Repertoire

Maintaining Structure and Purpose in Your Day During COVID

Reprinted with permission from The Violin Channel. Violist Kim Kashkashian shares her thoughts on how she feels students can best maintain structure and purpose in their day during this pandemic. “Thoughts and musings on performing artists living at home … Where do we fit in as artists? Where do we fit in as citizens? How can we lead a productive artistic life? Our primary impulse- indeed, our primary need as artists is to create and share pure truth. We are all, in that sense, part of the healing profession. It is humbling and inspiring to recognize the potency and power of the visceral in our art. The power of resonance, vibration, sound waves in space and the organic feedback of an audience are unique and seemingly irreplaceable. But, we must [...]

Exiles in Paradise: on the “Hollywood Renaissance” and Finding New Repertoire for the Cello: Part 2

This article is the second installment in a two-part series   As we discussed in part 1,  war and persecution in Europe created an unprecedented gathering of émigré musical talent in Los Angeles in the mid-20th century,  including Jascha Heifetz, William Primrose, Artur Rubinstein, Otto Klemperer, Bruno Walter, and Lotte Lehmann. Of particular interest to cellists, Los Angeles in this era was also home to top cellists including Gregor Piatigorsky, Emanuel Feuermann (for the last several summers of his life), Kurt Reher, Eleanor Aller (Slatkin), Gabor Rejto, Edgar Lustgarten and Ray Kramer, to name just a few, and the hometown of future stars such as Paul Katz, Laurence Lesser and Nathaniel Rosen.   But perhaps most remarkably, Los Angeles was the home of arguably the greatest collection of composers to [...]

By |2020-09-17T02:35:10+00:00March 24th, 2020|Categories: Artistic Vision, In the Practice Room, Repertoire|Tags: , , |

The “Instead” List

While the list of pieces that appear in cello-piano recitals is incredibly short - same 10 pieces keep circulating in different order - we cellists actually have very large repertoire. Orchestras don't program much more than 10 Concertos and apart the Bach Suites there are maybe 5 pieces that make their way to concert programs. There are always multiple reasons for great music falling out of general attention. It may have to do with style, gender, origin, problems of notation, lack of publisher, wrong publisher, fashion, lack of social skill, too keen self promotion or any combination of these. Often the reasons have nothing to do with the quality of the music. And the quality itself is totally dependent on who is the messenger, in the wrong hands most music [...]

The Bach Suites, A Deep Mirror — by Lluís Claret

I am posting today some thoughts regarding my upcoming performance of all the cello suites of Bach, in Barcelona, next October 6th. A "3 hour conversation with Bach," by which I mean playing all the 6 Suites in one evening, is a rare privilege, and at the same time, an opportunity to devote months of work gazing, probing, until their is transparency in this greatest of all music given to us by the Kantor of Leipzig. In this period of reflection, the performer's goal and intention should be to imbue his own spirit into the depths of the pieces, and become inspired and elevated by this music of such extraordinary dimensions. After a concert a few years ago, somebody who had never heard my playing said,  "I can feel the [...]

The Bach Suites as You Have Never Seen Them Before — by Antonio Lysy

Hundreds of scholars have studied and written about the Bach Suites, yet we can only speculate about how or when they were first performed. The original manuscript is lost, leaving us with various facsimiles to decipher, and there are no written accounts by Bach’s contemporaries. The one advantage of this predicament is the wide spectrum of artistic decisions on which a cellist is compelled to ruminate, in order to make them “their own.” Apparently the suites were not intended to be performed as a cycle, although this approach has become increasingly common in the last couple of decades. My current perspective, developed over many years of performing and teaching the suites, is that each of the six tells a distinctive story. And, like a series of books or films, each [...]

