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.”
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.
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.
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
Following on from the last blog here is some more narrative playing – that is, where there is a clear interpretation that is full of ideas.
Example 1: Casals and Bach
Casals’ heartfelt recording has spellbinding drama .
Example 2: Rachel Podger and Andrew Manse
The imaginative dialogue between the two soloists in this performance of Bach’s Double Violin Concerto makes the music sparkle into life.
Cello 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:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Find out more
Gifts and Dedications
Dance of the Blessed Spirits string duet is the newest addition to our online shop. The first and third sections of this famous piece are calm and pastoral and there’s a contrasting minor middle section. The music comes from Gluck’s opera Orpheus and Eurydice and the story is based on the Greek myth of Orpheus’s journey to Hades in search of Eurydice and his bargain with the gods to allow her to return to life.
In our arrangement both instruments share the tune. We have also added some optional ornamentation in repeats for variety. This music would be good for a wedding reception or as guests arrive.You can find out more here: Dance of the Blessed Spirits
We have just added two Purcell violin and cello duets to our online shop: Fairest Isle and Rondeau. Although these pieces both come from operas they could not be more different in mood.
About the operas
The song Fairest Isle is from King Arthur and comes immediately after drunken dancing by peasants. The sudden change of character is a delightful surprise and the words praise the goddess Venus and her birthplace – Cyprus – with warmth and affection.
Rondeau is played near the start of the opera Abdelazer. The story here is based on a tragic revenge play and the dark character is apparent immediately in the music. Benjamin Britten’s superb Young Person’s Guide to the Orchestra uses this tune as the main theme and many people – myself included – will have first come across it there
What a wonderful composer Purcell was! The more experienced I get the more I am aware of the extreme beauty of his music and its sense of congruence with the world.
Our duet arrangements
We have aimed to reflect the different characters of the music on our arrangements, which we will be recording in March, and you can buy the music here:
I very much enjoyed composing the Scarborough Fair sheet music arrangement that we have just added to our online shop.
I started with a strong idea of what I felt the song was about – a combination of Wuthering Heights and Jamaica Inn. To create a sense of drama, wildness and travel, there are fluid quavers – giving movement and the feeling of a journey. There is also a contrasting middle section in the major, some rich cello chords and an ending that feels quite bleak.
Arranging Scarborough Fair Sheet Music
Folk songs are ideal for music arrangements. The tune is usually simple and short ( and often beautiful) and there is no original version, so you have lots of interpretative freedom and can compose contrasting tunes or introductions to add substance and avoid too many repeats.
Unsurprisingly there are many different versions of Scarborough Fair on You Tube. Revamped’s ideas (below) combine acting and music especially inventively:
This is nothing like our arrangement, which we will be recording in March. To buy a copy right away and see for yourself what it’s like, click below!