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Performance and Pedagogy Blog

A blog about the performance and pedagogy of music.

Filtering by Tag: Cello

PROJECT Trio: Monday YouTube Fix

Andrew Hitz

PROJECT Trio is an incredible ensemble that blends a whole lot of musical styles to create their own genre. This clip is a great example of what they do.

I love the creativity of the arrangement juxtaposed with the virtuosity of the articulations at the beginning. They are hard to describe and that is a good start to be successful in today's crowded music business.

Enjoy!


Mstislav Rostropovich: Monday YouTube Fix

Andrew Hitz

Since January is a good month to stay inside and watch movies, I've decided it is officially Documentary Month.  Each Monday for the month of January I will post a new documentary that I enjoy.

After posting footage of Rostropovich performing the Shostakovich Cello Concerto No. 2 last month I was inspired to watch this documentary on him.  The impact he had on cellists and the entire musical world can be summed up by this quote from Seiji Ozawa which appears at the beginning of the documentary:

"Because of him, I think that I believe there is a God."
-Seiji Ozawa

The concert footage interspersed throughout is phenomenal.  This is a wonderful film on Mstislav Rostropovich that hopefully you will find just as engaging as I did.

Enjoy!


Mstislav Rostropovich: Monday YouTube Fix

Andrew Hitz

Here is a hauntingly beautiful performance of the Shostakovich Cello Concerto No. 2 by cello legend Mstislav Rostropovich.  This performance took place on September 25th, 1967 in the Large Hall of the Moscow State Conservatory.  He is accompanied by The State Academic Symphony Orchestra of the USSR conducted by Svetlanov.

He sure could play phrases that seemed to last days.  This is a wonderful performance of one of my favorite concertos of all time.

Enjoy!


2CELLOS: Monday YouTube Fix

Andrew Hitz

Judging by the fact this video has over four million views, I think I may be the last person on the internet to watch it.  I have stated for many years that if I had to play another instrument, it would be the cello.  When you combine that with the fact that my second ever rock and roll concert was seeing AC/DC on November 2, 1990 at the Worcester Centrum and you might correctly assume that this clip does it for me. Aside from my love of the cello and AC/DC, this arrangement of Thunderstruck is truly striking.  The repetitive rock and roll riffs are played effortlessly and the vocal parts are performed perfectly, which is not an easy task on any instrument.  The driving energy of this arrangement is just awesome.

I can't believe it took me until to today to see this clip.  Thanks to my friend @cglush for sending it my way.  For those about to rock, we salute you...


Isaac Stern, Yo-Yo Ma, Emanuel Ax and the LSO: Monday YouTube Fix

Andrew Hitz

I could listen to these three gentlemen play Beethoven indefinitely and never tire of it.  The delicacy that Isaac Stern plays the violin with in this performance is unbelievable, even at the age of 72.  The soaring lyricism of Yo-Yo Ma on the cello is truly inspirational.  And the flow of Emanuel Ax's piano playing is as good as anyone in history. Beethoven is my favorite composer.  If I could only take one composer with me when everything is all said and done, it would be Beethoven.  The brilliant Triple Concerto for Piano, Violin and Cello ranks near the very top of my favorite compositions of all time.

(As a side note, imagine playing an instrument that was invented after your favorite composer had already passed away.  I will probably be in therapy for the rest of my life!)

The special thing about musicians who know each other's playing as well as Stern, Ma, and Ax do is that each performance sounds like a private musical conversation which all in attendance get the privilege of overhearing.  The amazing thing about technology is we all get to "attend" this concert 21 years later from our phones if we choose to!

Their communication both with each other and with the London Symphony is special in this clip.  This level of artistry inspires me to go practice every time.

Enjoy!


Monday YouTube Fix: Mstislav Rostropovich

Andrew Hitz

One of the greatest cellists of all time playing my second favorite solo piece ever written. The Bach Cello Suites, as anyone who has ever attempted to play them on any instrument can tell you, are deceivingly difficult.  Whenever you are playing an unaccompanied piece you must be everything: the melody, the time, the harmony, everything.  Few in history have done this more convincingly than Rostropovich.

If I could play any instrument other than the tuba it would be the cello and that is because of people like this.

Enjoy!

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lZwKjpEtnSQ&feature=youtube_gdata_player]

Monday YouTube Fix: Yo-Yo Ma, Bobby McFerrin, Mark O'Connor & Edgar Meyer

Andrew Hitz

I guess this clip is predictably awesome.  I don't care what these four musicians are playing, if they are playing together it is going to be special.  Even 'Hush Little Baby'! As people who are at the absolute top of their profession, all four of these guys are used to being the center of musical attention.  Yet in this clip, each one is both contributing and not even remotely over-stepping their role within the ensemble.  This is unheralded yet imperative quality in any musician.

This is such a simple version of an incredibly simple tune yet there is something very special about it.  Oh to have been in the audience for this performance.

Enjoy!

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GczSTQ2nv94]