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Sharing releases, present and past, to brighten your day. WXXI Classical has its eyes and ears on the latest releases from classical artists working today. When we come across a story or a release we think you might enjoy, we’ll be sharing it with you on CD Spotlight. You’ll learn more about the artists online at WXXI Classical, and you’ll hear selections from these artists on FM 91.5. CD Spotlight shares new releases by artists that you’ll want to know and some by great artists and ensembles that deserve to be in the spotlight again.

CD Spotlight: The Rastrelli Effect by the Rastrelli Cello Quartet

Celebrating two decades of music making

Turn back the hands of time to October, 2002, when four cellists in St. Petersburg got together and formed the Rastrelli Cello Quartet, naming themselves after an 18th century architect from that city. They quickly discovered that there wasn’t a lot of music available for that instrumentation, so they followed the golden rule of survival: adapt or die. And adapt they did, arranging works from Bach to the Beatles, with some of their own compositions in the mix as well.

It's twenty years down the line, and the Rastrelli Cello Quartet, now living in Germany, is throwing an anniversary party with a special CD entirely of their own works. The Rastrelli Effect is a charming, tuneful collection of songs – from the snappy “String on 16 Strings,” to the heartfelt “Vocalise,” and all of them pleasing to the ear. Much of the music is written by Sergio Drabkins, one of the founding members, but each of the members makes a musical contribution to the set list.

Said one Rastelli, “This is why we dare to present our listeners with such an eclectic collection of music. May they find as much enjoyment in it as we do!” With the news of long-time string quartets disbanding, it’s a delight to mark the vicentennial of the Rastrelli Cello Quartet. Hoping you’ll be equally delighted by this CD celebration.

A Strong Memorial baby and Greece Arcadia grad, Julia Figueras was the Music Director and mid-day host for WXXI Classical until June 30, 2023 when she retired after more than 26 years of service. She also hosted the award-winning monthly interview/performance show, Backstage Pass.