architecture

The Shape of Brahms: Looking at His Music

Brahms the Architect One of the keys to understanding the music of Johannes Brahms is through his use of shapes and sizes and the manipulation of them in building his architectural forms. He was always stretching motives and phrases, making them overlap, go in and out of sync, hiding the bar-line and bringing it in sight again. Irregular phrase lengths, hemiolas, working with conflicting slurs in order to make us unsure where the strong beat is - he had many tools to confuse us. What this playing with blocks of material means for us performers is that one should not fall in love with only one line and its details, everything is always part of a larger picture and while detail is important it always relates to larger structures. I [...]

By |2019-11-12T16:25:43+00:00March 9th, 2019|Categories: In the Practice Room|Tags: , , , , , , , , |

Finding Dvorak’s Cello Concerto

As I often perform concertos that were either written for me or that few others play, it is always a welcome and special occasion when I am invited to play one of the well-known masterpieces of our repertoire. When that happens I try to take a fresh look at the piece. A couple of years ago I was asked to play the Dvorak Concerto at a cello festival in Beauvais, France. As several years had passed since I last played it I decided to take this as a challenge to see if I my experience of working with living composers would reveal any surprises in a piece that we all know so well. I studied the piece over 35 years ago with at least three of my teachers: William Pleeth, [...]

By |2019-11-12T16:29:21+00:00February 9th, 2019|Categories: Featured, In the Practice Room|Tags: , , , |