Castelnuovo-Tedesco Cello Concerto Revival — by Brinton Averil Smith

June 8, 2018 marked the Naxos release of a live recording of the first professional performance of Italian composer Mario Castelnuovo-Tedesco's 'lost' cello concerto in over 80 years. Castelnuovo-Tedesco's career in his native Italy was cut short by Mussolini's rise, and he spent the latter half of his life in Hollywood, where he scored nearly 200 films, while continuing to compose classical works and teaching students including Henry Mancini, Nelson Riddle, André Previn, Jerry Goldsmith, and John Williams (André Previn tells the story of Mario forcing him to orchestrate Mozart's 40th symphony from memory, and then comparing his orchestration to the economy of Mozart's). Gregor Piatigorsky and Mario Castelnuovo-Tedesco, August 1935 (source unknown) Mario relates that Piatigorsky asked “Castelnuovo, a great many cellists play your works as well [...]

A Much Maligned Cellist: The True Story of Felix Salmond and the Elgar Cello Concerto (Part 4) — by Tully Potter

Blog photos courtesy of the Tully Potter Collection.   This blog is a continuation of a multi-part series. Revisit it from the beginning in Part 1, Part 2 & Part 3. The original article first appeared in the Elgar Society Journal.    THE EMIGRATION Early in 1922 the Salmonds left England for New York with their two children: Lillian had borrowed money to help pay for their passage and their living expenses while Felix established himself. On 29 March he made a successful recital début at the Aeolian Hall with Frank Bibb at the piano; but it soon became apparent that he would not earn much more as a soloist than he had in England, and that he would have to take a teaching post in order to make ends meet. He [...]

A Much Maligned Cellist: The True Story of Felix Salmond and the Elgar Cello Concerto (Part 3) — by Tully Potter

Original image provided by the Salmond Family.   This blog is a continuation of a multi-part series. Revisit Part 1 here, and Part 2 here. The original article first appeared in the Elgar Society Journal.    The next development in the saga was that Fred Gaisberg of HMV wanted to record the Concerto—he had obviously not been put off by the première. As had happened with the Violin Concerto, just four 12-inch 78rpm sides would be available, but the more compact Cello Concerto would not need to be cut quite so drastically—the Scherzo would require only a small excision and the Adagio would be accommodated complete on one side. Sadly Salmond was under contract to Vocalion, so could not be considered. Guilhermina Suggia was approached but wanted too high a fee. The [...]

A Much Maligned Cellist: The True Story of Felix Salmond and the Elgar Cello Concerto (Part 2) — by Tully Potter

Blog photo courtesy of the Tully Potter Collection.   This blog is a continuation of a multi-part series. Revisit Part 1 here. The original article first appeared in the Elgar Society Journal.    The fiasco that never was Just how much of a disaster was the premiere? Let us review some of the salient points, starting with the soloist. All those who knew him were agreed that Felix Salmond had a phenomenal memory, so there is every probability that he knew the cello part intimately by the time he arrived at Queen’s Hall. As the son of a singer, he had early imbibed the virtues of a singing line and good breath control. As a virtuoso he was no Feuermann or Piatigorsky but the few discs which document him in fast-moving music [...]

A Much Maligned Cellist: The True Story of Felix Salmond and the Elgar Cello Concerto (Part 1) — by Tully Potter

Blog photos courtesy of the Tully Potter Collection.   This article first appeared in the Elgar Society Journal.   Tully Potter tries to lay a myth to rest. Sometimes a myth becomes so firmly entrenched in the public consciousness that the true facts are completely obscured. So it has been with that archetypal English cellist Felix Salmond, whose career is always woefully misrepresented. In his adopted country, the United States, he is remembered for teaching at Juilliard and Curtis and nurturing most of the prominent 1930s and post-war American cellists. In Britain he is indelibly linked with the premiere of Elgar’s E minor Concerto, an event now encrusted with fables. Felix Adrian Norman Salmond was born in London on 19 November 1888, to musical parents: his father Norman was a [...]

