Message from the Director
I am particularly excited about this issue of the newsletter because we have contributions from so many different members. My article on Leonard Rose was a labor of love, Rose being one of my idols as a child. Robert Battey, one of the profound sages of Cello Chat, further expands on his thoughts on the Bach Suites. Aaron Minsky gives the religious/spiritual background of his new cello composition; I wish we would receive more articles of this kind from composers. ICS member John Koenig provides a stunning piece on his own history; you won't believe the twists and turns of his tale, and the historic figures he encounters along the way. Nicholas Anderson heroically pulls together at the last minute a quick article on the cello scene in Costa Rica and Chile, which is in response to John Michel's request for pieces on the happenings in Central and South America. How about the Middle East next? Anyone? And finally, Chrys Wu writes a brief account of a recital that was sponsored by the Los Angeles Violoncello Society. The more contributors we have, the better the newsletter will be, so I encourage everybody to consult his or her muse and come up with something that the ICS membership would enjoy reading.
>> I have another person to add to your list of important California cellists. Young Natalie Haas, Juilliard junior, member of Mark O'Connor's new Appalachia Waltz Trio, winner of "best groove" in ASTA/NSOA's 2003 Alternative Strings Competition, coming out with a duo CD and touring the US, Scotland, France and Spain with Scottish fiddle master, Alasdair Fraser, who coincidentally lives in the California Gold Country. Those are only a few of the innovative players Natalie tours and records with these days. Check Darol Anger's (Turtle Island String Quartet, David Grisman Quintet, Montreux) new CD "Republic of Strings" out on Compass Records February 24, 2004 featuring Natalie and another amazing Calilfornia cellist from Carmel, Rushad Eggleston (recent Berklee grad and 2003 Grammy nominee of The Fiddlers 4 and Darol Anger's American Fiddle Ensemble).
>> I was fascinated to read the names of 'favorite cellists' that your readers sent for listing in your column. I hope the present generation will some day be re-aquainted with the name EMANUEL FEUERMANN.
>> Thank you for your extensive article on Robert LaMarchina. I am his sister, Rosita. I have fond memories of Bobby as an adult who wanted to play fun games. He bought me my first tricycle, it was green. He took me on my first trip to Disneyland when I was 7. He let my brother Arthur and I sit on his lap as he drove on I-5 (in Los Angeles). He also bought us a small roller-coaster. One of my favorite memories of Bobby is when he would come over and play monster with us kids. The last time I saw Bobby was at my dad's funeral, November 1974.
Rosita LaMarchina Hinrichs
>> Robert LaMarchina and I met in 1948 at the L.A. Phil and were friends for a short time. I was a recent transplant to California from a tiny town in Iowa and he befriended me and treated me as a little sister. Of course, he was unforgettable and a musical genius. Even in my naivete and innocence, I discerned that. I was deeply grieved by his death. Your biography on the internet was wonderful and brought me up-to-date.
>> I'm 31 years old and have always wanted to play the cello. I was a ballerina for 15 years and I think that I have a "good ear" for classical music. I'm a physician now and have been devoting my life to medicine since I gave up ballet. I think it's time to accomplish something that I've always dreamed about.
>> I am a member of the Internet Cello Society. This last Saturday I took my last cello exam to get my degree in cello performance. I am very glad to have the Internet Cello Society because when I need any information I can get it on your site.
>> Thank you so much for having the Internet Cello Society website. I get so much use and enjoyment out of it. I'm a cellist from the Midwest. I play with two community orchestras besides doing solo/chamber work. I do it for the fun of it. The cello is my passion/hobby/stress releaser. It is wonderful experience to have. I've gotten to meet so many interesting people and do many things that I probably wouldn't have gotten to otherwise. Keep up the good work and know that a lot of people appreciate what you do.
