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William Pleeth Master Class Video Volume 4 DVD

Item # WMP4DVD

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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.

4. Beethoven Sonata in C major, op. 102, no. 1. Andante Allegro vivace.
Daisy Gathorne-Hardy, vcl; Carole Presland, pno.

Vibrato mustnt be a habit. Its a servant of every nuance of feeling there is. The opening of Beethovens Sonata in C major provides a perfect place to investigate the finest nuances of different vibratos in order to create varied musical effects. He encourages the student to think about voicings, colour colour for its own sake in your own line colour in relation to your partner above all in counterpoint, in voicings that should match him or her or contradict and so on He enjoys vociferously deriding what he terms the one-gear vibrato. Dont tell me its not an illness, he says after complaining that in most concerts one goes to, we hear the same wobble for two hours at a time! Again, the importance of the consideration of the ensemble is paramount in exploring the range of textures.
The student initially looks somewhat bemused as he states, the worst thing that most players have is good rhythm. However, he then goes on to elucidate his point further. Its not just rhythm 1234 in a bar, its the inner impulse of something [Traces curves of body of cello.] This is rhythm; that is logic. Its the inevitability of the curve. That is rhythm, darling. Logic. It is his instinctive appreciation of the underlying proportions and dynamic sense of musical form that is vital. One also wonders whether he was aware of the cyclographs of Percival Hodgson, tracing the bowing arms of string players in 1934, who uses exactly the same phrase, the inevitability of the curve to describe those specific motions3 Pleeths natural appreciation of the physics of both string playing and musical motion in their truest sense come through repeatedly. By Mother Nature, not by anybody!

William Pleeth Review: Rob Lewis - London
Volume 4 Beethoven Sonata in C, Op. 102, No.1

As the Beethoven Sonatas are very much based on the piano playing an equal part in the performance, Pleeth discusses how the phrasing and articulation in the cello part should be based around the figures played by the piano. He particularly refers to the more staccato passages, where, by lifting the bow to re-articulate the notes, the cello can match the piano part in colour and texture.
He also focuses on how it is important to use one finger at a time to play a note so that there is a good quality of sound and the vibrato remains free. This also allows the fingers to be more independent. The example of being able to stretch much more freely and to clean up intonation is instantly applied to the opening passage.
The matter of tempo is explored to find a more tender, leisurely pace to the movement, allowing each note to sing and for each note to receive proper stress.
 

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