In this episode we play the first of three Fantasiestucke (Fantasy Pieces) by Robert Schumann. This piece was originally written for clarinet and piano but I think it sounds good on the cello. Schumann often wrote sets of miniatures that each have their own mood. In this one there is some tension between triplets (three notes per beat) in the piano and duplets (two notes per beat) in melodies in both the cello and piano. This adds unrest to this emotional and romantic piece. We hope you enjoy it.
On Monday the next episode will be released. It is the first of the Fantasy Pieces by Robert Schumann. Ross and I recorded it today. Please stay tuned.
Recently we saw the passing of Mstislav Rostropovich. He was a famous Russian cellist, pianist and conductor. You may have seen something on the news. I am deeply saddened. It will take me a while to sort out my thoughts and feelings. I could probably write several pages about Rostropovich. There was some wonderful music written for the cello thanks to Rostropovich and composers that wrote for him.
Rostropovich was a bit before my time with the cello. I did not have an occasion to hear him play live. He cut back on performing on the cello over the years due to his age. I remember when I was young I was very inspired by his playing and it is one of the reasons I became a cellist. His recording of the Rococo Variations by Tchaikovsky had a big impact on me when I was starting the cello.
He had an incredible ability to play with a sustained rich sound. His playing was remarkably clear. He made the cello sound very easy to play. He may have influenced what people expect to hear from a cello forever. It seems sometimes that he did not play the cello, but an instrument like the cello except with fewer limitations and additional qualities.
I think there is a great deal to learn from him and his playing. For years cellists will continue to listen and watch his playing on recordings to discover what is possible on the cello.
There are two things I wanted to mention about Rostropovich. Often I am driving in my car and I listen to the radio and think to myself “What a wonderful cellist? Who is that?” Then I almost always hear that it is Rostropovich. Another thing is that you can put his playing on for just 2 or 3 notes and I can usually already recognize it.
Rostropovich will be dearly missed and my thoughts on him will continue to develop over the years. I hope that we will not forget him and continue to learn from him.