Wednesday, July 25, 2007



For Lesson #33 we worked through the trios that I'll be playing next week (!) Since we hadn't assigned the parts among ourselves yet, my teacher and I ended up playing through all three parts of each piece. I got lots of tips and pointers for each part - along with a bunch of practice areas that I need to focus on.

One piece we originally considered at rehearsal Monday, is called Canon Cancrizans by Samuel Scheidt (1587-1654). Cancrizans means crab-like or crab-wise. I guess you are supposed to play it from end to beginning on the repeats. The third cello part was a simple palindrome - the same note sequence when played in reverse order. The other two parts sort of mirrored each other with a lot of rhythmic matches when one was reversed. But the piece had confusing little arrow marks on the ends of the lines - some on one side and some on the other pointing the opposite direction. We tried playing several variations to see if we could figure out what was intended, but none of them sounded very good at all. I think we'll drop it from our playlist.

We didn't get to anything else in the lesson - I summarized what I'd been working on, and what issues I was dealing with. I told her I'd recently stopped playing the old Suzuki pieces for now, to make room for the new pieces. She suggested I include at least one of these old pieces in each day's practice, not only the ones that are still a bit troublesome, but also the easy ones - so I won't get stale. I told her I'd finally been able to play through the Lully Gavotte without any flubs (even though somewhat slowly).

She then she turned the page to the next piece in Book 3, a Minuet by L. Boccherini. I'm supposed to listen to it for the next few weeks, and spend some time counting the rhythms aloud; in other words, get the rhythms planted first. She suggested I not start on the fingerings yet. I realized immediately that this was the piece the "advanced" students played at that first class recital a year and a half ago - the one that I couldn't imagine ever being able to play! I guess I have made some progress.

A new set of Jargar strings arrived yesterday from Cellos2Go - many thanks Ellen :) I'm going to wait to put them on until after next week's concert.

Suggestion - instead of playing the entire old Suzuki piece(s) - just practice the phrases that you find the most difficult in each piece. This will save time and also keep you focused on the technical issues. Happy practicing.
That Boccherini piece is one of my "Suzuki" favorites. It's on my list to finish memorizing this summer. It's played way too fast (as most are) on the Suzuki recording.

Another piece I like in Book 3 is La Cincquantaine. I've got half of it memorized, but am still working on getting the key of A section perfectly in tune. Give a listen while you have the CD out. It's a haunting melody
Woo hoo! Go Boccherini! Go Guanaco!

I have liked Jargars as a set on several of my cellos at various times. They're the only kind I use on my Prakticello, sounding OK very quiet unamplified, and I actually have a set downstairs waiting to go on Emma when I can't stand the tight Helicore G and C any more. Are these for the electric or your main cello?
I also like the La Cincquantaine - too bad the Suzuki CD plays these so fast.

My Jargars are for my acoustic. I'm not really unhappy with my current Larsen A, D and Dominant G, C combination - although there are days when the D seems to have a mind of its own... But I'm curious to try something new. My teacher speaks quite well of them.

I recently put Helicores on my electric - to replace whatever Yamaha sent with it. I'm reasonably happy with their sound through the headphones...
Too bad the crab canon didn't work out. It sounds interesting.

Boccherini and La Cinquantaine are two of my favorite Suzuki pieces. I found La Cinquantaine one of the harder ones to memorize; I'm not sure why.

It's hard to keep playing all the old pieces, but I am sure there is some value in it. At least my teacher says so. :-)
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