Message from the Editor
I am particularly excited about this issue's interview with cellist and collector-extraordinaire Keith Harvey. Remember that 'Recorded Cello' set of CD's? That CD set is drawn from Keith Harvey's world-renowned collection of historical recordings, and is but a taste of what he has in his archives.
His contributions to the cello world are immense. In addition to the fine example set by his illustrious performing career, his willingness to share gems from his enviable collection has resulted in an increased awareness in younger generations of a level of artistry that may never be equaled. I feel truly honored to be able to present him to the ICS. Special thanks to Selma Gokcen for doing this interview.
>> As a cellist and member of ICS I would like to share a programme I have developed with all my colleagues and friends at ICS. "Palmonome" is a musical metronome for the Palm platform, thus turning an ordinary Palm PDA into a professional musical metronome. It has many special functions that any musician could appreciate. An example is the ability to recognise the metronome tempo of a pulse tapped on the screen or group complex time signatures into smaller groups (eg. 5/8 = 2+3). It also includes a tuner delivering an A between 415Hz and 450 Hz. I am offering this to all ICS members at 50% discount ($5). Simply visit http://www.geocities.com/palmonome/ics.html.
>> Please note some radical philosophical changes at Cello Academy. As of Friday, September 5, the videos of the Cello Academy can be downloaded. Both the watching of the streaming videos and the download of the videos are free of charge. But for those who are able to pay the modest price are cordially asked for a donation. This contribution supports those members of our world-wide music community who cannot afford this service.
The cello-academy.com team
>> To the person who thinks they might have a "medical emergency" because of unsuitable seating arrangements. I have been using the Bambach Saddle Seat now continuously for about three months. It has solved all of my back problems. My pelvis is supported by the shape of the "saddle" and I have an adjustable back rest for height and angle that suits me. Because the chair is hydraulic I can obtain the correct height (I am almost six feet in height), and the saddle itself is adjustable for slope or straight parallel use. I have had previously diagnosed medical problems: i.e. Lumbar Stenosis, Scoliosis, and Lordosis, which in literal terms means "my spine is in a mess!" I don't want this letter to sound like a commercial, but I don't know what I would have done without the Bambach Saddle Seat.
I play and use the saddle seat in The City of Fremantle Symphony Orchestra here in Western Australia, and I notice that Andrew Tait, double bassist with the West Australian Symphony Orchestra (WASO) also uses it. He is a practical man who has recently built his own double bass! I sincerely hope this letter can help your inquirer.
>> I would like to learn to play the cello. I am left-handed. Should I learn to play right-handed or accommodate by reversing the strings? How is this best (or typically) handled?
Rajan Krishnaswami replies: I have known only one cellist who tried reversing the strings, and did with disastrous results. The cello is made specifically to work with the strings the way they are. The sound post, the bass bar, the planing of the finger board, etc., are all designed for the current set up. It will not work reversed unless you have a custom made cello. The fact is that each hand is difficult and you must learn fine motor coordination skills with each side. I am right-handed and have learned to play the notes just fine with my left hand. You can just as well learn the bow with your right hand. It is best and typically handled by NOT reversing the strings.
Remember, playing the cello is very challenging, and required a great deal of commitment and perseverance. Be sure you are ready for the long haul when you start. It is not an instant gratification activity!
>> I enjoyed the article on Tom. My story is almost the same. I am 49 years old. I work at NASA in Houston Texas as the Imagery Science Branch Chief. I played bass in high school and didn't like it. I almost bought a cello in 1980. I ended up buying a reasonably priced one in July of this year while visiting my mother in North Carolina at a guitar store located in a flea market. Since then I play it every day and have started lessons. It's really a dream come true that originated 35 years ago when I wanted to switch to the cello and was talked out of it because they needed at least one bass player. I wondered if there was anyone else like me out there .... and sure enough there is!
>> I am a former music teacher who has been deaf for ten years. Recently I got a cochlear implant and decided in celebration of hearing again I would learn the cello. In preparation I logged on to your web site to study cello technique. As a former violinist I was not familiar anymore with the tenor clef so I read your tip on how to read it. I must admit I found it a bit confusing. I would like to suggest a simpler way.
For the lines the first letter from each of the following words in this phrase correspond to the lines from the bottom of the staff to the top. Do Fat Alley Cats Eat? (D F A C E) and for the spaces from bottom to top use the following phrase, Even Good Boys Dawdle (E G B D). This is not my own invention. I learned it from Mark Morton at the web site for the American School of Double Bass. Check it out and see if you agree it is an easier way to remember the tenor clef lines and spaces.
>> I teach Band and Strings at Ridgeway Elementary School. One of my students asked me where the name cello came from. I know it is Italian, but what is the history behind the name. Can you help me?
Robert Jesselson replies: In response to your question about the origin of the work "cello," below is a link to an article I wrote that appeared in 1991 in Strings magazine. This is probably far more than you wanted to know, but here it is anyway:
** If you would like to respond to something you have read in 'Tutti Celli',
write to firstname.lastname@example.org and type "Membership
Letter" in subject field. (Letters may be edited.)**
by Selma Gokcen
Click here to listen to Keith Harvey playing "Sea Murmurs." by Castelnuovo-Tedesco.
SG: Who and what were your primary influences as a cellist growing up in post-war England?
KH: I started playing at thirteen. I didn't really want to play the cello. Both my parents were violinists, my mother a professional and my father a very good amateur. When he was thirteen, his father died and he had to support the family, otherwise he might also have become a professional violinist. My mother had a fine technique but my father had a special quality of tone rather reminiscent of Kreisler.
At the age of nine I contracted polio, after which my hundred yard sprint was rather limited. Worried that I would not be able to stand and play, my mother decided I should play the cello. Of course her ulterior motive was a wish to have a resident cellist for chamber music. I began studying with Amos Moore, a wonderful man, who was a member of the Liverpool Philharmonic and an exceptional teacher of children.
