Masterclass: Alban Gerhardt on Saint-Saëns Cello Concerto no.1, part 2

AlbanGerhardt

Alban Gerhardt explains why it takes courage to fight tradition and forge your own interpretation – based not on what others play but on what the composer wrote – in the work’s third movement

Saint-Saëns was a wonderful composer, but very seldom have I heard this concerto played in the way that he wrote it. Instead most cellists follow the traditions established by others before them, often because they have listened to too many recordings. It is far more difficult to break away from those traditions if you have heard the work played ten times in the same way. Pretend instead that the music has been written just for you and then interpret it on your own. It is fine to change things in the score, but only if that helps you to bring across the musical message that you want to share. Don’t do it out of laziness, bad habit or just because you’ve heard it played that way before…

Already subscribed? Please sign in

Subscribe to continue reading…

We’re delighted that you are enjoying our website. For a limited period, you can try an online subscription to The Strad completely free of charge.

  • Free 7-day trial

    Not sure about subscribing? Sign up now to read this article in full and you’ll also receive unlimited access to premium online content, including the digital edition and online archive for 7 days.

    No strings attached – we won’t ask for your card details

  • Subscribe - online subscriptions from £4.50/month

    No more paywalls. To enjoy the best in-depth features and analysis from The Strad’s latest and past issues, upgrade to a subscription now. You’ll also enjoy regular issues and special supplements* and access to an online archive of issues back to 2010.

 

* Issues and supplements are available as both print and digital editions. Online subscribers will only receive access to the digital versions.