>> Please allow me to express my sorrow to you. Similar to a sacred place, I consider your web site to be the right place to go. My dear teacher, Professor Zdravko Yordanov, left this world last Thursday, Jan. 22, around 2.00am. He was in his home in Sofia, Bulgaria. Professor Yordanov was born on April 5, 1931 and was pupil of Professor Konstantin Popov, the founder of the Bulgarian school of cello playing. The contributions that Prof. Yordanov made to Bulgarian music are of immense importance. He was an extraordinary cellist that inspired almost all of the leading Bulgarian composers to write music for the cello. Numerous works for cello and orchestra and for solo cello were dedicated to him. His ensemble of twelve cellos, "The Douset," created in 1989 that was composed of himself together with eleven of his students, achieved acclaim throughout the country. For that ensemble every year a different composer was chosen to write a new Bulgarian piece to be performed at an annual festival for contemporary Bulgarian music in Sofia. As a result, two CDs featuring the group were released. For many years Professor Yordanov taught violoncello at the Bulgarian National Academy of Music in Sofia. Many of his students are laureates of different national and international competitions and many of them hold prestigious posts in universities, music schools and renowned orchestras in Bulgaria and abroad. These positions include cello professorships at the Bulgarian Academy of Music, International Menuhin Music Academy in Gstaad, Switzerland, and Florida State University.
I will deeply appreciate if the Cello Society acknowledges his memory in its archives. It is hard to lose a teacher.
Stephen F. Austin University, TX
>> Regarding your reference to Piatigorsky's speaking Russian with Shostakovich in the last newsletter, the way Piatigorsky told it to me (I was his student and friend) was that when he returned to Russia for the first time in around 40 years to be a judge at the Tchaikovsky competition in 1962, virtually everyone he met (particularly the other Soviet judges who spoke Russian) wanted him to speak to them -- the content of what he said didn't matter -- in order to hear the language as it was spoken in the pre-Soviet era. (By the way, Piatigorsky never mentioned Shostakovich to me in this context although it's certainly plausible that Shostakovich was present at the competition at the time and that indeed this anecdote really did apply to him). The fact that it was a pre-Soviet version of the language was the key point as Piatigorsky related it, because he told me that in Soviet Russia, one was looked upon with suspicion -- quite a dangerous thing in that society -- if one spoke elegantly, eruditely, or with flair. Piatigorsky's feeling was that the language had been consciously dumbed-down, so to speak, for political reasons in order to encourage egalitarianism. As people who had been isolated for decades, it was novel, perhaps even shocking, for Soviets to hear the un-tampered-with form of Russian spoken (as opposed to merely being an example of Russian from an earlier era).
Incidentally, if you ever heard Piatigorsky speak English, his speech was adorned liberally with his own unique and inimitable locutions. The way he spoke was really quite unbelievable. I heard the same about his German, which he spoke in front of me once to a visitor to his master class and which was described to me by a fellow classmate, Ola Karlsson (who has for many years been the principal cellist of the Swedish Radio Symphony in Stockholm and a very highly regarded soloist, conductor and pedagogue who is fluent in German and who was also present that day) as "unusual" to say the least! So the anecdote you recounted may just have been a case of Shostakovich being captivated by an incredibly charismatic personality who had the ability to speak poetically -- and in a manner truly distinct from any other individual -- irrespective of the language he was speaking.
As to your comment about Rose's Bach, I don't remember his recording(s) of the Bach suites, but he did play for me the Prelude to the c minor suite at one of my lessons when I studied with him for a time when I was first cellist in the Jerusalem Symphony in the late '70s. I remember his performance of the Bach as being quite good (he used normal tuning by the way) -- interpretively credible and, of course, technically as solid as a rock. He also mentioned to me -- if I recall this correctly -- that he was working on that particular suite for the first time or at least preparing to perform it publicly for the first time. I remember thinking at the time that this was odd -- that a cellist of his stature who had recorded practically the entire cello repertoire hadn't been in the trenches with all of the Bach Suites given that he must have been at that time in his late 50s or early 60s. By the way, I think one of the dangers of Bach recordings (if that is what you based your assessment of Rose's Bach on) is that they represent how a particular person played on a particular day and one is judged by that forever if one was unfortunate enough to have had an off day on that day. We don't know what pressures were brought to bear by Columbia Records either, as they may have had a need to release a new recording by Rose on a particular date. (Obviously, I don't know the facts, but these kinds of things do influence the release of what may be thought by some as sub-standard recordings by great artists.) By the way, I think that is why Piatigorsky's legacy has suffered in recent years. He didn't leave a wealth of great recordings that represented the way he really played because he didn't take recording seriously as something with which to build an artistic legacy. I have heard some air checks of live concerts that, while they may leave a little to be desired in terms of audio quality, are supreme examples of cello playing.
