Aires           7:42

Bohuslav Martinů
2. Variations on a Slovakian Theme    10:09

Caleb Burhans
3. Phantasie    7:05

Alberto Ginastera
4. Pampeana No. 2, Op. 21    10:04

George Enescu
5. Sonata in F Minor    9:08

Dan Visconti
6. Hard-Knock Stomp    2:52

Marin Marais
7. Variations on “La Folia”    8:47

Francis Poulenc
8. Les chemins de l’amour    3:23

Total time: 59:08
Release date: April 29, 2016
UPC: 053479220127

Quotes & Reviews

…a rich and rewarding album, which quickly establishes Laura Metcalf on her own as a musician of real note. Brava!

Jeremy Shatan, An Earful

Laura Metcalf is one of those oddballs that rock the boat and make changes happen as they bring concert music kicking and screaming into the 21st century…

Laura Metcalf as a visionary maverick and a major talent to be welcomed.

Rafael de Acha, Rafael Music Notes

★ ★ ★ ★ ★

The music never gets too heavy or too light, and Metcalf's enthusiastic, but perfectly controlled…

…the listener is likely to have to be restrained from taking off into the stratosphere. 

James Manheim, AllMusic

Metcalf and Varga are old friends and work together smoothly and warmly.

…we have a song by Francis Poulenc that finishes us off with a surprise as the cellist sings the song quite beautifully.

David W. Moore, The American Record Guide (July 2016)

Music ★ ★ ★ ★ ½ Sonics ★ ★ ★ ★ ½

The success of the program is assured by the soloist’s sure music instincts and technical chops…

Andrew Quint, The Absolute Sound (July/August 2017)

Laura Metcalf’s new cello recital spans the globe with greater ease than any frequent flier. One moment we’re in Buenos Aires; the next, Slovakia; the United States, Romania, and France all appear, too. The general theme is exuberance and youthful ardor, a promise which the performers fabulously keep.

There are almost too many highlights to mention separately.

Brian Reinhart, MusicWeb International

Laura Metcalf appears before us in all her cello warmth and virtuosity on the recent album First Day.

Grego Edwards, Gapplegate Classical-Modern Music Review

Metcalf has extensive experience as both a chamber musician and soloist, and has a lovely tone and a fine legato. She has been friends and musical partner with Varga since 2004, and one wonders why a solo CD has been so long in coming. Still, it was certainly worth the wait.

Terry Robins, theWholeNote

Cellist Laura Metcalf’s debut solo CD impresses on several levels…

Greg Hettmansberger, What Great Says

★ ★ ★ ★ ★

The music never gets too heavy or too light, and Metcalf’s enthusiastic, but perfectly controlled…

…the listener is likely to have to be restrained from taking off into the stratosphere. 
— James Manheim, AllMusic

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