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Joanna Borrett

New Duet Sheet Music

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We have just added some new duet sheet music to our online shop. It’s called Morning Prelude and a recording will be available in November.

This is a 3 -4 minute piece in a gentle reflective mood which starts and ends with harmonics on the cello. There is a also a cello solo version: Morning Prelude for Cello Solo
The music was inspired by watching one of my three week old twin grandsons looking out of the window on a wintry morning.
new duet sheet music

 

Composing and improvising

Becoming confident about improvising on your instrument is one of the easiest ways to learn to compose. There are actually very few well known pieces for cello solo, and those that do exists are often extremely challenging to play. I think this is a pity because the cello is so expressive. You can achieve evocative effects fairly easily without making it too technically demanding. This is what I aimed to achieve in both the cello solo and duet version of Morning Prelude. The main mood, after the opening harmonics, is calm and relaxing, so if you are able to feel like that when you play the music it definitely helps!

 

 

Concert at Wadenhoe Church

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We’ve just given a concert at the 12th century Wadenhoe Church.  The programme was of our own string duet arrangements plus the first performance of a piece I composed for solo cello called Morning Prelude.

concert at wadenhoe churchThe audience at Wadenhoe were very welcoming and feedback has inspired us to plan a recital programme – and cd – of English folk music ( plus some of our own pieces.)

We have often recorded music at Wadenhoe because it has ideal acoustics for chamber music and a beautiful sense of calm. The church is currently recovering from having had their roof vandalised, but it’s good to know that repair work is taking place and should be completed by the end of October.

 

Tangerine Tango is now online!

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Roger Stimson’s new composition Tangerine Tango is now online and for sale in the ‘new compositions’ section of our shop! You can hear a recording and buy the sheet music here: Tangerine Tango

This is what Roger has to say about his piece: ” Tangerine Tango  was the first of set of three tangos I wrote – each with different moods. It was written for my youngest daughter and expresses something of the struggle of life – the trials we have to go through to reach peace of mind. The harmonies are just out of the comfort range until the first theme appears which triumphs over this. The overall theme is twists and turns.”

tangerine tango is now online!

heist

Composing for Cello and Guitar

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I’ve recently been composing for cello and guitar with the guitarist and songwriter Spencer Price. Spencer had written six songs for guitar and voice and always envisaged them with cello parts. He contacted me to ask if I’d like to compose cello parts. A few months later we recorded the results with Carlos Parlato at El Tano Recording Studios in Peterborough. The songs have both pop and classical elements and the guitar and cello work beautifully together. Each part will be recorded separately – which is standard in the pop world – and the voice and drum parts still need to be added to complete the project
composing for cello and guitar

About the songs

Spencer’s songs are imaginative and gentle. The titles are: Mind’s Eye, The Old Man and the Sea, Death of a Salesman, I Still Believe, The Spy who came in from the Cold and Tears to Dry. I will include a link to the songs once the project is completed.

Cello Blogs

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If you feel practising the cello can sometimes be a bit isolating, reading cello blogs is a good way to stay in touch with other cellists’ enthusiasms and obsessions.
cello blogs

As with all blogs beware of believing everything you read! Everyone’s approach to the cello is different. What suits one person may not work for another.That said, I think it can be beneficial to hear others’ views, as long as you remember you don’t have to agree with them.

Cello Websites

Here are some of the most interesting websites:

The Cello Internet Society – accessible through Facebook, easy to join and unpretentious. It’s full of ideas, suggestions, videos and enthusiasm, and if you have a problem you can post a question and get lots of replies fast.

Cello Bello – a fairly new website covering most aspects of cello playing including teaching videos, masterclasses and a legacy section about famous cellists from the past.

David Finkel’s 100 Cello Talks on You Tube ( see Talk 1 below) are fascinating. They present practical tips from a wonderful cellist with loads of performing experience.

On a lighter note Extreme Cello  is hugely impressive and full of energy and fun!