Incidentally, at the age of six or seven, I had heard Casals play the Dvorak concerto and it made an indelible impression on me. There was something about the man, apart from the music, which I found so compelling. He remains in my childhood memory as a figure bathed in golden light. Later I was taken to a concert at which Antonio Janigro played. A lady violinist said to me, "He plays a Guadagnini, you know." To which my reply was: "No, I am sure it is a cello."
Shortly after I began lessons, I heard Pierre Fournier's exquisite recording of The Swan, which, even to this day, I think is the finest version on record. In fact, this was the defining moment when I really wanted to persevere with the instrument. Subsequently, I began looking through my father's record collection. I was in heaven listening to Casals' recording of the Dvorak concerto with George Szell and the Czech Philharmonic. I proceeded to wear out the records.
(Click here for the complete transcript.)
This brief interview is with Mstislav Rostropovich's daughter, Olga, who attended the 2003 National Cello Congress in Tempe, Arizona.
TJ: Do you still play the cello?
OR: Not anymore.
Did you quit because of the pressure of being the daughter of Mstislav Rostropovich?
Of course, I felt the pressure of being his daughter, but I dealt with it. I mostly quit playing because I got married and had children, and I knew that I couldn't be both a performing cellist and a good wife and mother. Somehow my mother, Galina Vishnevskaya, was able to do both. She was a prima donna at the Bolshoi Theatre Opera, the wife of a very successful man, and the mother of his children. I don't know how she did it.
(Click here for the complete transcript.)
Now in its third season, One World Symphony is a group of highly regarded up-and-coming musicians and vocalists from the four corners of the globe and representing the wide diversity of the world's cultures, ethnicities, and languages. Korean-born David Hong explains that One World Symphony was founded to program music inspired by different cultures to increase musical diversity in the concert hall, audience awareness of music from all parts of the world, promote music by living composers and offer fresh interpretations of the classic repertoire.
(Click here for the complete transcript.)
This website has lots of great information for beginners.
**Please notify Tim Janof at email@example.com of interesting websites that you would like to nominate for this recognition in the future. Websites will be selected based on their content, cello relevance, creativity and presentation style!
Thanks to Bobbie Mayer for compiling the following conversations from our chat boards. In addition to our boards, you are welcome to contact our forum hosts directly. For a complete list of ICS Forum Hosts please see http://www.cello.org/The_Society/Staff.html
>> Does one's musicianship reflect one's personality?
gloriarex: I'm glad to hear you make the distinction between personality and musicianship, BA. At times, the attacks on Yo-Yo in this forum seem extremely personal. But I have to disagree with you in one respect. I have a difficult time listening to and enjoying the musicianship of someone who I know is a jerk. After all, isn't one's playing an extension of their personality? I think you can tell a lot about someone and their psyche by listening to them play. Maybe some really great artists are able to transcend their personalities for the sake of their art. I guess those of us left on terra firma have to deal with our insecurities coming out all too clearly in our playing.
BA: This is an interesting observation that I have heard many people voice. It seems to me like it SHOULD be true, but my experience in my life has shown something different, or at least more complex. I find Heifetz absolutely heart rending, knowing that he could be quite an SOB. And also Kreisler, and he was quite a gentleman.
I do think there is an aspect of peoples persona in how they play, but I think maybe one sees more of a person's 'soul' in their playing than in their interactions with people. Perhaps people reveal in their playing not only their surface personality, but also deeper aspects that you might never sense otherwise.
I actually think my playing is rather different from my personality.
paitken: I think that the notion that a person's "soul" (or whatever) is reflected in their playing is romantic silliness. For every example where it seems to be true there is another example where it is not. It might be nice if it were true, and -it would seem more fair and just in some ways, but people are a lot more complex. Just like a skilled actor can play a role that is very different from his real personality, a skilled musician can -- or at least should be able to -- play music with emotions and expression that are different from his or her "inner self."
gloriarex: The truth is that we'll never really know whether or not someone's performance is a reflection of their personality or soul because you can never know anyone (except maybe your spouse or children) that well. Of course there is acting involved. A performance by definition involves some sort of acting. I think the word "acting" implies that what you see is not honest, but "put on." But I do think that there are players who "bare their soul" and at least give you the impression that what they are communicating is a real and true expression of what they want to say at that moment.
Anyway, the most important result of a performance is that the audience walks away feeling as though they have been moved in some way by the performance. Not everyone will come away with the same experience (hence our love of critics). I don't think you can definitively say that one artist is a fraud or not. Everyone is going to have their own opinion whether they are professional musicians or the guy off the street.
rosalind porter: I know there are some musicians who do bare their deepest soul on the podium, much more than they ever do in real life in certain cases. But I think for the majority of us musicians the reality is that the magic "X factor" is not so much one's OWN soul, but that of the music ... and through the performance of the music, embodying our technical ability and our emotional understanding of the meaning behind and inside the notes, the music goes on to take on a deeper meaning (soul?) of its own in each and every member of the audience, in many different forms and with much variation in intensity. And indeed our own interpretations of that music must vary due to our individual psychological state at the time of performing, to a lesser or greater extent there is a "part" of us woven into the composer's notes on the page.
Look at what happened to Samuel Barber's Adagio after 9/11. Whatever the composer's original "soul" behind the composition -- the music took on an added emotional depth for totally extraneous reasons. Music is an emotional "necessity" for us - perhaps?? A way to deal with psychological issues we can't, or don't want to express in words?
If go to a concert and we know that "Ms. X" cello soloist for tonight's Elgar has lost her mother to cancer 3 days previously -- would we transpose our own feelings of how SHE might be interpreting the music due to her experience in such a way as to mould OUR own individual emotional response to the music as mere listeners? Whereas in reality the cellist might have hated her mother and be feeling incredibly happy -- and only interpreting the sadness she sees in Elgar's music, not in her own soul... Or she could indeed be devastated and playing out her broken heart....
