Friday, February 10, 2006

 

Warm weather returns, for a while...


Above 35 degrees today. Yay! I plowed a lot of slush off the drive. Let's hear it for spring.

I've been reflecting all day about last night's recital by Paul Rosenthal. I was so impressed with his bowing and fingerwork, especially on that Saint-Saens sonata. I lay awake for a long time hearing that last segment over and over again. I know I'll never be able to play like that. But I wonder if I'll ever be able to play something complex.

My practice today was not so satisfying - not surprising, I guess after last night. But it wasn't that I was so bad, necessarily, more like I'm a bit bored grinding through the same set. I feel as if I've got most of them down pretty solid - with intonation, rhythm, and technique. When I do play from the All For Strings book, at least I'm finding some challenges. I'm trying to stay patient with myself.

Also, I've not been happy with my A & D strings. Once in a while they sound OK, but mostly they sound nasal and whiney. Maybe new strings would help, but really, I want to go ahead and buy a new cello.

Here's the problem with buying a cello: There are dozens of brands. Most of the lower end cellos, including most of those in my price range ($2,500 - $5,000) are now made in China. Over the past several years, China has greatly improved it's reputation for quality stringed instruments. Still, many of the cellos are mass produced in various factories and then shipped in various states of completion to shops in the US for final work - some do final carving here, others just do the varnish, still others only put their labels inside them. The problem is, in many cases, cellos from one "factory" in China can show up at the dealers in the US with several different branded labels inside them. So how to tell which is which?

In the end, I'm just going to have to pick one and stick with it. I really doubt I'll be a good enough player for quite some time to be able to really tell the differences.

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