The real issue I see with your musings on the question of cellists today versus cellists of yesterday is that we're all held up to the impossible and artificial technical standards created by modern recording technology. With digital editing, it is not unheard of to have hundreds of edits in a single concerto or sonata movement. The slightest out-of-tune note can be replaced or tweaked. Phrases are exchanged like worn-out tires on a car. The problem is that interpretive continuity is compromised when you do this. And also the element of risk is missing. When you play one of the major concertos, it's something akin to an Olympic gymnastic performance and part of the thrill of experiencing a great performance is that you know that at any time the performer could jump the track, as it were. Contrast the most impressive modern recordings (where in the performance, the performer and producer knew that there could not exist the slightest possibility of a train wreck) with Heifetz' recordings which, as I understand it, were essentially done live. The idiosyncrasies of Heifetz' proclivities for bizarre microphone placement in the later recordings aside, those are documents of someone performing works supremely difficult just about as well as it is possible to perform them -- with all of the interpretive fire intact and made from whole cloth. Capturing that fire on acetate or tape was something akin to capturing lightening in a bottle. And that is what makes those performances so compelling. And where many of the recorded performances of that era may have had some glitches, to me they still represent documents that preserve playing that is about as good as it gets (see Casals's Bach E-Flat Prelude which I haven't heard equaled on a musical level, but which contains a rather salient technical glitch). It sort of makes you realize that at one time, music was practiced foremost as an expressive, communicative art and to me, that is what is being lost today with all of the pressures we -- and people who sell the music we make -- have to be perfect and young and whatever else is marketable today.
Tim Janof replies: I have a friend who heard Rose play the Fifth Suite in 1974, so the notion that Rose played the piece for the first time in the late 1970's is inaccurate. I am sure he had played it well before then as well. Also, I am friends with one of Rose's former students, and she said that even Rose admitted that Bach was not his forte. I happened to agree with him, and yet I still think of him as one of the greatest cellists of all time.
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Leonard Rose was one of the greatest cellists of all time. Many of the recordings he made in the prime of his career continue to be viewed as the ultimate model of gorgeous cello playing. His greatest recordings have a timeless, unmannered quality that sound as fresh today as they did when they were first released.
He also had tremendous success as a teacher. His former students are now leading cellists around the world, and include principal and section cellists in professional orchestras, highly regarded pedagogues, and revered soloists. Leonard Rose was a cellist's cellist, who excelled in every aspect of cello playing -- teacher, soloist, orchestral cellist, and chamber musician.
While researching for this article, I had the tremendous fortune of finding Barbara Rose-Schirota, who is Leonard Rose's daughter. Not only did she provide insight into her father as a person, and provide details that only a family member could know, but she shared an unfinished video that her father made in 1978 on bow technique, as well as a rough draft of an autobiography that Rose was working on until his death in 1984. This article quotes liberally from these sources so that the reader may get a glimpse of Rose's memories and thoughts in his own words.
(Click here for the complete transcript.)
Few tasks are more daunting than attempting to discern and convey J.S. Bach's precise intentions for his Cello Suites. A true and meaningful interpretation of the Suites requires an entirely different heuristic model than that of our other repertoire. This is because the autograph of the Suites has been lost, and we are left only with several flawed and inconsistent copies. Since there is no original source, everything, from notes to rhythms to phrasings, must be questioned.