All I know is that I am aware my playing vividly mirrors my own emotional state. I didn't/couldn't play for years after my mother died. Music was too intense/emotional. I could only listen and work with it, if I treated it as "just notes." I will always be grateful to the maestro who unlocked my musical soul again.
Hell, is it so hard to analyze such things? I think we hugely underestimate the power of music -- away from all the marketing hype of the Yo-Yo's and Lang-Lang's of this world etc. There is something wonderfully intangible about Mozart.
BA: First of all, not all people play all types of music equally well, and it has in large part to do with their own personal temperament. What happens is that the composer's words are internalized by the musician who ideally makes every attempt to understand the words and what the composer is trying to achieve with them, and then presents them for the audience. Inevitably the facets of the performer's own personality will influence how they recreate the composition.
The acting analogy is a good one, but just watch two great actors read the same part. Of course you are seeing their personality -- their own soul -- influencing their interpretation. It is impossible to remove one's self from the equation. We inevitably interpret when we learn and understand. Two people can't read a script identically even if they tried to. That is why it is so vital to pay attention to the details of what the composer is saying with the music when first forming one's 'interpretation.' We will inevitably put our own interpretation and our own passions into what we play. We must discipline ourselves to make sure that we understand everything we can about the spirit, language and meaning of the composers words, because ego is always willing to let us believe that our take is right, even if we don't really yet fully understand what we are talking about.
Really, I'm surprised anybody who plays the cello could think the idea of baring one's soul in performance is 'romantic silliness.' You must know that there are moments in performance where what happens is completely spontaneous and intuitive. You don't have to call it 'soul' if that word bothers you, but whatever it is that happens in that moment, that is the true creative, meaningful moment in art that we all practice and strive for. If music didn't have the power to communicate anything besides tones and harmonies, it wouldn't have survived they way it has. Don't you get the feeling when you are listening to certain parts of Beethoven symphonies that you are feeling his innermost soul? And don't you get the same feeling hearing certain Kreisler recordings -- though an entirely different type of personality? I'm not saying you learn everything about a person by watching them play. But I am saying that you can certainly sense things about who a person is. The interpreter is the prism through which you view the composition. A good performer seeks to understand in order to enhance rather than distort, but 'interpretation' is inevitable.
I have a feeling someone is going to call me on what it means to enhance vs distort -- isn't one man's enhancing another's distorting?
Imagine someone was reading 'to be or not to be' and putting accents and odd breaks on every other word, like an exaggerated parody of William Shatner. If your concentration is drawn away from the effect of the sentence onto the up and down seasick motion and timing of the words, that is distorting. However, great actors won't read it the exact same way. They might emphasize a certain word, hurry through some words and draw out others. The idea would be to clarify the meaning of the sentence, and to increase the dramatic punch. And there are many different ways it could be done. They might put a different 'spin' on the words based on what they feel is most important, but either could be moving and effective. It becomes overacting when it distracts rather than enhances the message of the words -- when you become aware of the performer separately from what they are performing.
We can generally agree on what overacting is more easily than what over-the-top musical interpreting is because, frankly, we are all much more familiar with language than with music. We are used to reading and hearing our own voice. Most -- I dare say none -- of us are nearly as used to reading music. We are much more used to listening to music in this era of recordings. And if one listens to a recording often enough, anything can begin to seem 'normal', particularly if one has little knowledge of the score of the composition relative to their exposure to the recording. Imagine if we had a society that didn't read or converse in their daily lives (maybe not such a stretch) and only heard plays with over the top William Shatner-style inflections. It would begin to sound normal to us. Much like the Grimm brothers law of consonantal drift, as recordings begin to make our musical experience more aural than written, we begin to model how we 'talk' based on what we have heard, and so individual characteristics get more pronounced each time the cycle is replicated. It's like playing the game 'Telephone.' You start with the music, but as each sucessive generation's individual interpretation is taken as the standard from which the next departs, in a few generations you could have a musical caricature. Of course there are good artists in every generation, but they get that way by thinking and learning, not by using what they heard on a du Pré recording as their standard.
P.S. Rosalind it seems to me that what you are talking about are extra-musical factors that effect the listener's perception. Though these are a real and often major factor in the listening experience, I am talking about the things you would hear without extraneous information in your head. Behind a screen or on the radio for example....
>> Is the Vivaldi g minor Double Cello Concerto in d minor?
Beth: The title of the piece in my book (Suz. 6) says "Concerto in G Minor for Two Violoncellos," but wouldn't it be D minor? It has one flat, b, so that would be F major, and its relative minor would be D? Or am I just totally missing something here?
dennisw: The original is in "g minor" with a key signature of one flat. That is correct. This is something that you will see every now and then in Baroque music. There is no good explanation for it, especially in this concerto, but the theoretical explanation goes like this:
A lot of "minor key" movements were actually written in dorian-mode. The dorian mode for F major (one-flat) is g-dorian. Since all our scale systems derived from the modes, even a major key is a mode (Ionian) and a minor key is a mode as well (aeolian). So dorian is just a different mode.
Well, the major difference between dorian and aeolian lies in the sixth note of the scale. A true natural g minor will have a minor sixth, whereas a g-dorian will have a major sixth. In g, the sixth note of the scale is e.
So, the baroque composer wrote in a dorian mode at times in order to gain some flexibility in shifting from dorian to minor (a color shift) the minor sixth gives the "minor key sound" mainly because it causes the IV chord to be minor and the VI chord to be major. A strict dorian mode will have a IV chord which is major and a VI chord which is diminished. The diminished chord is really never used, so in the case of g-dorian, the e-natural is really a melodic note used mainly to lead up to the tonic (like a major key does).
