A Newsletter For Cellists of All Ages and Stages
January - April 1995
Knoxville, TN Carey Cheney, Editor
News from Cello Land
Almost halfway into the New Year now, with all those resolutions happily forgotten for one more year, and on to the anticipation of spring flowers, cello festivals and plans for summer! In this spring- bound edition of Cello News you will find all sorts of current information about what's happening near and far in the great reaches of Cello Land. I have received a lot of correspondence this season which is greatly appreciated. It is inspiring to read about the activities of other cellists all over, and interesting for readers to hear about future planned activities! Keep that mail coming! The Georgia Cello Society will have a prominent place in Cello N e w s now, with news from within the club as well as current activities in the Atlanta and Georgia region. In addition, there will be current articles from other cello club* and societies from the east to the west coast.
David Baker, Composer & Jazz Cellist
by Carey Cheney
There are quite a few exciting and innovative things going on in Knoxville these days, and many times these have such positive results because of arts organizations combining forces to make guest mini- residencies, concerts, master classes and seminars possible. A recent visit by world- renowned jazz virtuoso, jazz educator, composer and cellist, David Baker was the result of the efforts of local organizations. The collaboration of the University of Tennessee Music Department, the Knoxville Museum of Art (KMA) and the Knoxville Symphony (KSO) brought Mr. Baker for a week long visit to perform, educate and inspire jazz and classical musicians alike. Grant money was received from the Southern Arts Federation which receives funds from the National Endowment for the Arts, Tennessee Arts Commission. It was also supported by a grant from "Meet the Composer,lnc.", the Dayton Hudson Foundation and from private contributors. Beverly Broyles of the KMA worked very hard to co- ordinate the schedule of events which took place at the KMA Great Hall and KMA Auditorium, two very lovely venues. Jazz students from UT Music Dept. and from local high schools received coaching on their ensembles from Mr. Baker in several intense master class sessions. Musicians from the KSO who were preparing works written by David Baker (Singer of Songs - Weavers of Dreams for cello and percussion; Roots 11 for piano trio) for a concert at the end of his visit, received valuable coaching and insights into the compositions. Mr. Baker (cello) joined members of the UT Music
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(jazz) faculty, Donald Brown (piano), Keith Brown (drums), Jerry Coker (sax) as well as other great local, jazz artists for an evening of jazz at the weekly show, Alive After Five at the KMA Great Hall. It was an energetic and creative performance which was thoroughly enjoyable. The week's activities concluded with a concert which was a part of the KSO Chamber Players Series given at KMA Singers of Songs and Roots ll were performed by Phil Hansen (Principal Cellist, KSO), Robert Adamcik (percussion), Carol Zinavage (piano), and Peter deVries (violin). David Baker offered his insights into these compositions, emphasizing his search for a uniquely American musical language which is rooted in jazz, blues, gospel and spirituals.
David Nathaniel Baker, Jr., a native of Indianapolis, Indiana is a virtuosic performer on multiple instruments and top in his field in several disciplines. He has taught and performed throughout the U.S., Canada, and Europe. He is also co- conductor and musical co- director of the Smithsonian Jazz Masterworks Orchestra. A 1973 Pulitzer Prize nominee, Mr. Baker has been nominated for a Grammy Award in 1979, honored three times by Downbeat magazine (as a trombonist for lifetime achievement, and most recently (1994) as the third inductee to their Jazz Education Hall of Fame.) He has received the National Association of Jazz Educators Hall of Fame Award (1981), the President's Award for Distinguished Teaching (1986) from Indiana University, the Arts Midwest Jazz Masters Award (1990), and the Governor's Award of the State of Indiana (1991.)
Mr. Baker has been commissioned by more than 500 individuals and ensembles, including Josef Gingold, Ruggiero Ricci, Janos Starker, Harvey Phillips, Sonny Rollins, the New York Philharmonic, St. Paul Chamber Orchestra, Beaux Arts Trio, Fisk Jubilee Singers, Louisville Symphony, Ohio Chamber Orchestra, the Audubon String Quartet, and the International Horn Society. His compositions, tallying over 2,000 in number, range from jazz and sonatas to film scores.
A Gaggle of Ear- freshening Cello Recordings for the New Year
by Roger Lebow
Los Angeles Violoncello Society
I haven't been the biggest fan of digital sound, but what has made me a fan of the CD is the wealth of repertoire,both newly recorded and recently excavated from the vaults of yore, that appears in a dauntingly unending torrent. Just think: Furtwangler recordings, long known to me only as never- issued rumors: all of them are now hunkered down in their little jewel boxes at the local Tower Records just waiting for me to win the lottery. Until then, I console myself with my wallsful of old vinyl, and ...