With many pieces, one can simply rely on the fidelity and accuracy of a high-quality edition such as Henle, prepared either from autographs or composer-supervised prints. There, you have the simple choice of either doing what the composer wrote or deviating for some (hopefully sound) reason. In the Suites, though, there is an opaque wall separating us from the source, and editors cannot help you. Their eyes are no better than yours, as far as discerning what is actually in the early copies, and their judgment as to where a slur should fall, or which of the possible rhythms in a disputed measure is best, carries no more authority than yours or mine. Those of us who teach have a duty to inculcate our students early to the challenges and complexities of this process, rather than simply pass on what our teachers told us, or even the conclusions we may have drawn from our own study.
(Click here for the complete transcript.)
I had a sheltered childhood. It wasn't sheltered in the typical sense. I was certainly not sheltered from the realities of modern urban life, such as sex, drugs, and violence. No, my childhood was sheltered in that most everyone I knew was Jewish. Of course I had some friends who weren't Jewish, but religion never came up for discussion. In our neighborhood people kept their religion to themselves, and most didn't think much about religion anyway. For most of us Jews, it never dawned on us that we were Jewish, or that our beliefs or ways of looking at things were any different than anyone else's. Does a fish know he's a fish? That is why it was such a shock to me when I went away to college and suddenly found myself in a majority Christian environment, surrounded by evangelical Christians trying to convert me.
(Click here for the complete transcript.)
I'd be willing to bet that the story of my path to the cello and its ultimate importance in my life will be one of the most unusual that members of the Internet Cello Society will likely ever encounter.
I was raised around music. My father, Lester Koenig, ran a jazz record company, which he founded in 1949 in Los Angeles, a year before I was born. He'd started it as a kind of a hobby. He had been working in the movie industry, as second in command (typically credited as associate producer, which meant a lot more then than it does now) on all of Willy Wyler's pictures ("The Best Years of Our Lives," "Roman Holiday," etc.) and as he was always interested in music, he made friends with many of the composers who worked on the pictures he worked on. Those included Aaron Copland ("The Heiress"), Gail Kubik (World War II documentaries with Wyler) and many others. So during the time he worked with Wyler, he started the label, Contemporary Records, in order to record "contemporary" classical music written by these composers and their colleagues, with the recordings supervised by the composers themselves. Notably among these were Roy Harris and Ernst Toch. He also recorded some other chamber music under the aegis of the Society for Forgotten Music, an organization founded by the composer Vladimir Duleksky (who was also known as Vernon Duke when he wrote popular songs such as "April in Paris") and among those recordings was a cello recital recording of some obscure but interesting pieces performed by the cellist George Neikrug. But my father was also interested in both traditional and modern jazz and so he recorded both of those idioms, as well. Soon, with the burgeoning West Coast "cool" jazz scene, the jazz part of the operation predominated. In 1953, my father left the film business because of the Hollywood blacklist, a subject I won't get into here, and went into the record business full-time. So I was around musicians, and particularly jazz musicians, from a very early age. From early childhood, I went to a lot of recording sessions and I got to know the jazz musicians my father recorded: Shelly Manne, Andre Previn, Shorty Rogers, Lennie Niehaus (who scores most of Clint Eastwood's pictures), Sonny Rollins, Ornette Coleman, Ray Brown, etc. I also got to meet - and ultimately to know - many others whom my father knew because of his stature as the head of a record company - musicians such as Miles Davis, John Coltrane, Elvin Jones, McCoy Tyner, Dizzy Gillespie, George Shearing, Gerry Mulligan and many more.
(Click here for the complete transcript.)
(Click here for the complete transcript.)
It's not every day that you see a cello used as a percussion instrument. But Lynn Angebranndt played hers as if hammering away on the strings with a pencil was the way things were meant to be. Accompanied by flautist Julie Long, the two gave a fiery rendition of movements II, VI, and VIII from Reza Vali's "Folk Songs" (Set No. 9). While Movement II involved fingerboard strikes and a pencil, Movement VIII set even higher demands, requiring Angebranndt to play cello and tom (drum) simultaneously. Again she approached her part with plenty of enthusiasm, looking completely unfazed as she pounded out the dervish-like rhythm. Ending with a lusty "hey!" Long and Angebranndt had the audience cheering and whooping their approval.
