Rachmaninov and Daniil Trifonov

Daniil Trifonov gave a great performance today of Rachmaninov ‘ s Piano Concerto no.3 with the Philharmonia Orchestra and Vladimir Askenazy in the Royal Festival Hall. Wonderful to be part of this performance.

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Strauss, Metamorphosen for 23 Solo Strings

In Chelmsford tonight playing with the Philharmonia strings in Richard Strauss’s Metamorphosen for 23 Solo Strings.  It is powerful, germanic music, written towards the end of World War II.  Strauss was in his 80s and mourning the terrible destruction of the war around him.

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Chelmsford Civic Theatre

Souvenir de Florence

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The Courtyard, Hereford

Last night’s concert with the Philharmonia included Tchaikovsky’s Souvenir de Florence in a version for string orchestra, at The Courtyard, Hereford. I absolutely love the music and the full, luscious sound of the string section really works for this piece.

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Papa Jo Jones drum solo: https://youtu.be/W8L7JZP97X0

I was shown this clip of Papa Jo Jones today in my lesson with Pedro de Alcantara. This is footage of a musician totally relaxed with himself, joyously at one with the music.

Pedro de Alcantara is a multi-talented cellist, composer, author, Alexander technique specialist. See his website for more details: www.pedrodealcantara.com

It must be at least 15 years since I had a cello ‘lesson’ as such, so it was interesting to experience again the pressure of potential criticism at close quarters.

What I have taken away from this lesson is a challenge to free my head and neck from the ‘tyranny’ of watching my fingers as I play. The youtube clip shows Jo Jones with an open and free posture and he never bends to look at the mechanics of what he is doing. He is relaxed and having fun with his music.

Something fascinating to me is that the actual sound changes with excess tension in the neck. The string doesn’t respond as well, producing a thin, nasal tone. In the course of the lesson, when some tension had dissipated and my head felt free, I finally found this fuller, warmer sound that I want.

Thank you Pedro for a wonderful lesson and for your patience with my nervousness.

Bow Hold Games

I have found these ebooks to be usefulbow hold games in my teaching of beginner pupils. They can be easily adapted and developed for cello bowing. Many thanks to Sue Hunt.

www.musicinpractice.com/36-beginner-bow-hold-games/

It has been fun extending some of the ideas and imagery into a cello context. Fingers can become passengers riding on a train, fierce pirates sailing the seas, astronauts floating in space between stars (which can be stickers at either end of the bow). The possibilities are endless …