Bowie Cello Symphonic: Blackstar
If listeners approach cellist Maya Beiser and conductor/arranger Evan Ziporyn’s reimagining of Bowie’s final album, Blackstar, with trepidation, it’s understandable: Classical and rock have often been combative bedfellows. But Ziporyn understood the challenges of interpreting this hallowed album, recognizing that Bowie’s four-octave vocal range was a fine match for the cello and reimagining Blackstar as a cello concerto. Beiser skilfully echoes Bowie’s vocal inflections, whether in the menacing “Girl Loves Me,” the anguished “Lazarus,” or the mystical, epic title track. Her electric and acoustic cello—howling, lamenting, comforting—soars and wheels over Ziporyn’s deftly crafted, unexpected orchestral textures. It’s an astonishing homage that brings Bowie’s extraordinary musical inventiveness into sharp relief.