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Joanna Borrett

Great string performances of Bach

By fedora strings performance

Here’s another great performance of Bach – this time from the Freiburg Baroque Orchestra playing on original instruments with energy and virtuosity:

Baroque is Best!
Was there ever a more exciting time to be a musician than in the baroque era? This was the time the modern string instrument family was created, as was opera, concerto form and above all the equal temperament system which opened the doors to the full expressive potential of music. Baroque music is strongly disciplined but only because it is so full of feeling,and sometimes it seems to have almost more exuberance than it is possible to contain. In Brandenburg 3 (above) he exploits the full potential of string instruments in a way which must have been especially innovative and thrilling in his day.

great string performances of Bach

Tchaikovsky Serenade for Strings

By fedora strings performance

The link below shows a marvellous string orchestra performance of the waltz movement of Tchaikovsky Serenade for Strings by a chamber ensemble called A Far Cry.

This performance brings the dance character to life wonderfully well  and the group are playing by heart, which can give  an added sense of freedom as long as you are experienced enough to feel confident.  A Far Cry clearly is, and the results speak for themselves.


Tchaikovsky serenade for strings

Great string performances

By fedora strings performance

Great string performances
It is hard not to admire the great string performance of Bach’s Double Violin Concerto by Rachel Podger and Andrew Manze at the Proms a few years ago (see the last movement in the link below)

About the playing
Their interpretation is of full of energy and the different styles of the two soloists adds to the vitality. I also love the fact that this is a robust, romantic version of Bach played on ‘modern’ string  instruments.

Great string performances



Inspirational string performances

By fedora strings performance

You tube is a wonderful resources and full of inspirational string performances
The first I’ve chosen to highlight is Dvorak’s Serenade for Strings – a work I fell in love with years ago and have often played in string orchestra, though without a conductor. Here it is, performed most beautifully by the Royal Northern College’s String Ensemble:

Much as I love string music of all kinds I have always felt nothing is quite as special as string orchestra sound at its best – which it is here.
inspirational string performances






The Cello Stone

By fedora strings performance, string teaching

Cellist Robert Brooke and American geophysicist Debby Miles have just come round to my house to show me the cello stone – a new invention of Debby’s.

A new cello invention
The cello stone is a spike holder made of travertine which aims to eliminate  wolf notes on cellos and enhance and clarify tone quality by absorbing unwanted vibrations and allowing your instrument to sing more freely. As a non-scientific person it’s hard for me to understand how the process works – but it involves measuring the vibrations of your cello’s wolf note and finding the optimum proportion for your spike – no matter what height you have it at.

Does it work?
I definitely noticed an improvement in tone when using the ‘cello stone’ and my cello felt more open, free and clear. The wolf note was also considerably diminished, almost eliminated. After an afternoon spent experimenting I have now borrowed the ‘cello stone’ to try it more thoroughly.To find out more visit Debby’s website  or contact  Robert Brooke – who is selling the stones from Cambridgeshire – on 07946 532263.
The Cello Stone

Free Sheet Music

By sheet music sales

Free Sheet Music
Summer holidays are a fab time to browse through repertoire and we are now offering one free sheet music arrangement if you buy five.Click below to go direct to our violin and cello duet shop:

Free Sheet MusicGreat Cello Duets to Explore
Duets are a wonderfully enjoyable form of chamber music and cellist Mark Bailey and I recently recorded a cello duet which had been written by our former teacher Christopher Bunting and is based on the Bourees from Bach’s 3rd cello suite and has some tricky string crossing,  lots of character and definite sense of humour. Listen below:

Other wonderul cello duets  include Handel’s Cello Duet in G minor  and Vivaldi’s Double Cello Concerto – also in G minor.

Expand your Cello Duet Repertoire Here
We are now selling ten cello duet arrangements of  well known music on our website  – and if you browse through our online shop you’ll see that if you buy five of our arrangements we will give you one arrangement free.







Handel as a young man

Cello Duet Sheet Music

By sheet music sales

I have just returned from Edinburgh where I have been recording our cello duet sheet music  with my friend Mark Bailey – the cellist in the Edinburgh String Quartet.The recording session took place at the Reid Hall which is part of Edinburgh University.
Cello Duet Sheet Music







Recording the Duets
We had nine duets to record in a short space of time, but we had a lot of fun and a good recording engineer in Derek   Williams . We’ve just been sent copies of the first three recordings and the rest will follow in the next few days. To buy the duets and hear our recordings click here:
The Reid Hall

Famous Cello Duets

By sheet music sales

Famous  Cello Duets
We have added ten cello duets of famous music to our online shop.
Why Cello Duets?
Cello duets are extremely enjoyable to play and can be great fun in lessons, giving the pupil an opportunity to play chamber music with an experienced professional. Many of our arrangements use col legno, pizzicato, double stopping, l.h.pizz or harmonics to enhance the character of the music.Both instruments share the tunes and are evenly matched.

Famous cello duets

The Repertoire
We are now selling ten sheet music cello duets: Charpentier’s Te Deum and Monteverdi’s Chiome d’Oro from the baroque era, the passionate and romantic Toreador Song and Habanera from ‘Carmen’, three folk songs – Lilliburlero, A Lark in the Clear Air and My Love is like a Red, Red Rose , Jerome Kern’s Can’t Help Lovin’ Dat Man, and Your Tiny Hand is Frozen from La Boheme and Non Piu Andrai from The Marriage of Figaro.

About the Music
All of these tunes work beautifully on the cello and are intermediate in standard. Your feedback is very welcome, so if you have ideas for new cello duo repertoire or would like to let us know what you think, just email at

Jerome Kern Violin and Cello Duets

By sheet music sales

Jerome Kern Violin and Cello Duets
We are now selling Can’t Help Lovin’ Dat Man by Jerome Kern’s as a violin and cello duet in our online shop. It comes from the musical Showboat  which is still staged regularly today and is one of Jerome Kern’s most famous songs. Can’t Help Lovin’ Dat Man is one of  the main reasons for the show’s popularity and has a blues feel that combines with  romantic lyricism to make it very evocative.

Jerome Kern violin and cello duetsScene from a recent staging of Showboat









Jerome Kern’s Sheet Music

By sheet music sales

Jerome Kern’s sheet music is now out of copyright and today we have added five violin and cello duet arrangements of his music to our website.Love, in its many moods, is the theme for all but one of these songs; the exception is Pick Yourself Up – a delightful, confidence-boosting piece of positive thinking.You can buy the music at our shop by clicking here:
Why this is a dream to play 
From a string player’s point of view Kern’s music has great fluidity of line which makes it easy to phrase, and it also has a joyful sense of abandon which is ideal for romance. Jerome Kern himself, however, was very down to earth and declared himself nothing more than a “ musical clothier – I write music for the lyrics and situations in plays.”  Luckily for us  his classical training, craftsmanship and empathy for mood have ensured his music sounds as spontaneous and effortless today as it did 100 years ago.

Jerome Kern's sheet musicJerome Kern in Hollywood