I almost decided not to post anything this year about my progress in my cello studies - I was feeling depressed and pretty much unaccomplished and discouraged. So far to go. But then I remembered that this is my yearly inventory and way to remind myself why I started learning Cello three years ago on my birthday.
So, yes, three years of studying cello. In terms of pieces, I realize that I have progressed further, and have been learning a few ‘real’ pieces by modern composers. One of the pieces that I have been most proud of learning is Messaien’s “Louange a l’Eternitie de Jesus” from his Quartet at the End of Time - such a slow, longing lyrical piece that haunts me every time I hear it. It’s one of the slowest pieces in the repetoire - Messaien specifies a 16th note to be 44 bpm - so it’s a challenge to stretch each bow stroke out to the fullest. But it swells and sings and is such a wonderful piece. (Here’s a great performance of the Louange so you can hear what I’m talking about. link )
What else have I accomplished? I’ve learned the third movement of the Hindemith Solo Sonata for Cello, which is witty and wonderful, learned a Piattagorsky transcription of a Haydn Divertimento, worked on Bach’s Prelude from the 2nd suite (which is still not to my liking), Sarabandes from the 2nd and 5th Suites, the Allemande from the 3rd suite, learning Rachmaninoff’s slow movement from his Sonata for Cello and Piano, and played lots of duets. I feel my playing is finally becoming much more expressive and working towards the fluidity of expression.
My album Magnifications got released this year and I made visuals and a video to go with…I am also proud to announce I’ve reached 30 tracks so far in my Track of the Week project. I am hoping at least to reach 50 and issue some sort of EP/album of the best of these. These have really been a fun opportunity to do an audio lab of experiments with cello and fx. One of the things that is most exciting about this is using less fx on the cello, something that was a little bit of a crutch for me. I have been playing with an intelligent harmonizer which has been exciting, and forcing me to explore tonality more.
There’s still a lot of work to do. I wish I were more fluid in my phrasing and reading of music on the page, and more comfortable with transcribing my ideas on paper. I’m still learning my intervals and I really hope to buckle down and start transcribing music. And I’m sitting on an album right now that I don’t know what to do with yet…so I guess I better get started with all of that.
Thanks all for the support. I don’t think I’d have gotten as far as I have without your encouragement.