Cello Journey #29, Thais Meditation

YouTube Version 1
Direct Download Version 1

YouTube Version 2
Direct Download Version 2

I thought I would put up two versions of the same episode. It is difficult to pick one sometimes. There may be a different feeling in each. Let me know what you think.

In this episode we play the Meditation from the Opera Thais by Jules Massenet.

The Thais comes from an interlude towards the end of the opera. It is usually played on the violin. It is marked Andante Religioso and there is a reflective mood throughout.

This piece is special to me because, over the years, my mother has played it in church on the violin. I wanted to do a good job with it. We hope you enjoy it.


  1. That was beautiful, Luke. If I had to chose one I would pick the first version but they were both beautiful and it shows that you have a special connection to this piece. I got a video of my Haydn 1st Concerto today and I will post it on youtube soon. I could not have gotten to skill level required for that piece if it wasn’t for your inspiration. It’s been a great way for me to get serious with the cello because you have sort of guided all of the regulars through cello music.

    I think it would be great if you played Fire Dance. There are some videos of it on youtube and my favorite is the Maisky version even though it’s in a very bad acoustic hall.

    If I had a general thing I would like to see on this show it would be more sonatas and concertos (you do such a great job with them!) Keep up the fantastic work!

  2. Very nice to have new episode now!

    I have just downloaded the flv file, and extracted the mp3 audio track. Then, I found that the audio track of this episode is monaural not stereo. Is this finding true? Did you intentionally set the audio track in monaural with this episode?

  3. Ah, what a surprise =) Luke and Ross thank you so much for that new episode!
    Your are right Luke, it is quite hard to choose. Since you asked for our opinion I’d say that version one is slightly better than version two.

  4. I also carefully compared the two versions. I agree with Geeksluvpi and Antonio that I would like the first version, but both of them are quite beautiful and immpressive.

  5. Hey Luke! I think it’s two years ago that I write you a comment but I always look two your videos! Ross and you are a perfect team! I enjoy it really much to hear your playing! I play cello too and it’s a great insperation to hear you! Very nice feelings in every video! Always makes me smile! It’s brilliant! Thanks for playing for us!
    Sarah 🙂

  6. Great to hear from everyone. Thanks for the feedback. Sometimes there are two versions of an episode and it is hard to pick one. Because it is live playing there are always decisions to make.

    Geeksluvpi – The Fire Dance is a very cool piece. It is definitely worth playing. Sonatas and Concertos are great too. I think we might do a Brahms sonata, maybe the Strauss too.

    Makoto – YouTube makes flv files mono to make them download faster. The iTunes version is usually the best one to get.

    Sarah – I remember you. Nice to hear from you again.


  7. Very nice Luke. I really enjoyed it. I have only listened to version, and I will listen to number two. But it really is such a nice piece. It was hard to find the religious quality at first, but it is there. It took me a second time to find it, but the beautiful religioso aspect is definitely there. True serene beauty. Thank you Luke!
    Another blog post please? I really like to read your comments on music.

  8. Thank you, Luke,
    You are right; I just remember that so far I extracted mp3 from iTunes mp4 not from YouTube flv. Today I downloaded iTunes mp4 of this episode and extracted the stereo mp3 from it. The sound track was a little bit Left-channel weighted, so I could balance it with Audacity free software to send this wonderful episode into my itunes library. Thank you again, and I am looking forward to the rest of Haydn Concerto, too!

  9. Bravo! Beautiful. I have been hoping you would play this piece (similar to your version of the Swan which is a favorite). I have told my son (age 8 and cello) that I want him to play this at my funeral. Not soon of course. (I had suggested an opera piece once before.)

    I greatly enjoy your music and site.

    Many many thanks.


  10. Great!

    I came across this site and I’ve enjoyed so much!

    I would like some advice since I don’t actually play cello, but I like it. I’ve been told, though, that there are some special qualities I should have in order to learn how to play it.
    is this true?
    I’d appreciate your help

  11. Hi david,

    I don’t know what you have been told. What special qualities? Yes, you need your hands. Yes, you need to be able to move your fingers, too. 😉
    Honestly, almost anything can be learned, it just depends on your aims.

  12. Hm. All I can think of what someone needs to learn is a cello, bow, teacher and time. It truly is a wonderful instrument, and you should dive in. Get a teacher who was/is a professional performer. They love passing on their knowledge. You can do it!

  13. Hi luke i really enjoy your playing. i think that with the way you play i think that if you played dvorak’s b minor concerto,elgar’s cello concerto,or saint saens cello concerto #1 it would sound absoloutly amazing.:)

  14. Luke, have you heard of the Internet Cello Society? It’s at cello.org and they have a wonderful forum with many nice people and interesting discussions.

    Can’t wait for the next video!

  15. Well, Luke, I studied cello from 1966-1969…..then moved on to a job teaching elementary music and left the cello when I moved from British Columbia, Canada to Zimbabwe, Africa in 1980 because I could not afford a ticket to take my cello there. In 2005, after raising 2 children in California and teaching full time, I finally returned to the cello, traveling to Los Angeles and purchasing a cello from Hans Benning at Studio City Music. My best friend is a cellist with the San Luis Obispo Symphony and played with the San Diego Symphony. She is the one who encouraged me to begin again and I am fortunate to be able to play in an amateur community orchestra. I was so delighted to find your utube performances and I appreciate your response to my first comment. At the moment, I am playing in a trio and working on the Popper Requium. I appreciate all of the pieces you have performed by Popper….he knew how to compose for cello!

  16. Elaine – Thanks for writing and sharing your background. That is great that you are playing the Popper Requiem. I am starting to appreciate Popper more these days. His pieces have nice melodies and really take advantage of the cello.


  17. You both played this piece beautifully. Thanks for sharing this with the world!

    This website is becoming a great resource for students learning these pieces. It has lots of educational value to be able to hear and see a cellist with fine technique and lovely interpretation.

    Maybe you already talked about it in the comments, but could you tell us more about your beautiful cello, it’s history, etc…? Maybe for a next blogpost…?

    Keep it up!

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