Finally,  if all this cello talk inspires you to want to learn some new duets why not visit our online shop on the link below:
Cello Duet Shop

More Narrative Playing

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Following on from the last blog here are some examples of more narrative playing – that is, where there is a clear interpretation that is full of ideas and imagination.

Example 1: Casals and Bach

In Casals’ heartfelt recording every note speaks with total convinction and spellbinding drama .

Example 2: Vilde Frang and Lawrence Power

The supurb soloists here respond  intuitively and expressively to create a fascinating musical dialogue that makes the music sparkle into life.

Duet Narrative

The cello duet arrangements of Puccini’s aria Your Tiny Hand is Frozen and Mozart’s Non Piu Andrai have a clear story line so lots of opportunities to play with narrative. You can hear and buy this music on the links below:

Your Tiny Hand is Frozen

Non Piu Andrai

Four Famous Operatic Arias arranged for Cello Duet

 

Music Narrative

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Music narrative is an essential part of great interpretation. By narrative I don’t mean something you could necessarily put into words, rather the performer having a clear idea of what the music is about and what it has to say.

Examples of Music Narrative

The example above  – though crackly – is a superb example of performers who are completely at one with the mood of the music ( Massenet’s Elegie )  and convey its character wholeheartedly and beautifully.

Stanislavsky

Here are some relevant quotes from the great Russian actor Stanislavsky:
” Create your own method. Make up something that works for you. Keep breaking traditions, I beg you.”
“You’ll never see any two great actors approach a role in the same way.”
“Play well or play badly, but play truly.”

The overall point is that if you come up with imaginative ideas that are true to you they will breathe life into the music  – just as an actor hopes to breathe life into a character he portrays.

Opera has its own narrative

One of the easiest ways to respond to narrative is when playing opera arrangements, where there is a defined story. Our arrangements of Toreador Song and Habanera   –  from Bizet’s opera Carmen – are good examples of this.

 

La Cumparsita Sheet Music

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Our filmed recording of La Cumparsita sheet music has just received 1000 ‘likes’ on You Tube. This great tango is immensely popular and our arrangement has now been viewed by more than 137,000 people.
Kirby Hall

We filmed the video in 2011 at Kirby Hall – a beautiful stately home owned by English Heritage.

About our arrangement of La Cumparsita

The setting for the film was a partly covered courtyard, which had caught the eye of one of our  Lux Technical film crew who thought it would be especially suitable for the character of the music. Today our sheet music arrangement of La Cumparsita is the most popular piece we sell, and it’s also one of the least complicated to play. Our aim was to project the darkness and sensuality of the tango mood. I hope we have achieved some of this.
La Cumparsita sheet music

Music Recordings

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We have just completed some new music recordings of the pieces we sell online.

The recording session took place at Wadenhoe Church. The acoustics here are ideal for chamber music because the church is not too big. It’s also fairly isolated from roads and potential traffic noise.
Wadenhoe Church

Our new music recordings

The pieces we recorded included Scarborough Fair Dark Eyes, Variations on a Christmas Carol and one of Roger’s tangos. We’ll be adding the recordings to our website next month but meanwhile you can find out more about the music by clicking on the highlighted titles above.

music recordings

Music Success

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Roger has achieved music success by having his 15 Insect Songs accepted for publication by Spartan Press. The songs are based on a children’s story Roger wrote several years ago called The Quest for the Golden Orchid. The story features a bee called Hermia – and a variety of other insect characters- and their adventures in escaping dangers caused by pesticides.
music success

About the songs

The music is fun and imaginative in illustrating the different characteristics of the various insects. The number of solo voices or choruses vary per song and there is a violin and piano accompaniment.

” These songs are ideal for use in schools, ” said Roger. ” Each song works on its own with or without the book – or all the songs and the book can be combined to create a children’s musical.”
 music success

Find out more

 If you’d like to be kept in touch with up to date information about publication of the book and the songs please email Roger direct at roger.stimson@googlemail.com
And to find out how we can custom write and dedicate a piece of music for you, click below
Gifts and Dedications