Put these two modes together and, voila, we have the genisis of the "melodic minor" scale!!
In the case of the two-cello concerto by Vivaldi, he just made extra work for his copyist since he doesn't take advantage of the e-natural very often, so you'll see lots of e-flats marked in the part. So, in this case, we have a piece of music that truly is in g-minor but is written in g-dorian.
A better example of this practice lies in the Menuet II of the first cello suite by JS Bach. It is written in a true g-dorian (1-flat) and Bach takes advantage of the use of both the e-flat and the e-natural in the movement. The harmonic implications of this practice are significant in assisting us in making decisions about how to interpret the music.
Here are a couple of websites that do an ok job of explaining the history of the Greek modes as they apply to Western music and a definition of the harmonic minor scale:
http://www.engr.mun.ca/~whitt/bass/mode_origins.html -- "The next milepost in the misnaming of church modes happened over a 75 to 100 year period ending in roughly 1675 ... when the church modes of Gregory were expressed as permutations of the then new major-minor scale system. That's when the modes became formalized into what we know and use today..."
http://www.aai26.dial.pipex.com/Harmonicmi.shtml/ -- "The harmonic minor scale is well known to common practice classical music because it is the harmonic foundation of minor mode music. It is, however, avoided as the melodic foundation because of the "unmelodic" augmented second found between its sixth and seventh degrees."...
"The reason that the harmonic minor scale is used as the harmonic foundation of the minor mode is that, despite its melodic deficiencies, its tonality is very powerful and unambiguous, whereas the tonality of the aeolian mode is weak and easily displaced, and the tonality of the melodic minor is even weaker and more ambiguous. In a sense the harmonic minor scale is the "default" scale to which the melodic variations must return in order for the tonality to be maintained. By using it as the harmonic resource for the minor mode one is emphasising its fundamental role in maintaining tonal function."
Basically, the modes are the foundation of our modern-day scale systems. Prior to the development of counterpoint and dominant harmony, all music was monophonic. Listen to some Gregorian Chant sometime.
You will notice that it is entitled by the mode in which it is sung. That seems to inidicate that each mode is a different "key." Using "C" as a tonic, Ionian starts on C, Dorian starts on D, Phyrigian starts on E, Lydian starts on F, Mixolydian starts on G, Aeolian starts on A, and Locrian starts on B.
However, since Chant doesn't use a notion of harmonic (vertical) as well as melodic (horizontal) integration, there is no real "key." The idea of something being in a key came with the development of dominant harmony.
The notion of a "major" key was fairly simple: the Ionian mode lent itself well to what we are now familiar with: the I-IV-V-I (or I-IV-V7-I) progression, or the II-V-I/II-VI-IV-V-I progression. Even the "amen" resolution (IV-I) is in common use in music. None of these progressions required any modification to the Ionian mode to sound "good."
These harmonic progressions developed slowly over centuries of time to the point where they became universally acceptable in music. The chromatic scale had 12 unique notes, so there were 12 major scales and 12 major "keys."
The minor mode was more of a challenge. I don't know where the notion originated that there was a need for a "minor" scale, but the Aeolian mode, relative of Ionian showed sufficient gravity toward the Ionian tonic. Somewhere along the way someone got the brilliant idea to apply a dominant chord to the Aeolian mode. So a minor would wind up with a Major V chord, just like in Ionian. This required an adjustment to the scale itself to include a raised 7th note. That, basically is the harmonic minor scale (aeloian w/raised 7th).
That seemed to do the trick for harmony, but not melody. This new scale sounded "off" when played melodically. Use of the harmonic minor scale had gotten musicians, and patrons, used to the idea that notes not directly in the modal scale (like a g# in a-minor), added color to the sound, even though there was a "dissonance." As long as the dissonance resolved in a consonant way, it was acceptable, eventually even to the Roman Catholic Church.
So the Dorian mode seemed to fit the bill. It had a similar structure to Aeolian, but with a raised 6th. If applied harmonically, it changed the color of the "minor sound" because of the raised 6th. That made the IV a major chord, like a major key does. That, however interfered with the minor IV of the harmonic minor sound.
Somehow the idea of marrying two ideas: minor scale with a lachrymose expressivity, caught on. That lent a preference for the "harmonic minor" sound in the harmony. Listen to just about any piece of music in a minor key and you will hear progressions such as I-IV-V7-I/I-VI-II-V7-I/I-VI-IV-V7-I etc. Those formulas were exploited over and over and over again to project the minor sound we all know and love even today.
However, the sound of the harmonic minor scale played in a melodic context was unacceptable. So the Dorian and Aeloian came together with the addition of a raised 7th (leading-tone) and you have the origin of the melodic minor scale. The raised 6th and 7th on the way up sounded "right" in a melodic context and didn't hurt the harmonic underpinning.
The composer was expected to know how, when, and where to use a melody with a raised 6th in the context of the harmony without causing undue (or unresolved) "dissonance." And, of course the flatted 6th was still used, even in a melodic context, as long as it was also handled correctly.
So the notion of a "minor" key was really engineered to fit the aesthetics and aural judgement of musicians hundreds of years ago. It is indeed a derivative scale system. But somehow it worked, and still does. It really wasn't until the late-19th century that the lines were blurred and the notion of music being in a "key" was generally destroyed.
That is the generally accepted end of what has come to be known as the "Common Practice Period."
If you want some applied advice, I suggest you acquire Walter Piston's Harmony I manual and go through the exercises therein. It will give you a feeling for how all this works in real time.
>> Bach Suite Articulations
BA: I must confess to never having paid enough attention to the Bach suites in my life thus far. Having lived it with delusions of being a violinist, I've probably spent as much time working on the D minor Partita as any cello suite. But as I sit trying to do an honest job now on the C minor, I finally went back to the Anna Magdelena manuscript. I thought I had good editions -- Barenreiter, Alexanian, and one by Edmund Kurtz in which he claims to have been as exactly faithful as possible to the manuscript. But I look at the manuscript and at what they have put on the edited page and the slurrings seem often to have nothing to do with each other.