By |2018-12-19T18:05:01+00:00February 5th, 2018|Categories: Interpersonal Relationships, Performance, Repertoire|Tags: , , , , |

The Amit Peled Peabody Cello Gang: Closing the Circle — by Amit Peled

Originally posted on Violinist.com. As a student, I was fortunate enough to experience the magic of performing music on stage with my great mentors Bernard Greenhouse, Boris Pergamenschikow, and Laurence Lesser, as well as see how each of them balanced their performing and teaching careers. The difference between listening to them explain how to create a phrase and actually forming that phrase with them on stage was huge and significant. Performing with my teachers was a vastly more effective lesson than a one-on-one in a studio, teaching me “on-the-spot” artistic decision-making, amending each performance to fit the energy of the hall. Ever since those transformative and magical moments, I knew that I would become a teacher and pass on the tradition of sharing music with my own students on stage. [...]

LA Story: A Recital of New & Unusual Works for Cello & Piano from Hollywood’s Golden Age — by Brinton Averil Smith

Like many string players I grew up loving the Heifetz recording of the Korngold Violin Concerto, and a general obsession with Heifetz led to an interest in the composers he championed, in particular composers like Korngold, Rózsa, Castelnuovo-Tedesco and others who lived in Los Angeles during the mid-20th century. This inspired a project last April to revive the Castelnuovo-Tedesco cello concerto for its first performance since its 1930s debut performances with Piatigorsky and Toscanini. The recording of our 'reboot' will be released this June on Naxos, but reading and studying about Castelnuovo-Tedesco's relationships with the film studios, Heifetz, Piatigorsky, and the other musicians and composers living in LA gave me a new appreciation for the incredible depth of musical talent that existed in Los Angeles in the middle of the [...]

Introducing: Impossible Etudes and Possible Etudes for Cello! — by Gregory Beaver

Etudes that fill a hole in the rep that are actually fun to play. In the world of etudes for cello, there are many great etudes to choose from, whether it is the Duport, Popper, or my personal favorite, the Piatti. The Popper High School Op. 73 is particularly amazing for the range of cello technique it encompasses. In addition, its focus on chromaticism makes it very useful for developing the ear. However, there are some holes in the etude literature that keep popping up. For example, the idea of finger independence while playing double stops is partially found in Piatti Caprices, but true finger independence is elusive for many of my students even after playing these etudes. Polyrhythms are a perfect vehicle for this challenge. Many contemporary works require [...]

By |2018-12-19T18:11:21+00:00December 20th, 2017|Categories: Beyond the Traditional, In the Practice Room, Repertoire|

Castelnuovo-Tedesco’s Forgotten Masterpiece — by Brinton Averil Smith

With over 200 film scores to his name, it's more likely that you've heard Mario Castelnuovo-Tedesco's music than his name. Castelnuovo-Tedesco was born in Florence in 1895 into a family that had been in Italy for generations, since the expulsion of Jews from Spain in 1492. His career as a composer began with conservatory study in Italy, and by the 1920s he was beginning to garner attention in greater Europe. In 1932 Mario began a lifelong friendship with the guitarist Andres Segovia, who inspired perhaps his most famous work, the Guitar Concerto No.1, and became an important champion of his music. It is largely due to Segovia's influence that Mario wrote over 100 works for the guitar, which today form an important and frequently heard part of that instrument's repertoire. [...]

B A C H S U I T E S — by Colin Carr

Bowings, beats, bass, bowings and fingerings fit together, bow distribution, bible? Articulation and Anna Magdelena Chords, cadences. common themes within each suite, comfort? Harmony, harmonics? Slurs, scales, sequences, spontaneity Understanding direction of phrases. Up bow or down bow? Intonation Tension from dissonance. tempo choices, trills Extremes? Surprise I was asked to choose a Bach related topic for this live Facebook chat, but I couldn’t think of just one. Instead I thought I would try to cover as many issues as I can think of, using this (gimmicky) chart as a starting point. I will talk about each of the sub-headings, and in doing so hope to answer a lot of questions before they have been asked! I have been playing and teaching the suites all my life. There have been [...]

By |2018-12-19T19:32:18+00:00February 2nd, 2017|Categories: Artistic Vision, Baroque, Performance, Repertoire, Teaching|Tags: , , , , |
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