Monday, February 20, 2006

Recent concerts

It’s been a busy three weeks since DePauw’s spring semester started.

Claude Cymerman and I gave a recital (Debussy Sonata, Cassadó Solo Suite, and the Franck Sonata) on Feb. 8.

On Thursday the 16th, I played in two voice and chamber ensemble works on a concert of Jake Heggie’s music—part of the Music of the 21st Century Festival here. And yesterday (Sunday the 20th) I played the last two (of three) movements of Heggie’s Holy the Firm: Essay for Cello and Orchestra.

The recital went over very well—standing ovation and many enthusiastic compliments in the days following. But I was disappointed in my playing. Students sometimes think that once one gets to a certain professional level, doubts, disappointments, and frustration goes away. Not so. A former student of Zara Nelsova recently wrote in the ICS Cello Chat forum that Nelsova used to say that if she was happy with two notes in a concert, it was a good night. That remark came a the right and comforting moment for me!

The first Heggie concert was also very well received. It was a bit frightening, to tell the truth, because we weren’t able to have as many rehearsals as we would have liked. It seemed as if one of us was always out of town.

The concerto went very well yesterday, from my point of view. I was actually rather happy with my playing! The orchestra got lost once in the finale, but we found each other. Sometimes when there is a mini or at least a potential disaster and everyone recovers, that’s as impressive, or even more so, than everything going smoothly.

I used a Crakovia Montagnana wood cello (which I have for sale) in the recital, and lots of people really liked its sound. For a relatively inexpensive (by professional-player standars) contemporary workshop instrument ($7000), it is quite remarkable. My own 1790 Pallotta cello, which is being restored by Russell Wagner in Chicago, will be done soon, and I’ll be sorry to part with the Crakovia (but I need to sell it to pay for the restoration).

For the Heggie concerts I used DePauw’s Luis and Clark carbon fiber cello. I wanted to use it for the concerto, because it has a huge, well-projecting sound. Luis Leguia designed for playing concertos, after all. I didn’t want to be going back and forth between two cellos last week, so I used it for the chamber concert as well.

Jake really liked it, which was good! And after the concerto yesterday, there were many enthusiastic compliments about the sound of the instrument, especially from singers. The only person who didn’t seem to like it was our retired cello professor. I really enjoy playing it, and felt very comfortable with it.

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