(Click here for the complete transcript.)
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>> Interpreting the Art of Interpretation
rarecellos: As a cynical one (maybe I lived for too many years in the Siberian labor camp or some call it the 'practice room'), sometime I almost laugh out aloud some of these brave and brash comments about various performers on this board.
Then I catch myself doing the same thing.
However, it is always MORE INTERESTING if one can give convincing arguments to the reasons for the likes and dislikes of a certain performance/performer. Sure, it is nice to have people who have strong opinions -- like Mahler's friend argued with another concertgoer at a Alban Berg concert -- so much so that a real knife and blood were in action. People defend for their taste, their art, their style, and their opinion.
These days most of the aging concert audience probably wouldn't bother to start a riot even if they were listening to Rite of the Spring for the first time. Heck these days people can probably even listen to a BAD performance of the RITE and eat BBQ at the same time.
Then there are those artists who prefer NOT to listen to any other play to avoid imitation. That's understandable to a certain point.
Then sometimes I get one of those "prodigies" to play for me, who has never heard of a Rostropovich recording, and he was playing Shostakovich Concerto No.1 like it was Haydn. The prodigies parents sure KNOW HOW TO DEFEND THEIR ART. Then there are those who play Haydn's "Sturm und Drang" sections like it is Shostakovich -- fine, whatever turns them on!
On the other hand, the issue of movement during performance is hotly debated here as well.
Just to show some of the younger cellists how much fun cello playing could be, I bought some Jackie videos. I think one of them is "Remembering Jacqueline du Pr by Nupen. One of the scenes is that Jackie was playing with her teacher (Pleeth). Even though the movement was clearly excessive, she sounded wonderful to me.
Also sometimes I find orchestral cellists tend to move less for obvious reasons -- their stand partner might pull out an endpin and destroy their Peccatte. How do you know which cello bow stick is better and stronger? Well, just have a Satory vs. Voiron by having two animated cellists going at each other with the Tortoise Shells, Abalone Shields and all.
Nobody should sound exactly the same or move exactly the same way. So next time when you have a strong opinion that is opposite to mine, please take out your Peccatte, and I will wait for you with my nickel-mounted bow from Hong Kong at Carnegie Hall.
BA: Not listening to avoid imitation is fine if one actually reads and understands the score and the composer. I think you could get a thorough understanding of the style of the Shostakovich concerto from a true understanding of the score and the composer's other works without ever hearing Rostropovich. However if you are not at the point where you can truly understand a score, best to get help, so we have the benefit of hearing what others have done from recordings, and we steal and we learn. One will eventually come to one's own opinions anyway. Individuality in good interpretation is inherent. It is only bad interpretations that sound depressingly similar -- random accents, random tempi, thoughtless vibrato and slides -- basically just thoughtless playing that does not convey emotion to the listener except through the performer's own obvious personal involvement. (Fine and good if you like that sort of thing but not a substitute for exciting MUSIC. How long can one sit watching someone writhe before it loses its interest?)
The problem is that people don't often listen to good recordings. Instead they hear recordings of the most famous or the most easily available. Really without a knowledgeable guide how would anyone as a young student know how to discriminate And when we hear something several times it becomes 'normal' to our ears and we cease to question it. This happens to all of us with our favorite recordings and we rarely question what we are accustomed to, but if what we are becoming accustomed to hearing is thoughtless, careless playing it is unlikely to help us learn to be thoughtful in our own choices. Sessions of blind, comparative listening ought to be mandatory in every cello class. How can we learn to hear the details of what we are doing when we are involved in playing if we can not learn to truly hear the details of what others are doing when we are only obligated to listen?
