Concert Allegro, Op. 11
In this masterclass, Professor Anne Gastinel and student Enora Prats tackle the challenging Concerto Allegro by Russian cellist and composer Karl Davydov.
Firstly, Anne Gastinel explains that a certain physical prowess is needed to interpret this concerto and that concentration and physical preparation is essential to carry it through. Because it is a technically exhausting piece, one needs to prepare themselves physically, like a top-level athlete, by doing a warm-up, breathing and drinking plenty of water.
Prats is also advised to work on easing and opening her movements, avoid rushing, and lighten the thrusts.
Do a warm-up, drink water, and do some breathing exercises beforehand.
Work on stabilizing your hands.
Lighten the arm and the thrusts.
Staying in tempo – avoid rushing.
Enjoy playing a challenging piece.
The Concert Allegro, Op. 11 by famous Russian cellist and composer Karl Davydov was written somewhere between 1860 and 1863, and is known to be both technically and physically challenging to play. Karl Davydov was dubbed the "czar of cellists" by master Tchaikovsky and composed mainly for the cello, although his creative output was limited.
Aim for excellence! You can improve your skills with expert advice. Download the annotated sheet music of this cello masterclass. Please note that this piece has been annotated in accordance to Anne Gastinel’s feedback and comments.
At the age of 18 she won the first prize in the Scheveningen competition.
Anne Gastinel won numerous prizes in major international competitions (Scheveningen, Prague, Rostropovitch) and began to appear all over Europe, making a lasting impact on the general public in the 1990 Eurovision Competition.
Unanimously recognized as an ambassador of the French cello school, she was selected to play for the term of one year: the legendary Matteo Gofriller cello that once belonged to Pablo Casals. In 2006, Anne Gastinel was awarded the Victoire de la Musique in the category of ‘Soloist of the Year’ and ‘Best Recording’.
Her career now takes her to perform in the leading venues all over Europe, as well as Japan, China, South Africa, Brazil, Indonesia, Canada, and the United States. She has appeared with great masters such as Yehudi Menuhin, Mstislav Rostropovich, and Kurt Sanderling. As a soloist, she regularly performs with the Orchestre National de France, Orchestre National de Lyon, Hr-Sinfonieorchester (Frankfurt), Orchestre Philharmonique Royal de Liège, Orchestre National Bordeaux Aquitaine, Orchestre Symphonique de Bretagne, among others.
Furthermore, as a chamber musician, she plays with Claire Désert, with whom she has recorded many albums (Poulenc, Franck, Schubert, Schumann…), with the Quatuor Hermès, Nicholas Angelich, Andreas Ottensamer, David Grimal and Philippe Cassard; Xavier Philipps and many other French cellists. For nearly 15 years, her recordings have received the highest distinctions. Her recording (Naïve) dedicated to Beethoven’s Triple Concerto with Nicholas Angelich, Gil Shaham, Paavo Jarvi and the Hr-Sinfonieorchester received the ‘Choc’ of Classica magazine. Since then, she has continued to explore the extensive cello repertoire with her accomplices.
She has been teaching at the CNSMD of Lyon since 2003.
Karl Davydov was born in 1838 in Russia and studied mathematics at St. Petersburg University, before turning to music and studying cello, music theory, and composition at the Leipzig Conservatory. He became a solo cellist in 1850 and was dubbed the “czar of cellists” by Tchaikovsky himself. Davydov gave his name to a famous Stradivarius cello, built in 1712, which is currently being loaned to Chinese American cellist Yo-Yo Ma.
In addition, Davydov was a teacher and authored a book of études for cello that is still used today by aspiring musicians around the world. He also leaves behind an ample collection of compositions for cello, consisting of more than 15 opuses, an unfinished opera, and a hymn. He died at the age of 51, in 1889, in Moscow.
Photo credit: Lebrecht Music Arts / Bridgeman Images