I see a few areas where there was a clear mistake in the manuscript, and others where two interpretations might be possible, but I don't see any way in the world that they get the slurrings out of it that they do. And they seem to get the same ones. (Just take the beginning of the first suite for example...? Or all the many slurrings in the edition of the C minor fugue that aren't in the manuscript). In general, I find the manuscript phrasing fascinating. It gives such a great rhythmic vitality. What is the basis for assuming that what she wrote was largely a mistake? Is it somehing they know about performance practice? Is it reference to her other manuscripts and her style? Is it just trying to make everything consistent all the time? Why do we assume that he would have written it always consistently? In many many cases I see a great logic to what I see in the manuscript. The c minor fugue gets such great vitality from the three-note slurrings, and in the editions almost everything becomes 4 or 2.
And by the way, why is the prelude of the c minor suite in 4/4 in the edition and cut time in the manuscript? And why leave out certain notes in the chords on the non-scordatura version? They're not any more difficult than playing the 6th suite chords.
Do I just have the wrong editions?
Bob: Regarding slurs, you'd probably have fun reading Bylsma's "Bach, The Fencing Master," where he posits exactly one of the ideas that you threw out, namely that the AMB is inerrant and we are just not aesthetically advanced enough to appreciate Bach's whimsical genius in all of His quirky, inconsistent bowings. Among several problems I have with that idea is that in many places the number of notes under a given slur is unclear. So you may decide it's 2 and I may decide it's 3. Whichever one of us is wrong will then be playing all the music thereafter backwards. And such passages occur so frequently as to render any sort of real certainty impossible. So that's why I always laugh at any edition's claim to be "faithful to the manuscript." The editor's eyes aren't any better than yours or mine. Also, as you point out, there are numerous passages that are clearly mistakes, but what He meant to write instead is less clear.
So, in general, I try not to get too bogged down into literally reading tea leaves. I try instead to apply knowledge of His string style gleaned from His authentic manuscripts, most particularly the Sonatas & Partitas, and also the unarguable thrust (from the AMB) of asymmetry. As I like to point out to my students, "Bach" means a brook. I think of kneeling by the brook (appropriately enough) and looking at the pebbles at the bottom as the water runs over them. The pebbles don't move, yet the running water makes them appear to shimmer and shift slightly. It is this image I'm trying for in passages of steady 16ths, for example -- rhythmically even, but "shimmering" through the use of continually-changing bow patterns, preferably asymmetrical.
As to the 5th Suite, we're in a little extra luck. There is an authentic manuscript for this work in a version for lute. Many, many questions are answered, or at least clarified, through its study. Yes, the Prelude does begin in cut time.
Rosalind Porter: BA... Have you got - or read: Thurston Dart's "Interpretation of Music." I think you might find it very helpful in clarifying some of your questions. As far as I remember there is quite a lot about Bachian phrasing, bowing etc and baroque bowing traditions in general.
Another must-read is Leopold Mozart's "A Treatise on the Fundamental Principles of Violin Playing" -- absolutely essential for anyone interested in string HIPP. The other two books which I found really useful in HIPP stuff is J. C. Bach's "Treatise on flute playing"... loads of source material there.
As for the 3-note slurrings, when I did Bach on violin, my professor always pushed for that whenever that stylistic figuration came up -- he simply said "that's the proper grammar for Bach. He always related bowings to what was going on harmonically.... Actually, the first thing he did when I took anything baroque to work on was to carefully remove 99% of any editorial stuff like bowings and phrasings, no matter how renowned the edition or how much I'd spent on it.
Our problem is that so much was taken for granted by composers and interpreters in Bach's day, it was assumed the cembalo player knew how to improvise a figured bass at sight, that the musicians knew the phrasing and associated bowing for a dance movement like the Courrante or Bourée (bow retakes especially in the latter.) I think that is where the problems in reading manuscripts like Anna Mag's arise -- what we see on paper is essentially only a shorthand for what was performed.
The 4/4 Prelude instead of alla breve is an old mistake, goes back to the romanticisation of Bach in 19th century. I've been messing around again recently with the violin version of the cello suites and in my edition it is alla breve. Hopefully your Allemande is alla breve too?
Arnold Williams: If you haven't already read the Markevitch interview in the ICS archives, you might want to. He studied all of the extant manuscripts: the AMB, the Kellner, and the three others and came up with his particular edition. But he goes into a fair amount of detail about why he doesn't consider the AMB a definitive edition.
I had a good laugh in watching a Pablo Casals master class video in which I believe it's a young Einar Holm who attempts to play the G major prelude. Casals says something like "you obviously don't have access to the original manuscript" and I'm pretty sure he's referring to the AMB.
I was going with the Markevitch edition until I changed teachers and he had me get a Barenreiter edition with no bowings marked so we could put in the ones that he learned and favors. I really don't know enough to "object" on any kind of academic grounds, so for now, I'm going with my teachers view.
I also have the Diran Alexanian, and it's fascinating from a harmonic and articulation standpoint. I think it's wonderful that he actually tried to come up with diacritical marks and symbols to indicate "syllables" of music affecting both the left hand and right hand. It's hard as heck to read, but bears further study (from me) I think.
Anyhow, isn't it fascinating how these suites still engender this kind of discussion these many centuries later.
