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

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In the first of two articles, the German cellist shows the importance of pulse, planning and precision in the first two movements of this underestimated Romantic concerto

This concerto is one of the first that I learned as a teenager. It has an unfair reputation for being a student work and as a consequence it’s rarely given enough rehearsal time, although in my opinion it’s actually quite difficult. It can leave string players even in the better orchestras sounding like racing chickens! It’s fragile, hard to get together and only 20-minutes long, so there’s little room for error. I’m rarely happy with the way I play it and I have seen even wonderful cellists struggle too…

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