From Method To Madness: The American Sound

Clancy Newman, Natalie Zhu

Catalog #: TROY1935
Release Date: August 1, 2023
Format: Digital

Cellist Clancy Newman has enjoyed an extraordinarily wide-ranging career, not only as a cellist, but also as a composer, producer, writer, teacher, and guest lecturer. He has performed as soloist throughout the United States, as well as in Europe, Asia, Canada, and Australia. Newman's interest in composition focuses on works for cello, one of which (From Method to Madness) is heard on this recording. His collaborator, pianist Natalie Zhu, is the recipient of the Avery Fisher Career Grant, as is Newman. Zhu has performed throughout North America, Europe, and Asia as a soloist and chamber musician. For this recording they have chosen works for cello by Samuel Barber, Lukas Foss, and Kenji Bunch, in addition to the work by Newman. The earliest work on this recording, the Barber, was written in 1942; the Foss in 1946, while the Bunch and Newman are recent works.


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Track Listing

Title Composer Performer
Sonata for Cello and Piano in C Minor, Op. 6 Samuel Barber Clancy Newman (cello); Natalie Zhu (piano)
Capriccio for Cello and Piano Lukas Foss Clancy Newman (cello); Natalie Zhu (piano)
Broken Music for Cello and Piano Kenji Bunch Clancy Newman (cello); Natalie Zhu (piano)
From Method to Madness Clancy Newman Clancy Newman (cello); Natalie Zhu (piano)


  • On the strength of this energising new disc, New York-born cellist, composer, teacher and writer Clancy Newman has a remarkable perspective on performance. He brings together a muscularity so vivid it almost borders on the theatrical with an astonishing sense of precision and purity to his sound. The direct, dramatic result finds an ideal match in the strongly characterful music on this all-American disc – even if, ironically, not all of the works here are especially compelling themselves. Newman shapes the grand, arching melodic lines in Barber's early Cello Sonata beautifully, with a silky sweetness to its more lyrical music, expertly conveying the composer's extroversion. His agility and precision come into their own in Lukas Foss's freewheeling, often humorous Capriccio, and if he might make the composer's unpredictable invention sound a touch too easy, his account is nonetheless big on character and spirit. Kenji Bunch's jazzy, poppy Broken Music gets a committed, thoughtful reading, with Newman driving its rhythms along with unrelenting energy. His own concluding From Method to Madness encapsulates the two sides to his performing personality, beginning as a strictly controlled, study-like workout before erupting in Latin exuberance. There's plenty to savour in Newman's infectiously enthusiastic playing.

    – The Strad

  • This survey of American music for cello and piano includes a pair of standard works (the Barber and Foss) and two premiere recordings. Clancy Newman, a winner of the Naumburg Competition, and Natalie Zhu, artistic director of the Kingston Chamber Music Festival in Rhode Island, both received Avery Fisher Career Grants and have been performing together since meeting 25 years ago. Their close rapport can be heard in Barber's early Cello Sonata (1932), a lyrical work which receives a fervent and fastidious performance The other highlight here is Broken Music, an impressive four-movement sonata by Kenji Bunch Recommended for the Barber and Kenji Bunch works especially.

    – Gramophone

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