Croatian cellist Stjepan Hauser is best known as one half of 2CELLOS. The duo, completed by Luka Šulić, is celebrated for their spectacular and virtuosic performances of pieces from across the musical spectrum. Here, HAUSER, a superb soloist in his own right, branches out alone, bringing his rich, burnished tone to bear on some of classical music’s most beautiful melodies. “I’m a romantic soul,” he tells Apple Music, “and I knew that the cello would be the perfect instrument for the beautiful, touching melodies I’ve chosen for this album. It has the closest sound to the human voice of any instrument, so it’s a great fit.” He’s been supported in this endeavor by the London Symphony Orchestra, bringing characteristic versatility and power to the performances. “The LSO is one of the greatest in the world, and when you play with them, you know it’s going to be as good as it gets.” Let HAUSER guide you through the album, melody by melody. Swan Lake “Tchaikovsky’s Swan Lake features some of the most well-known classical melodies ever written—and this one is perhaps its most famous. The music is so romantic, and the LSO has this amazing, big orchestral climax. It’s a wonderful way to start the album.” Rachmaninov 2nd Piano Concerto “Eric Carmen’s 1975 song ‘All By Myself’ was the inspiration for this arrangement of the slow movement from Rachmaninov’s Second Piano Concerto. Once I’d heard this piece’s gorgeous melody sung, I realized that it could also work so well for the cello. It’s one of the most famous piano pieces ever written—and it’s great to finally have a version for my instrument!” Caruso “Everyone, from Pavarotti to pop artists, has sung this most beautiful of Italian songs. It’s almost the perfect melody—the Italian language is so melodic, and its people are so warm. Of course, Mediterranean culture plays into the music, too. So it seems natural for Italian composers to write larger-than-life songs. Remember that Italy is the home of big opera arias! ‘Caruso’ really tugs at the heartstrings.” Air on a G String “This is a little piece of heaven. What’s incredible about Bach is that his music can be quite mechanical, but then he writes something like this, and you just can’t describe its beauty.” The Nutcracker Suite “Here’s another chance to hear the LSO at full power! We recorded the album at Henry Wood Hall in London, which has the most amazing acoustic—it gives this album so much wonderful color. Tchaikovsky writes these huge melodies which are always so fantastic to play.” Concerto for Clarinet “There were so many Mozart slow movements that I could have chosen, from at least two or three piano concertos and the violin concertos. I decided in the end to go for the Clarinet Concerto—it’s so simple and yet so beautiful. Those long lines for the clarinet are perfect for the cello—it sounds so natural when you hear it.” Nocturne in C Sharp “Once again, another perfect melody! This one is interesting because it was originally written for solo piano, but now it’s been orchestrated and I’ve added the cello part, it sounds like it has always been heard like this. Even with all these instruments, it still sounds so intimate.” Intermezzo (Cavalleria Rusticana) “This is another one to showcase the power of the full orchestra. In the studio, everyone was playing with their whole hearts. Mascagni was a bit of a one-hit wonder, but this orchestral intermezzo from his most famous opera Cavalleria Rusticana is so incredible.” River Flows in You “I wanted to include something on the album that was written much more recently. [South Korean] composer Yiruma wrote this beautiful piece originally for the piano in 2001, and it’s become a classic so quickly. It’s had millions of streams, and everyone seems to play it today. It works so well for cello and orchestra.” Lascia Ch’io Pianga “Oh, Handel—wow! This really is one of my favorite opera arias. It’s taken from Rinaldo and was written for the tenor voice. Handel was a genius at writing for the voice, and he was so good at composing amazing melodies, so anything by him sounds incredible on the cello.” The Lonely Shepherd “This comes from the Quentin Tarantino movie Kill Bill [Volume 1]—it’s not strictly classical music, but I didn’t want this album to be 100 percent classical. I’m interested in performing crossover, too, especially pieces that could be considered classical because of their style and their melodies. I first heard ‘The Lonely Shepherd’ on YouTube played by violinist André Rieu and I thought it would be perfect for this album.” Piano Concerto No. 21 “I grew up listening to this concerto. The second movement is so legendary, so well-known. The long orchestral introduction, before the solo instrument comes in, is exquisite. No one would ever think of playing it on the cello, but because of the genius of Mozart’s beautifully simple melodies, it works so well.” Nocturne “This is pure Russian soul. You can really sense that part of the world in the music because there’s so much folk music influence in it. You get the real Russia with Borodin. This track is an arrangement of the Nocturne from his String Quartet No. 2, and is about as beautiful as music gets.” Nessun Dorma “Here’s another big Italian melody—this time with one of the grandest endings ever written, and a fantastic showcase for the LSO and their amazing, rich sound. Of course this aria, from Puccini’s opera Turandot, was pretty much owned by Pavarotti, so all you can do is to try your best. But I like challenges... At least I didn’t have to sing it!” Lacrimosa “This is one of the most tragic movements from Mozart’s Requiem, the last piece he wrote. It’s so touching: The music sounds like weeping, and the cello is the perfect instrument to cry out loud and express the deep pain. I wanted to include something as emotional as this in the album, and this was the best possible choice.” Adagio for Strings “I was scared of approaching this piece, as it’s written for string orchestra, and there’s no real solo line in it. But my producer convinced me to try it, and it sounded amazing. We managed to find a way to make it work for solo cello and orchestra, but to keep it sounding organic. I wanted to end the album with the Adagio—it’s long and so intense, and has the feeling of a farewell. So I didn’t think it made sense for anything to follow it. It’s like the most beautiful prayer.”

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