Archive for the ‘Musings’ Category

Rattling Cello

Posted by Susan Tomes on 28 August 2009 under Daily Life, Musings  •  Leave a comment

A friend has been telling me about a DVD of cellist Bernard Greenhouse giving masterclasses. Greenhouse spoke about the great Catalan cellist Pablo Casals, with whom he had studied. Casals was well-known for his love of smoking a pipe. Asked how much he smoked, he once replied, ‘As much as possible.’ Lighting his pipe when […]

Calligraphy Blues

Posted by Susan Tomes on 21 August 2009 under Concerts, Daily Life, Musings  •  Leave a comment

I recently made up a couple of cadenzas for a Haydn piano concerto. I kind of improvised them at the piano, and played them in the concert without ever writing them out. Afterwards, I thought I’d try and note them down before I forgot them entirely. Cadenzas are supposed to be, or at least sound, […]

Flying the Flag

Posted by Susan Tomes on 14 August 2009 under Concerts, Musings  •  Leave a comment

Last night’s Prom offered the invigorating spectacle of the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra playing beautifully under their fine young conductor Ilan Volkov. One of the good effects of globalisation has been on the standards of orchestral playing. Because of the widespread availability of music both live and recorded, nobody can now hide in a corner […]

‘The Dark Side of Piano Competitions’

Posted by Susan Tomes on 10 August 2009 under Musings  •  1 Comment

An American friend has sent me an article from last Friday’s New York Times about piano competitions. Michael Johnson, who has served on prestigious competition juries, laments the corruption that allegedly prevails. Perhaps there are competitions whose juries engage in vote-swapping, fixing, accepting bribes and all the rest of it. I’ve heard the stories too. […]

Feeling free to be themselves

Posted by Susan Tomes on 6 August 2009 under Concerts, Musings  •  4 Comments

I’ve been thinking about Charles Hazlewood’s article in Monday’s Guardian. He wrote about some open-air orchestral concerts he’s going to conduct in a field in Somerset, explaining that he wants to bring great music out of the intimidating concert hall and into a fun relaxing space. Good for him. I started my professional career doing […]