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William Pleeth Master Class Video Volume 1 DVD

Item # WMP1DVD

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William Pleeth, teacher of the legendary Jaqueline du Pre' and many other internationally-recognized cellists, celebrated his eightieth birthday in 1996. To mark the event, a series of eight, one-hour films were made of his cello master classes at the Britten-Pears School for Advanced Musical Studies in Snape, England. The filmmakers captured William Pleeth in some of his finest work ever as a master teacher, in the best-known and loved repertoire for the cello: the Elgar Concerto, Beethoven, and Brahms Sonatas, the Hadyn D Major Concerto and the Tchaikovsky Rococo Variations.

William Pleeth DVD: Synopsis/reviews
Reviewer: Helen Neilson, London.

In 1996, Selma Gokcen produced a series of DVD recordings of William Pleeths masterclasses at the Britten-Pears School for Advanced Musical Studies. This unique series is an important addition to the historical cellistic literature, celebrating the life and work of this highly respected cellist and teacher who influenced the paths of numerous cellists around the globe. He is perhaps most famously known as the teacher of Jacqueline du Pr, but led a life where he helped generations of developing cellists. He also enjoyed an illustrious performing career based in the United Kingdom, following his Leipzig Gewandhaus debut aged fifteen.

1. Brahms: Sonata in F major for Piano and Violoncello, op. 99. Allegro vivace.
Kari Jane Docter, vcl; Peggy Gray, pno.
Immediately after stopping the cellist, William launches into one of his favourite points for discussion: the piano part. At all times, he encourages the cellist to be aware of the ensemble with the piano. This very issue is addressed in the brief interview which ends this episode. He emphasises that the cellist must not be in their own world of the cello. They must maintain awareness of what the pianist does, and if necessary, they may argue about it later! He encourages the players to imagine other instruments of the orchestra. It is a symphony. Score it properly, he exclaims! Proposing the idea of viewing the opening figure in the piano as a Hungarian cimbalom, he encourages the student to use their imagination to create a broad palette of sounds in the minds ear. Indeed, he refers to the ear as the eye of the painter. At all times, students are encouraged to consider their choices of fingerings and bowings in relation to the colours which best bring the musical intent to life.
An interesting point mentioned specifically in this episode is the idea of controlling something, versus letting it be. He points out how obvious this is to the recipients of the music making--the audience. This is something which performing musicians at all stages of development could well benefit from giving considered thought and attention, in music as well as life. In general, his philosophies tend to reflect an attitude to life as well as music, as can be seen when he encourages the young cellist to play with courage, live dangerously. Its wonderful!


Wliliam Pleeth Review: Rob Lewis - London
Volume 1 Brahms Sonata in F, Op.99

William Pleeth shines a new light on the opening of the Brahms Sonata, where sonorities and the shapes of phrases are given more emphasis than convenient fingerings which cross the strings and break the line of the phrase. Although these ideas specifically refer to the opening passages, it becomes clear how they can be applied to the whole of the Sonata and other cello repertoire.
William Pleeths ideas add an excitement to the music which helps to take the performance to a higher level. The sonata begins to come to life when different techniques both in the left hand and the bow are discussed to accentuate the shapes in passages, and relate them to the overall drama of the sonata.
 

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