Date: Mon, 22 Jun 1998 23:33:08 +0000
From: "Ian McKechnie" <>
Subject: Re: Haydn and other matters

Clyde Hunt wrote :

> Please remember:  Herr Haydn did NOT specify allegro, nor anything else
> for that matter.
> Any tempo markings or other "editings" specified in your "version" were
> supplied by an editor somewhere along the line.  Therefore, these are
> "grains of salt" info.

I went to a masterclass on Sunday morning, given by William Pleeth (eminent cellist, former teacher of Jacqueline du Pre and others).  While this was primarily so that my daughter could meet the great man (she did, he was very nice, shook her hand and made encouraging noises) I was fascinated by some of the observations he made.  one in particular was exactly the point made by our equally eminent Mr Hunt, that editorial markings are precisely that - editorial.  He was exhorting the spectacularly gifted young german cellist under the spotlight to be less conformist, have a bit of imagination, and also to have the courage of his convictions and play HIS version, not someone else's.  (They were looking at one of the Haydn cello concerti.)

Two other points he mentioned interested me.  He told one of the students to think about trumpets when he attacked a note "because the trumpet has a precision which the cello should seek to emulate".

Second, and most interesting, he advised the students not to do boring warm-ups when they first practice : instead, he suggested that they should try to improvise cadenzas for concerti, in order to warm up their imaginations rather than their muscles.

I was in the masterclass for two hours, listening and watching.  Bits of it were too technical to interest anyone other than a cellist, but much of it was fascinating, and it struck me that there is always something to learn from seeing a great artist at work, irrespective of instrument.

Ian McKechnie