Thursday, July 27, 2006

 

Finally, I'm playing again


I'm back after a too-long break from my cello. I had been afraid I'd lose some ground, but I was relieved to find the contrary. Within a few hours of getting home Wednesday morning, I hauled my cello into my bedroom and spent several hours just playing, only focusing on getting the right tones for each note. After clearing out a little rust from my finger joints, things went quite well. I was especially pleased to find those second position ringing tones with little trouble. My hand still has to get used to the open-hand stretch (C to E on the a-string, for example.)

Today, I returned to my more focused workout. For a while, at least, I felt I was even getting the right durations on the longer notes. I'm working on two new Bach pieces, Minuet No 1 and Minuet No. 3, in the Suzuki 2 book. Learning these has been fun - they aren't that difficult, they are familiar tunes, and they both use second position shifts, which are fun when I get them right. I'm also enjoying learning the basic Mel Bay fiddle tunes - I'm on the fourth one. They are simple, easy to pick up, and sound good.

After six days of resting inside its case with three dampits, my D string was very sharp(!), but the rest of them were pretty closely in tune(?). I tuned down the D, and haven't had to tune it back up in five hours of playing. The three dampits were completely dried out. Temperatures were apparently a bit warmer while we were gone...

Again I scored a bunch of low priced used Cello CDs at Title Wave:

1) A six CD set by Jacqueline DuPre: "Les Introuvables de Jacqueline DuPre" (I'd already bought the second half - three CDs in a case - a few weeks ago, but I really didn't expect to ever find the first half by itself, so it was worth buying the whole collection; hopefully I can resell the second half back to Title Wave, next trip);
2) Yo-Yo Ma with Emanuel Ax playing Beethoven Sonatas Nos. 1 and 2;
3) Alexander Rudin, playing Cello Concertos Nos. 1 and 2 by Kabalevsky;
4) Tim Hugh, playing the Walton Cello Concerto (combined with Dong-Suk Kang playing his Violin Concerto);
5) Andres Diaz playing pieces by Bernstein, Barber, and Footz in a CD titled "American Visions".


Unmasked!

For a long time, I've tried to stay generally anonymous. Although many bloggers use their real names, I initially felt I wouldn't be able to be completely open and honest if I knew my friends, family, and former coworkers were reading me. I felt it would inhibit me, making me censor my thoughts... I'm sure that if someone who knew me really wanted to dig out my identity, they wouldn't have too much trouble; but I really don't expect that to happen.

Then I got a comment from someone I'd mentioned in an earlier post: my cello teacher's daughter (a wonderful pianist, and a very talented writer). So now I've been unmasked at least to my teacher. I was a bit concerned, at first, thinking she'd be able to read my thoughts and interpretations regarding our lessons; I worried that I might start censoring myself. After a few days, I relaxed. I have a lot of respect for her and greatly appreciate her efforts to help me learn; and I'd have no problem if she wanted to correct any of my many misconceptions about the cello.

One of my main reasons for this blog was to try to sort out what I'm doing; to rehash what I think I understand as it happens; and for me, writing is the best way to do this. Over the months, I've gone back and made several corrections to some of my posts (one today, even), fixing misconceptions, etc. While I don't expect that I'm getting everything perfectly the first time I hear it, I'm not really that worried that my teacher would disagree (at least not strongly) with anything I've written about the cello. As for my other rants and more personal stuff - I am who I am; I do not feel the need to seek anyone's approval; nor do I expect anyone to agree with everything (or anything, for that matter) that I've written.

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