Jailyard: While I'm a big fan of deciphering original markings, Joel Krosnick had me approach the 5th suite fugue with a completely blank slate. The idea was to just go with the melodic groupings and see what kind of bowings came up. There are an endless number of 2 and 3 and 4 note motives buried in there, you can almost have two different pieces depending on which motives you decide to point out with certain bowings.
cbrey: I totally agree with Bob that arriving at the final, "authentic" version is a risable concept. One thing you learn from even a casual perusal of these sources (none of whom is Bach himself) is that they are not only inconsistent among themselves, they are inconsistent WITHIN themselves. But, as Bob says, you can glean a very good idea of how practical musicians of the time thought about phrasing and bowing. And that's a very entertaining as well as enlightening thing. From that you can build your own version.
I have to say that working from the recent Barenreiter edition, more than hearing Bylsma, more than Gould's playing, more than anything, turned my head around to a much more "vertical," polyphonic and above all rhythmic style of playing these pieces. I found that once I began to accomodate their style of bowing, I had to lighten up, and the inner rhythmic spring came to life. Of course, my cats chased it down and killed it, but that's another story.
As someone else pointed out, the lute version of the C minor exists in a Bach autograph. I've got that somewhere and will dig it out for you. Another must have. Never again will you groan portentously through the opening bar of the Prelude! It flies!
G M Stucka: When I was visitng Keith Harvey in London last week, he told me about an autograph that he'd once had (I think he said that he'd finally traded it for a Feuermann item). Anyway, the autograph was by Casals and it was on the back of the cover page of a very early (perhaps first) edition of Klengel's editings of the Bach Suites. The autograph went as follows (auf Deutsch): "Dear Julius, I love you, but.......... Pablo Casals."
1. Milos Sádlo dies.
Milos Sádlo, who has died aged 91, was regarded as the doyen of Czech cellists; he combined rock-solid technique with a striking sensitivity to tone colour and great emotional depth.
Sádlo made his name in the 1930s as a soloist in a series of concerts in Prague, Vienna and London; but after the war he was mainly known as a chamber musician. In 1948 he accompanied Dmitri Shostakovich (piano) and David Oistrakh (violin) in one of the first performances of Shostakovich's Second Piano Trio. The three musicians went on to make an emotionally charged recording of this intense work.
Since they were recording on 78 rpm discs, Sádlo later recalled, they had to play the work in uninterrupted five-minute segments: "At that time, there was no splicing possible to remove minor slips, and we had to get it right the first time because Shostakovich was impatient. He said it bored him to have to play a segment over again."
In May 1962 Sádlo gave the 20th-century premiere of Haydn's C major Cello Concerto at the Prague Spring Festival, accompanied by the Czechoslovak Radio Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Sir Charles Mackerras. Thanks to the composer's own detailed catalogue (the "Entwurf-Katalog"), the existence of the concerto had been known for many years, but it had been presumed lost.
When it was discovered in the archive of the National Museum of Prague in 1961, the find caused something of a sensation; and the concerto soon became as popular as the composer's D major Cello Concerto. Sádlo, Mackerras and the Czechoslovak Radio Symphony Orchestra went on to make an acclaimed recording of the work.
Sádlo was born Milos Zátvrzský in Prague on April 13 1912. As a boy he studied the violin, but when he was 15 he acquired a cello and began to teach himself. In 1928 he met the Czech pedagogue and publisher Karel Pravoslav Sádlo, who found him an apprenticeship as a bookbinder.
Sádlo soon recognised his protege's musical talents, and helped him to pursue a musical career. In return, the cellist took his patron's name: "For me, K P Sádlo was really my father." Although active as a professional musician from as early as 1929, he continued to study at the Prague Conservatory for the next 12 years.
In 1934 Sádlo was hailed by the Viennese press as the "Czech Casals", and in April 1937 he gave his first recital in London, at the Aeolian Hall (which he had earlier visited in 1932 with the Prague Quartet). The fifth edition of Grove (1954) notes that "everywhere he was unanimously praised for his splendid technique, wonderful tone and full-blooded musicality." His membership of the Prague Quartet lasted only from 1931 to 1933, after which Sádlo left to pursue a solo career.
During the war years he was kept busy in his homeland, with numerous performances of the Dvorák Cello Concerto. He joined the Czech Trio in 1940 (with Alexander Plocek, violin, and Josef Pálenícek, piano). At the 1949 Edinburgh Festival the Trio gave two concerts; their performances of the trios by Ravel, Smetana, Shostakovich and Dvorák (F minor) are remembered as being among the highlights of the early Festival years.
After 15 years with the Trio, during which he had also been a soloist with the Czech Philharmonic Orchestra, Sádlo decided the time had come for a change. He resigned, and went to Prades in the French Pyrenees to spend a year with Casals.
Refreshed and revitalised, he was delighted when, shortly afterwards, he met Bohuslav Martinu on a train. Some time later Sádlo gave the first performance of the revised version of the composer's First Concerto. He was often heard playing Martinu's Second Sonata, gave early performances of Khatchaturian's Cello Concerto and delivered a new edition of Dvorák's youthful A major Cello Concerto.
Because of his international reputation, the Czech government frequently allowed Sádlo to travel to the West. Despite being under the control of the authorities, he had an optimistic outlook on life: "Of course I had to pay up to 40 per cent of my concert fees to the state," he recalled; "but it was actually better than the Russian performers. They had to pay 50 to 60 per cent."
In 1968 he was invited to go to America as guest principal cellist with the San Diego Symphony Orchestra with the opportunity to teach at the University of San Diego. But after the events of the Prague Spring, his wife was prevented by the Czech authorities from joining him as originally planned, so he returned to Prague. He would be reunited with his American colleagues in an emotional concert after the fall of Communism, in 1990.
Sádlo was recently heard on the 60th anniversary edition of Radio 4's Desert Island Discs, in a recording with the Wihan Quartet of Schubert's String Quintet in C, D956.
-- Telegraph (UK)
2. Robert LaMarchina dies.
Hawaii concert-goers will remember Robert LaMarchina from his 12 years as music director of the Honolulu Symphony and the Hawaii Opera Theatre.