Now as far as movement, you have a point about orchestral players moving less, but I don't know how far it goes. The players in Berlin and Vienna move quite a bit. And as far as soloists you would be hard pressed to find anyone from the previous generation who moved to the extent that today's artists do. I'm not just talking about Heifetz, but Casals, Feuermann, Piatigorsky, Starker, Rose, Nelsova, Oistrakh, Milstein, Rubinstein, Horowitz, etc, etc... I can't think of one that rivals the movements of a Yo-Yo Ma or Josh Bell et al, let alone 'the future of classical music' Lang Lang...
rarecellos: I agree that one can play Shostakovich well without listening to Rostropovich. But if one plays Shostakovich like Haydn, it's not my cup of tea, and I don't really care if others do- it's up to them. But I am somewhat against playing all periods of music with one style -- be it with or without vibrato, moving a lot or not moving at all.
It is definite easier to play all music with one kind of vibrato, or only two kinds of slide, and only vibrant big red tone. But that's boring for me.
You know what I mean, I can't eat sushi everyday, even though I love it (can't afford it really). Likewise it is boring for me if someone plays the repeats in Bach exactly the same for every suite day in and day out.
Cellists these days have their own nick to make things less mundane. Isserlis plays obscure pieces more than others. Yo-Yo plays crossover, Brazilian Jazz, and what not. Some go for early music, others go for the avant garde, whatever makes them tick.
You have a point about Vienna and Berlin -- yes they do move more, but they USUALLY MOVE TOGETHER IN THE SAME DIRECTION. You watch Vienna with the New Year Concert I am sure you know what I mean already. American orchestras generally tend to move less. For example, I have played with Cleveland once and listened to them a few times, they didn't move that much when I saw them -- but they ALSO SOUNDED GREAT.
You are right about Berlin. They all sound like soloists but play in unison -- all virtuoso players but with one interpretation, and they blend really well.
It is also interesting to watch Toscanini films, the NBC orchestra doesn't seem to move that much, but again they sounded great. (Toscanini probably scared the orchestra a lot, but the orchestra doesn't sound stiff even though they don't move much).
mvotapek: Hearing recordings of Shostakovich playing Shostakovich, it strikes me that he plays his own compositions much closer to how one would expect to hear Haydn than how one hears Rostropovich. So I take it to heart. It seems reasonable to me that Shostakovich's admiration of and friendship to Rostropovich combined with his eagerness to have his cello compositions played well and often would be sufficient reason for his dedications. I don't think it seems AS reasonable to assume that his music is meant to be played like Rostropovich does.
There's such a battle of the classical structure, rhythm, and even harmony vs. the emotional content. And there is a different winner in each composition...usually a transformed winner.
>> Carter Brey performs Bach
Bob: Last Saturday I heard our very own Carter Brey perform the C major Bach Suite on his wonderful Guadagnini. He created a fine balance between modern and "authentic" styles (didn't use the endpin; played with light, continually-changing bow strokes; spare vibrato), and wowed us with his fleet tempi. I'll need to correct a couple of notes in whatever edition he learned from (it left out the D in bar 30 of the Prelude and had an A flat in the 4th bar of the Bourree II), but he's still The Man. This concert was in the middle of a crushing orchestra schedule and an Octet concert with his section-mates the next night. He tossed off his Suites (D minor too, but I missed it) without a blemish. Very impressive.
cbrey: My source for this reading was the Johann Peter Kellner manuscript of 1726, published in photographic facsimile by Baerenreiter. It predates the Anna Magdalena Bach manuscript by a few years. Not that it makes a world of difference, but the repeated B natural in bar 30 of the Prelude, outlining a dominant on G, is not only written by Kellner but is consistent with the established sequential pattern, and the A-flat in the second Bourree is quite specifically added as an accidental by Kellner.
You missed one other difference: 10 bars from the end of the Prelude, I played a voicing of the chord which contains a C natural as the second voice from the bottom, rather than the usual G, which is a pitch that is repeated anyway an octave higher. The C, which is indicated by Kellner, makes this chord a half-diminished seventh on A, in second inversion (that is, with E-flat in the bass). The E-flat leads stepwise to a D in the next chord, forming a dominant seventh in second inversion.
