Artikel-Schlagworte: „Worst Handicaps“

Der Lehrer und Pädagoge (2) – Grand Prix Emanuel Feuermann

Donnerstag, 11. November 2010

Feuermanns immerwährendes Credo: ein singendes Cello

Emanuel Feuermann - beim Intonieren

Im vorherigen Blogbeitrag hatten wir uns mit den Vorstellungen Emanuel Feuermanns zum Thema Lernen und Üben befasst.

Jetzt sollen mehr die  künstlerischen Qualitäten des Cello-Spiels aus seiner Sicht beleuchtet werden. Es sei nochmals in Erinnerung gerufen, dass in den Augen vieler berühmter Musiker-Zeitgenossen die Meisterschaft im Cello-Spiel durch Feuermann ungeahnte Höhen erlebte. Zur Verdeutlichung ein Zitat des ungarischen Cellisten Janos Starker über ihn:

“I place him as the most important figure for 20th century cello playing . . . . [While] Casals was responsible for establishing cello playing of the modern age, [it was] Feuermann who showed us the way to the next development. The cello was no longer an instrument to be excused because of its difficulty. He overcame all the difficulties which before his time were considered almost invincible obstacles.”

Die Beherrschung des Cellos

“It is surprising how few rules and principles there are and still more surprising how completely they change the entire style of playing. Believe it or not, my dear friend, the really outstanding string players, whether Kreisler, Casals, or Heifetz, are similar to each other in the way they use their muscular systems and handle their instruments and bows. The main differences lie in their different personalities, talents, and ideas, and only to a very small extent in their techniques, for which, again, physical differences are accountable.

Very simply, these rules are not demanded of the performer, but demanded by the instrument. Please understand this point thoroughly, because this is the basic fault of your approach. You have to know your instrument, cello and bow and how to handle them, the demands of the music and your mental and physical abilities and weaknesses to be able to recognize your mistakes, the inadequacies in your playing and to try to correct them. Analysis, patience, and endurance are the main requirements for your development.

One small example: when a cellist plays fast detache notes on the lower strings, you can hardly speak of the sound he produces, rather, you could call it a scratchy noise. The reason? You can only get a good sound from a string if it vibrates. Bring the string to vibration and one of the worst handicaps of the cello disappears. A very simple fact, certainly not a miracle, easy to remedy, yet still not recognized as the source of one of the ugliest and most prevalent ills of cello playing”.

Keine Note ohne Ausdruck und Artikulation

“As in a written sentence the only guidelines are the single words, commas, periods, question marks, etc., so in music notation we have only the bar lines, the bowings, the pitch and length of the single notes, and expression marks (accents, crescendi, etc., play quite a special role). What meaning can there be in a story recited in a monotone? Very little. The words may be recognizable, but there will be little real sense.

When you played for me, I showed you how little attention you have given to this way of looking at music, to this kind of approach, the most important one for a performer that I know of. Of course, partly by chance, partly because we have more to lean on in musical notation than in language, and partly because you have a musical education outside of cello playing, and lastly because one cannot practice and play for years without achieving something, you quite often understood the meaning of the music.

Let me try to explain to you what I mean by approach. Except for groups of fast notes where a given number of notes are one single rhythmical unit, there is not a note in music that should be played without expression or articulation. It can be compared to speaking, in which every syllable has its rhythm and phrasing within a sentence, according to its desired meaning. So, every note must be played according to the intended expression within the musical phrase”.

Musikalität und Spieltechnik

“Here technique, there musicality – an ancient comparison which is senseless and has done great damage to the perfection of playing. There should be a three-part division: mechanism, musicality, and technique, which when used musically is the mechanism.

What should the goal be for a performer, that is for the interpreter of a composition, i.e., the musical expression of another person? To interpret as closely as possible the composer’s intentions, at least what the player believes are his intentions. How can one best accomplish this goal? First one should recognize this goal as such and then control the means that are absolutely necessary for its accomplishment.

In my opinion, a war exists between technique and musicality. It brings with it only confusion, and makes a great performance virtually impossible. If one understands that by musicality is meant that one recognizes the intentions of the composer, then the other half of the term-”technique”-can be explained as possessing the real means necessary for bringing these intentions to fruition……. virtuoso includes: the greatest ability, respect for a piece of art, and the ability to fit one’s personality to the art work. How many of us have this? How many of us believe we have it, and are mistaken about it? And how many could have it if they were guided properly during their development?”

Persönlichkeit und Interpretation

“We must make it clear to ourselves that it would do great harm to Beethoven’s music if each musician were allowed to maintain the essentiality of his own personality for the shaping and molding of Beethoven.

This arrogant attitude does great damage to both music and public. The personality cannot be excluded, but the musician must try to live up to the composer and not bring the composer down to his level. We must take it for granted that of the two, the composer is the greater. The goal which I consider as the most important for the player is: abandon vanity, and ability, if there is any thought behind it at all, will come forth”.

In dieser Blog-Reihe zum Grand Prix  Emanuel Feuermann sind bereits erschienen:

Zeit zum Erinnern

Bernard Greenhouse remembers

Der Lehrer und Pädagoge (1)

Michael Heinz



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