But LaMarchina, the symphony's music director from 1967 to 1978, also served as music director and conductor of the Metropolitan Opera National Company and guest conducting stints with the Fujiwara Opera of Japan, the Metropolitan Opera, the New York City Center Opera and numerous other companies.
Also a gifted cellist, New York native LaMarchina debuted at age 8 with the St. Louis Symphony.
The prodigy whom Arturo Toscanini called "My Little Angel" died from congestive heart failure Tuesday afternoon while sleeping in his Kaneohe home. He was 75.
Marilynne LaMarchina, his wife of 23 years, said her husband rested most of Tuesday after waking up and feeling ill. About sunset she went into the bedroom to check on him and he had died, she said.
The musician was still active in teaching cello and was especially excited about a 16-year-old female student who had gone from last in her cello class to No. 1.
"My goodness, Bobby was so proud of her," Marilynne said.
But the master cellist had no cello of his own after recently selling his to a friend in South Korea. When other Hawaii cellists found out, they contacted a local cello maker who two weeks ago gave LaMarchina an instrument of his own.
A recipient of a scholarship from the Paris Conservatoire de Musique, LaMarchina also studied at the Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia.
Among his many other accomplishments is the honor of, at age 16, being the youngest member of the NBC Symphony Orchestra under Arturo Toscanini. He later joined the Los Angeles Philharmonic as solo cellist.
After an appointment as solo cellist with the Chicago Symphony, he received a Ford Grant for conductors and studied at Peabody Conservatory. LaMarchina has appeared with the New York Philharmonic, National Symphony, Chicago Symphony, and St. Louis Symphony.
In 1979, LaMarchina was invited by the U.S. Department of State to conduct several Soviet orchestras.
He has also toured the mainland and Canada conducting various opera companies, and has conducted master's classes at the University of Indiana.
In addition to Marilynne, LaMarchina is survived by daughters Vita LaMarchina Corimbi Grasmick, Floria Kiscellus and Adriana LaMarchina; stepdaughter Lisa Robinson; and several brothers and sisters.
-- Tim Ryan.
3. Silva Centennial Celebration
The following is being published courtesy of Brooks Whitehouse and the Violoncello Society. Brooks Whitehouse is Professor of Cello at UNCG and cellist of the Guild Trio.
On March 5-7 of 2004, the UNCG School of Music will present The Silva Centennial Celebration, honoring the playing, teaching and scholarship of cellist Luigi Silva (1903-1961). Home to Silva's Cello Music Collection of some 1775 musical scores, archival materials and books, UNCG is proud to host many of Silva's most prominent students for three days of concerts, master classes and workshops. Performers and clinicians include:
A founding member of the Violoncello Society, Luigi Silva's cello legacy lives on today, not only in the excellence of his former students, but in his many published cello concert transcriptions and etude editions as well. In the 42 years since his death, much of this material has gone out of print. In addition, Mr. Silva was forever working on new publishing ventures, and The Violoncello Society's current newsletter issue's article "Hidden Treasures" by Joan Staples outlines many projects left either unfinished or unpublished at the time of his death.
All this makes a visit to the Silva Collection at UNCG's Jackson Library a vital part of the Celebration. On the opening day, the Special Collections reading room will be open from 9 AM to 7 PM. There will be a display of writings, manuscripts and photographs, and the library staff will give a presentation on the collection's contents and its online catalogue (http://library.uncg.edu/depts/speccoll/cello). In addition, Dr. Margery Enix, translator of Silva's unpublished A History of Left-hand Technique on the Violoncello, will give a presentation on this comprehensive pedagogical work. Throughout the weekend, copies of Silva transcriptions and selected writings will be available to browsers at the School of Music library. Friday visitors will also be free to browse the collections of Rudolf Matz, Maurice Eisenberg, Janos Scholz, Fritz Magg and Elizabeth Cowling that together with the Silva Collection make up the largest body of cello music in the world.
In honor of the Silva Centennial a new web based publishing company called Ovation Press will be releasing several new editions of gems from the Silva Collection. These works will include Silva's realizations of eight Boccherini Sonatas, and several of his arrangements including: Paganini's Le Streghe op. 8; Brahms' intermezzo op. 116; Chopin's Etude in F Minor op. 25 no. 2 and Mazurka op. 17 no. 4; and Scarlatti's Sonata no. 1. Advance copies of selected material will be available at the Celebration.
The Silva Centennial offers students, teachers, performers and the general public access to some of the leading cellists of the day. Students who wish to perform in master classes may submit an audition tape along with their application. Teachers will find professional training in presentations by Martha Gerschefski and Hans Jorgen Jensen, and in a round-table discussion on Silva pedagogy. Performers may browse the cello music collection for new repertoire, and music lovers will enjoy four world class concerts. In short, the Celebration has something for everyone.
The Centennial web site http://www.uncg.edu/mus/silva04 offers downloadable applications, travel and accommodation information, and updated schedules for the event as it continues to grow. If you have any Silva reminiscences, pictures, memorabilia or manuscripts that you would like to share or donate for the Centennial display, or if you have any Silva-related ideas for the Celebration program, please contact Dr. Brooks Whitehouse at firstname.lastname@example.org.
4. Michael Haydn Cello Concerto
Mark Starr, musicologist and conductor in Los Altos, has rescued M. Haydn's Concerto for Cello for Orchestra in B-flat from Esterhazy's archives, where the cello part was intact, but much of the rest, Starr says, was "an unholy mess that required extensive editing." Starr's reconstruction received its world premiere from the San Jose Chamber Orchestra, conducted by Barbara Day Turner, and cellist Felix Fan, on October 4, 2003.
