Cellist Ian Maksin: Amor Renatus (Rebith of Love)
(October 10, 2023 / Independent)
& North American Tour
If music has healing properties, it's what the world needs most. That's the message of cellist and composer Ian Maksin.
Speaking on the album, Ian Maksin shares, “AMOR RENATUS is a reflection on the tragic ongoing events in Ukraine, Middle East, and other parts of the world. It delves deep into the darkest recesses of the human soul, unearthing a myriad of feelings universal to all wars: grief, indignation, fear, and despair.
“As the journey continues, the music guides the listener through a path to redemption and a spiritual transformation, allowing them to ultimately find peace, comfort, and empowerment. As artists, we are fortunate to have music as the most powerful means of emotional healing and be able to offer it as medicine for the soul to the listener as well.”
The pieces are written for cello enhanced with a loop pedal and electronics. Percussion rounds out the sound on some of the tracks, including a Mongolian frame drum and West African djembe.
When he tours, it's much more than scheduled performances. He's travelled with other musicians he's met along the way, participated in spontaneous jams, and raised money for charity.
A portion of the proceeds from his will be directed to For Wellbeing, a non-profit organization that provides humanitarian aid in the regions of Ukraine most affected by war. Maksin has been supporting this charitable organization since March 2022 as part of his Cello for Peace tour of over 200 concerts in North America and Europe.
A cellist, composer and singer who can perform in more than 30 languages, Ian Maksin has been travelling and touring, and that has resulted in new music. His music combines different genres, contemporary and traditional modes, taking inspiration from the music of the world.
Ian was born in Leningrad to a multinational family, and he began to play guitar and piano at 3. By 6, he was studying the cello at the School for Gifted Children in Moscow. At 16, he continued his studies at the Manhattan School of Music in New York City and Duquesne University in Pittsburgh.
His path initially seemed set for a conventional career in Western classical music, and he worked within the genre for several years, including a three-year stint with the New World Symphony in Miami. He eventually decided to branch out into everything from rock and blues to jazz and global beats.
Ian turns his diverse experiences in performing into compositions that blend all his influences into a unique style. He sings in Ukrainian, Polish, Russian, English, Farsi, Armenian, French, Italian, Arabic, Hebrew, Mongolian, and Bambara, among others.
The album consists of a Prologue in four acts, Requiem (also four), Epilogue in three movements, and Postlude. If you had to put it all under one umbrella, these days, you'd call it neoclassical.
The Prologue begins with a plaintive and contemplative mood. His music is melodic and expressive, modern, yet timeless. I'm reminded of the music of the Impressionists, late Romanticism - let's say late 19th to early 20th century. By the final movement, it's a playful tango-esque piece.
As it progresses from movement to movement, the music seems to gather strength. The tech he uses produces a full and seamless sound that ranges from a solo voice to accompaniment in two or more parts.
The Requiem is perfect Halloween listening, from the whirling melody of the first movement, Requiem Aeternum, to the Mediterranean influences of Tube Mirum, the second, the cinematic scope of Dies Irae (with its eerie harmonics), and strongly rhythmic.
The Epilogue is more sombre in tone, with droning electronics underneath an affective cello melody. It's thoroughly contemporary in its aesthetic, with an emotional heart. Amor Renatus emerges as the second movement of the Epilogue, a moody composition that juxtaposes plucked and bowed cello strings. The piece finishes with a distinctly hopeful tone in Ortis Solis, the last movement.
Urbs Aurum, the Postlude, continues in an emotional and more hopeful tone. With something of a baroque flavour, contrapuntal voices come together in harmony.
Ian's music has a sense of invention that keeps it fresh, even with sounds and elements that are steeped in various traditions. It's delightful listening for anyone with eclectic tastes in instrumental music.
The current leg of his tour began in September in Arizona, with dates set to December, so far.... Stay tuned AT THE LINK for more TBA.
- October 28: Boston MA
- October 29: Somerset NJ
- November 2: Philadelphia PA
- November 3: Washington DC
- November 5: New York, NY
- November 8: Toronto ON
- November 9: Ottawa ON
- November 10: Quebec QC
- November 12: Montreal QC
- November 18: San Francisco CA
- November 19: Los Angeles CA
- December 3: Chicago IL
- December 8: Minneapolis MN