... And how 'bout this sports fans? The complete works for cello and piano by Ferruncio Busoni, splendidly interpreted by an English duo: cellist Lowri Blake, and pianist Caroline Palmer. This is, on the face of it, only a record for the Cellist Who Has Everything: Busoni, the Italian- German whiz- kid pianist and decidedly eccentric composer, is not listed on anyone's pantheon of favorite composers (except Mrs. Busoni's) and none of his cello compositions rank among the best or most
Cello News ... 3 characteristic of his works. But even so, the playing on this Etcetera recording from Holland is so fine, and the repertoire so endearingly quirky, that you might want to take a flyer on it. I've never encountered Lowri Blake's name before. A graduate of Cambridge University, she lists Jacqueline duPre among her teachers. She is represented on Etcetera by CD's of Faure and Saint- Saens, and after listening to her account of the Busoni, I'd like to hear more. Her sound is of the husky, dark type, Fournier- ish, so rare in this age of steel; her chops are up to everything Busoni throws her way (and in his transcription of the Bach Chromatic Fantasy and Fugue, that's a lot); and her sensibilities are refined. The Singapore- born Palmer's pianism is first- rate, as well, and among the album's highlights are three of Busoni's transcriptions of Bach's Chorale Preludes for solo piano.
Next case. Anyone else a little sated by our presumably small Classical- era concerto literature? Is there nothing also out there except two Haydn concerti and the Beethoven Triple? Well, there are all those Boccherini concerti (though who performs any but the hybridized B- flat?). And now we receive another happy affirmative, the form of a new recording on the Naxos label: cellist Christian Benda is heard as soloist in the complete concerti by the renowned Mannheim composer Carl Stamitz (1745- 1801). Each of these three twenty- minute works rivals the Haydn concerti for sheer tunefulness and grace. Each would be suitable for performance by any cellist; flashy enough to satisfy feelings of cellismo, but not strenuous enough to put one in traction. As such, they would make superb fare for students - I recently picked up one of these concerti in a fine Barenreiter edition, and plan to use them to fit the slot between Klengel Concertino and Saint- Saens, the one previously given over to the Gruetzmacher- laced Boccherini B- flat.
Christian Benda's name had been unknown to me (but I don't get out much). He is a Bruno Bettelheim sort of player; good enough tone (by the sound of things, he could be the poster boy for the Thomastik tailpiece), good- enough chops, good- enough musical spirit. And what do you want for six bucks? Sure enough, Naxos continues with its quest to record the Complete Western Music on 17,958 volumes, each with an artist you've never heard of accompanied by an orchestra from an Eastern European city you've never heard of, conducted by a conductor the orchestra hasn't heard of. No matter. This is a welcome chance to hear three attractive "additions" to our literature.
Welcome to the twentieth century (what's left of it)!
This next disc has been out for a couple of years, but is was new to me and it wasn't widely available until recently, so I call attention to it now. In the past I've written enthusiastically about the Lithuanian cellist David Geringas, now aged 49. For ten years a student of Mstislav Rostropovich at the Moscow Conservatory, his international presence was assured when he won the first prize at the 1970 Tchaikovsky Competition.
One of the things I admire about Geringas is his omnivorous musical tastes: this is a man who, besides keeping the standard literature current, has recorded, yep, the complete Boccherini concerti, at the same time maintaining a commitment to the music of living composers. Even though he has made his home in Germany since 1975,
Cello News ... 4 he has kept in touch with the goings- on back in Russia and the Baltic states. Hence, this wonderfully satisfying album on the Koch label, Chamber Music for Russia, including the music of the "Big Three" of modern Russian music, Alfred Schnittke, Sofia Gubaidulina, and Arvo Part, as well as the less familiar Viktor Suslin.
Schnittke, born in 1934, the best known of the three. His mature style is actually compounded of several styles in collision, and it is not unusual to hear elements of orthodox chant or stereotypical baroque instrumental formulae, for example, folded into his highly personal and otherwise non- tonal mix. Geringas, abetted by the fine pianist Tatiana Schatz, presents Schnittke's 1978 Sonata, a powerful work destined to be as much a staple of the cello repertoire as say, the Shostakovich Sonata is today. The piece is an unlikely but winning amalgam of hyperfrenetic virtuosity, demented waltzes, jazzy walking basses, and deeply- felt Slavic Iyricism.
Gubaidulina's In Croce is a brooding quarter- hour work for cello and organ. As the title (On the Cross ) tells us, this is a meditation driven by dark reflections. The instrumental colors are accordingly somber; cellist and organist are asked to produce a variety of keening, moaning effects to go with the muted Iyricism that prevails.
As one identified with the Minimalist 'school', Part is mostly encountered in the province of alternative, "eclectic" radio stations - but he's several cuts above the Philip Glass/John Adams fraternity. His Spiegel in Spiegel amply demonstrates what Minimalism can produce in the hands of a musical soul. Woven of the simplest materials, this is an affecting arioso suspended above a gossamer skein of simple, shifting arpeggios.
In an album filled with nice surprises, the nicest were the Schnittke Sonata and the Sonata for Cello and Percussion by Suslin, born in 1942. If you can commandeer a couple of percussionists it would make an unusual and engaging addition to your recital. But first make sure your percussionists don't mind singing, which they will be asked to do. And both you and your cohorts will want to brush up on your new techniques: this is a work inspired by Azerbaijani folk materials, and Suslin spares no effort to clothe this material in appropriately exotic raiment. All the pieces on this CD are readily accessible, but Suslin's may well be the one that reaches out, grabs you by both ears and makes you bop around the room.