In the 8th bar of the Sarabande, I used an idea from an anonymous manuscript of the later 18th century, in which the bottom voice is a single C natural, rather than nothing (Anna Magdalena) or a tripartite chord (Kellner). This let me vary the voice leading in the resolution on the repeat: from the top first, then from the bottom.
Like politicians, I can use my sources to reach any damned conclusion I want! But it is important to know the sources before pillaging them-- or referencing them.
Bob: I'm sure I missed several others, but I think I still did pretty good for recollecting three days later after one hearing (that went by pretty fast, btw). I recalled something funky in those chords near the end of the Prelude, but memory didn't completely capture it. Anyway, I shouldn't, of course, have used the term "correct," which implied that what you did was an "error" on your part. The multifarious tangle of sources, and their sharp contradictions on matters large and small, makes our study of the Suites a road without end.
Not that it disposes of anything, but I have to say that the Barenreiter editors have not convinced me that the Kellner is the "earliest surviving copy." I'm skeptical that handwriting analysis alone can place something at 1726 instead of 1728. But regardless of who copied first, what is clear is that the AMB and the Kellner were themselves copies of different manuscripts. No way on earth two people could have looked at the same source and come up with such totally different versions.
My version of the end of the Prelude is found in no original source, but I dare to think it's an improvement. First, I do a double trill in the 3d bar from the end. I do this to set up a full C major chord I add at the beginning of the penultimate bar; otherwise, the D just sits there, unresolved. With the added chord, I then end the Prelude with the lone open C. This creates nice, identical bookends for the movement. Also makes the voice-leading more sensible; the last note is no longer two octaves (as the melodic note in the chord) above the next-to-last note.
I have even crazier things in the other movements, but I don't want to get laughed out of here.
>> Ah, those questions and comments that cellists must endure....
soundberry: I take the bus to get most places around here and I've completely lost my compassion for people's interest in my cello. I can not handle smiling politely anymore. Here is the list of comments I can no longer bare:
ECHICOTA: A particularly bright fellow at my public high school asked me with the utmost gravity if my cello was a rocket ship.
annelieske: Okay, here are a few more (from quite nice to plain idiotic):
tswadley: My kids would rather I didn't have a cello attached to me most of the time. The strangest looks I've received was when I went by a Pizza place in December to attend my son's soccer party on the way to a gig. It was 20 degrees outside, so the cello had to go in with me, but though several of the moms looked startled to see me haul the thing in on my back, no one said a word. But then when I picked it up to leave, one of the kids said, "oh, I thought that was a black balloon behind your chair."
clemzilla: I just purchased a new cello case last year... one of those aluminum Rouillard guys. I love the thing, but I get the same comment time after time: "Hey- who's in the coffin?" Last week, I was asked that question while in a particularly intolerant mood. My answer: "The last guy who cracked that joke. "
viola pomposa: Back in the days when you could gate check cellos, I took a brutal 6am flight. Slumped over the Delta ticket counter, I heard, "You know, your husband would really be more comfy if you'd just buy him a seat!"
rocel: My best one, was on walking into an extremely rough pub in Newcastle with my swanky silver accord case with backpack strapped to my person. Then a huge, skinhead, tatooed chap with a very straight face said, "You've bin ripped off wit ya moobile phoon there loov!" Excuse the Geordie dialect.
1. Kronberg Festival Spawns a Global Cello Society
Leading cellists from across the globe gathered in Kronberg, Germany, in October to found the World Cello Organization. With its goals carefully defined by Pablo Casals' words, "Art and humanity are inseparable," the organization aims to strengthen the relationship between the cello and the public by nurturing young talent, facilitating access to famous artists, and developing cello repertoire. Its website will host a Cello Calendar with festival and concert dates, and a database of musical scores.