The following program notes are re-printed with permission of Mark Starr:
CONCERTO IN B-FLAT MAJOR FOR CELLO AND ORCHESTRA ATTRIBUTED TO J. MICHAEL HAYDN
Why "attributed"? Because no signed manuscript of the full score has ever been found. So, what materials did I use to reconstruct this remarkable work? The personal music library of Hungarian Prince Nicholas Esterházy II still exists today, preserved by the National Library in Budapest. Not only does this collection contain many manuscripts of Franz Josef Haydn, it also contains the complete personal library of Franz Josef's younger brother, the less-famous but unfairly neglected composer J. Michael Haydn (1737-1806.) When J. Michael died in Salzburg while Franz Joseph was employed in Hungary as Prince Esterházy's court composer, Franz Joseph convinced the Prince to purchase J. Michael's entire music library from J. Michael's widow. J. Michael's music library included the solo part and all the orchestral parts for this cello concerto (but no full score). Each of these parts was officially stamped and catalogued during the purchase. However, all of these parts -- which had been copied by an anonymous, incompetent 18th Century or early 19th Century copyist -- were, to put it bluntly, a mess that required extensive editing and some revision on my part to produced a playable score that made musical sense. My revisions were not intended to inject my musical personality into this work, but rather to use techniques of comparison and deduction -- together with my knowledge of harmony, counterpoint, form, instrumental technique and performance practices -- to assemble this jigsaw puzzle and fill in the missing pieces.
Everyone who is familiar with Franz Joseph Haydn's world-famous Cello Concerto in D Major will notice many similarities in the themes of that work and the Cello Concerto in B-flat attributed to J. Michael Haydn. Did J. Michael Haydn use his older brother's most celebrated cello concerto as his model? It is possible. Franz Joseph Haydn was the conductor of the Esterházy Orchestra -- whose principal cellists (first Anton Kraft, and later Joseph Weigl) were both active soloists. Both cellists performed Franz Joseph Hadyn's cello concerti with other orchestras in Europe. Given the proximity of the Esterhazy's palace in Hungary to Salzburg in Austria, it seems likely that either Kraft or Weigl played Franz Joseph Haydn's Cello Concerto in D for brother Michael.
One of the most striking features of this concerto is the high tessitura of much of the solo cello part. Actually, the FJ Haydn's D Major Concerto goes just as high, and FJ Haydn's C Major concerto goes even higher at one point. But much more of the B-flat major Concerto's solo cello part remains in the stratosphere. I should emphasize that there is no doubt that the octave in which the solo cello plays these high passages in my edition is correct. The 18th Century copyist who copied the surviving solo part followed an old, and now obsolete, notational convention of writing the cello part one octave higher than concert pitch when the cello is in treble clef. (There are numerous examples of this bizarre notational practice in printed 18th Century and 19th Century editions -- for example, in the cello part of the first edition of Dvorak's Serenade for Strings.) The notation of the solo part in my edition does not follow this obsolete tradition, and the passages that were originally notated in treble clef have been lowered an octave. In other words: every note in every clef in my edition sounds as written. If a solo cellist were actually to play the original treble clef passages in the octave in which they were notated by the copyist (instead of an octave below, where they were intended to be played,) the solo cellist's left hand would be on the top string but a few centimeters from his bow for much of the work.
With no solo cello concerti composed by Mozart, J. S. Bach, Gluck, Handel, Scarlatti, Purcell, Corelli, Beethoven (let's not count the "Triple" here), Schubert or Mendelssohn, cellists have been singularly unlucky about early solo concerti to play. I hope the addition of this brilliant, musically significant 30-plus minute cello concerto to the orchestral repertoire helps fill the void.
The concerto is published in Mark Starr's reconstruction by Edition Max Eschig, Paris. This music publisher is represented in the U.S. by Theodore Presser Music. If anyone has questions about the work, questions may be sent to email@example.com.
5. Re-discovered Cello Work by Bottesini
Edition Billaudot (Paris) has published Giovanni Bottesini's Grand Fantaisie Concertant on themes from Bellini's "I Puritani" for solo cello, solo double bass, and orchestra. This is a 14-minute virtuoso work that Bottesini wrote for a London concert featuring the great Italian cellist Carlo Piatti, and himself, with the London Philharmonic. The work was uncovered by Mark Starr.
6. New LAVS website
The Los Angeles Violoncello Society now has a website. Check it out at: http://www.lacello.org.
The Society's hope is that it will serve to keep cellists and lovers of the cello and its music up to date on activities of the Society and other cello doings in their part of the world. Since the site is still a "work-in-progress," all comments and contributions of cello news will be gratefully accepted. Please send links to cello related (non-commercial) sites and information about cello performances, activities, etc.
Contact them by email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
7. New CD with Zuill Bailey
Zuill Bailey's CD of the Korngold Cello Concerto has been released on the ASV Label. Check it out!.
8. Salonen must have exquisite taste.
Los Angeles Philharmonic conductor Essa-Pekka Salonen, commenting on the wood finishes inside the new Disney Hall in Los Angeles said, "It's like we're sitting inside of a cello."
9. New Strad Cello?
A recently discovered Stradivari cello is up for auction at Sotheby's in London. With a back length of 69.4cm, it is the shortest cello produced by the Stradivari workshop, and, if it dates from 1736, as it is thought to be, it could be the last one made before Stradivari's death in December 1737.
10. Cello Bach Annalia
The University of Cincinatti is presenting the Ninth Annual Cello Bach Annalia on March 5 and 6, 2004. This event is dedicated to the Bach Cello Suites and the contemporary works that they inspired. Cellists include Richard Aaron, Colin Carr, Steven Doane, Lee Fiser, Ross Harbaugh, Lionel Party, Peter Pesic, and Jacqueline Ross.
10. New Faculty
A cello news link has been engineered using Google.com's features. Be sure to bookmark it.
The 6th Cello Festival in Kronberg, Germany will be a memorial to Pablo Casals, starting on the 30th anniversary of his death. The dates are October 22-26, 2003. http://www.kronbergacademy.de.
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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