The sublime intertwining of Alasdair Fraser's fiddle and Natalie Haas's cello is a wonder of nature. Fraser's lines dance with impish glee, soar on the tempests, twist and turn through mad jigs, and reels wax into bittersweet melodies or burst into improvisational fireworks, while Haas provides a deliciously complementary rhythmic pulse that flows with dark undercurrents of counterpoint, matches Fraser with improvisatory flair, or even edges into funk. Fraser is a grand master of Scottish fiddling from the village of Clackmannan with a 30-year career, a slew of awards, a rep as a premier ambassador of Scottish music, and such film credits as Titanic and Last of the Mohicans. Californian Haas is a young Juilliard grad who first met Fraser at one of his many instructional camps. Their collaboration fulfills Fraser's longtime desire to rescue the cello from orchestral exile and return it to its historic role as the rhythmic heart of Scottish dance music. Fraser and Haas have achieved that and much more on a pair of top-notch albums, 2004's Fire & Grace, which won the Scottish equivalent of a Grammy, and 2007's In the Moment (both on Fraser's Culburnie label), a tour de force of Fraser's compositions in the tradition. As the title suggests, expect copious amounts of fire and grace.
Sat., Jan. 31, 7 p.m., 2009