2. One-minute Pieces for cellists
Student cellists in England will have a chance to play one-minute pieces by some of England's best known composers with the launch this month of the Spectrum for Cello album by the Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music. Hopefully they will share this with the cello world. The album also contains a CD of all the pieces, performed by cellist William Bruce and pianist Thalia Myers.
3. New book about Yo-Yo Ma
A new book is on the verge of being published about Yo-Yo Ma. Here's the link:
4. 21st Century Cellos
On March 16, the Berkeley Symphony Orchestra, under Kent Nagano, will present a concert entitled, "21st Century Cellos." The concert will feature the world premiere of a new work for cello by Karen Tanaka, written for former Kronos Quartet cellist Joan Jeanrenaud. In addition, Juliyaba will perform Elliott Carter's Cello Concerto (originally written for Yo-Yo Ma). The concert will include a celebration of Laszlo Varga's contributions to the art of cello with Matt Haimovitz performing the Rococo Variations.
5. Irene Sharp Cello Seminar
Irene Sharp's Cello Seminar will take place June 21-25, 2004, at Stanford University in Stanford, California. "For cello students, professional cellists, amateurs, and teachers. Inspired by the teaching of Margaret Rowell. Survey of principles of artistic and healthy playing in the morning sessions. Perform cello repertoire of your choice in the afternoon master classes."
For more information, write to: firstname.lastname@example.org.
6. Summer Music Academy Leipzig
The 4th International Summer Music Academy Leipzig, presented by the Leipzig Music University and the Juilliard School, will take place from July 16 through August 5, 2004 in Leipzig, Germany. Cello study will be under the direction of Christian Giger, Solo Cellist of the Chopin Academy and teacher at the Music University. Students receive two individual lessons and a class lesson weekly and also study chamber music with other faculty members, including Bruce Brubaker and Stephen Clapp of the Juilliard School and Klaus Hertel of the Leipzig faculty. Cellists will take part in student concerts (reviewed) in major halls, and there will be excursions. For more information go to www.hmt-leipzig.de or send an e-mail to email@example.com. There are special cello scholarships available.
7. Bolognini CD
The legendary Bolognini recording from the 1950's, "The Magic Sounds of Bolognini," has been released on CD. It is available at: www.store.yahoo.com/resourcewest. For those who are unfamiliar with Bolognini, many considered him to be one of the greatest cellists who ever lived (Feuermann is reputed to have agreed with that opinion!) He was a very colorful individual, with lots of other interests besides cello. One of his main claims to immortality is his unique flamenco style of playing pizzicato, imitating a guitar. Several of his own flamenco compositions are featured on the album. -- Ryan Selberg.
8. ASTA with NSOA event CD
ASTA WITH NSOA is holding its National String Forum & Festival in Dallas, Texas, March 11-15, 2004. Events will take place at the Adams Mark Hotel and Southern Methodist University.
This event includes:
9. Prize Winners
10. Faculty and Ensemble Appointments
11. More Cello News
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Manchester International Cello Festival
The next Manchester (U.K.) International Cello Festival has been advertised for May 5-9, 2004. In future this event will take place every three years instead of every other year. http://www.cello-festival.demon.co.uk.
The International Pablo Casals Cello Competition will be held 25 August - 4 September 2004 in Kronberg, Germany. http://www.kronbergacademy.de.
The International Cello Ensemble Society will host a festival in Kobe, Japan in May 2005. http://www.kobe-cello.com.
World Cello Congress IV
World Cello Congress IV May/June 2006 at Towson University, Baltimore, Maryland. Cello Congress V is also listed on their website - May/June 2010! "Many of the greatest stars of the music world will join forces to present a one-of-a-kind event not to be missed." Concerts, recitals, masterclasses, workshops, symposia, exhibits, receptions. http://www.towson.edu/worldmusiccongresses/wcc4.html.
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3. le Violoncelle
4. Amit Peled
6. River Cities Symphony Orchestra
7. J.S. Bach
9. Another Violoncello
10. And another one....
12. Violoncello Piccolo
13. Schumann Concerto
14. Chinese Symbol for Cello
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