Enough for now. Next time let me tell you about a recording of cello pieces by another Russian composer, Edison Denisov. Plus the complete cello concerti by the late romantic composer Hans Pfitzner.
Plus, ... well stay tuned!
The article above is reprinted from the February issue of Wolf Notes, Vol. Vlll, No. 1.The Los Angeles Violoncello Society produces this wonderfully engaging newsletter available by joining the society for $25.00 yearly. Please contact: LAVS, P.O. Box 181 1, Studio City, CA 91614. Proof of hip- ness required.
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Cello Chit- Chat
The Department of Music at the University of Connecticut was host to a concert given by the UConn Cello Society, Mary Lou Rylands, Director, on January 29/95. Featured were solo performances by Mollie Galzer (baroque cello), Robert deMaine (the "Sacher" piece of Dutillieux), Mary Lou Rylands & Charles Magby (Boccherini Sonata). Of special interest to me to see on the program were a Boulez work for seven cellos called Messagesquisse (1976), and FourJazz Quartets (Autumn Leaves, Until the Real Thing Comes Along, More Than You Know, and Satin Doll) arranged by Mollie Glazer. There were also cello orchestra performances conducted by cello ensemble arranger/wizard, Douglas Moore. Music featured for the large group included arrangements by Mooney, Moore, Latham, Benker and Geller.
The Vancouver Cello Club and the Banff Centre put together a CelloFest in late November ('94) which brought together cellists from Vancouver,Vancouver Island, Medicine Hat,and Calgary There was a lot going on from a duo recital by Winter Program artists in residence at the Banff Center (Josef Lupak, cello and Stepphen Clarke), to a recital by Tsuyoshi Tsutsumi (Schumann, Shostakovich and two Japanese works by Bunraku, and Mayuzumi. Also there were Winter Program performances of chamber music including the Shostakovich Piano Trio, the Martinu Sonata #1 for cello and piano, and a cello quartet version of the Bach Sarabande and Gavotte from the 6th Suite arranged by "Colin Hampton. There were also senior masterclasses with Tsutsumi for high school level students and opportunities for ensembles to perform. Also from reading all of the accounts of the festivities, sounds like, in usual cellistic fashion one of the hottest spots of the weekend was the jacuzzi!
From Associate Professor at Miami University of Oxford, Ohio, Steven Shumway: "I am writing to let you know about an Institute for High School Cellists to be held here on the campus of Miami University the week of June 11- 17. The idea of an intensive week of training in cello performance for a select group of young students has been a dream of mine for several years, and I am very excited that it is finally becoming a reality! A maximum of 20 students will be invited to participate in the institute as performers, and audition will be by cassette tape ... Due to the generous funding from Miami University, the cost for the week is only $250.00, including tuition, room and board." For more info., please contact: Prof. Steven Shumway, Dept. of Music, School of Fine Arts, 119 Center for Performing Arts, Miami University, Oxford, OH 45056, Tel. (513) 529- 3014.
From Martha Gerschefski who teaches cello at Columbus College in Georgia: "I will not have Cellomania this summer! but plan to have it in summer 1996. I will be available, however, for serious private cello study during this June and for private and class cello at Southeastern Music Center, July 5 through 31." The Southeastern Music Center is housed at Columbus College, and the curriculum includes orchestra, chamber music, private instruction, master classes, recitals, concerto competition
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GEORGIA CELLO SOCIETY MEMBERSHIP COUPON
Georgia Cello Society Membership
Address: City/State ZIP
Type of Membership (circle one): Member ($25) Student Member ($20) Family ($*)
Skill Level: beginner (first position, bass clef only)
intermediate (all 2- octave scales, some tenor clef )
advanced intermediate (tenor & treble clef, 3- octave scales, sixths)
advanced (thumb position, 4- octave scales, octaves and thirds)
Mail to: I)Dona Klein, 1147 Brookhaven Court , Atlanta, (,1* 3()*1*
Looking Ahead to Volume 33 of Cello News ... Look for more News from Cello Land, as well as some news from Cajun cellist Sean Grissom about his latest invention and composition. Also some reviews of brand new arrangements for cello ensemble by Matt Throckmorton of Auburn, Alabama, who has recently begun his own production company called Throckmortons. As usual any news or announcements from readers are welcome. To expedite any inf. which is dated, please fax in care of Dr. Elliott Cheney, UT Music Dept., FAX # (615) 974- 1941. Sharing is always appreciated! Again, be sure to renew your subscription to Cello News as soon as possible, so l can get the next issue out soon (at least before the impending birth of my first child due June 28!!) Thanks and very happy celloing!
CELLO NEWS Vol. 32
Carey Cheney, Editor
UT Music Dept., 211 Music Bldg.
1740 Volunteer Blvd.
Knoxville, TN 37996- 2600