Hello, I am Gregor Horsch
and since over 20 years I am principal cellist of
the Concertgebouworkest. Once in a while, I may play a solo
and this time I chose to perform Lutoslawski’s Cello Concerto. This happens next week on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday night on 26, 27 and 28 February. What I love about this concerto is the fact
that it is a great example of a modern piece that explains itself while you experience it in the concert hall. Het starts very remarkably with a cadence. That means that the soloist plays
by himself on the stage. And that takes a few minutes, so the
orchestra members have to be patient, and wait for their first tones. You have to play uninterested, in a way… *plays*
Repeated tones… The sheet music says 15 to 20 times.
I can decide how long I continue. I think I wait until the audience gets restless,
and then I continue with: *plays* After the cadence, the first part starts
which is divided into three sections. The first section is relatively calm
and lovely for the soloist. And the second and third sections
are a bit faster. So you start with triplets…
*plays* And the third section is faster..
*plays* That part is very lively. After that comes a slow part. The slow part is very expressive with beautiful
solo lines for the cello, cantabile, and a very free part for the orchestra. Which means that every orchestra member
plays their own individual part. And maybe you think
that may become chaotic, but it is a very well controlled chaos. The conductor gives signs to the musicians. The sheet music is not divided into bars
but into sections. So you play your part and keep repeating it until the conductor gives you a sign to continue. And in the final part, there is literally a fight between
the soloist and the orchestra. The orchestra plays fairly loud, a big culmination to which I respond,
like a kind of ‘protest’. And at the end, the coda of the final part is the first moment that the whole orchestra and the soloist play together, metrically. Now the repeated notes from the beginning…
Uninterested… *plays* Come back at the end of the piece,
but a little different. *plays* And so on. So that is literally
the end of the piece. Maybe it is nice to tell you about the
technical challenge this piece contains because of the use of quarter tones. String players practise really hard for years to learn where the tones are on the cello. So: *plays* Those are half tones.
And whole tones: *plays* But if you look closely you can see
there is space between my fingers. You can put a small finger in that space. That sounds like this:
*plays* Those are half tones…
*plays* And that is exactly what Lutoslawski
uses in his concerto. It is especially difficult in fast parts. So for example, this: *plays*
Becomes: *plays* You have to listen really focused
so you don’t make any mistakes. I wish you all a great concert.
I am very much looking forward to it!