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Franz Helmerson, Kodály, Cello Sonata

Sequence published on 12/2/21
Composer : Zoltan Kodaly
Year of composition : 1915
Artistic period : 20th century
Musical category : Sonata
Academy : Academy Feb. 14 - Feb. 21, 2021
Master(s) : Frans Helmerson
Student : Eline Hensels
Date of recording : 10/22/21
Instrument(s) played :

"It goes between different emotions, different energies, and different dramas all the same time" Frans Helmerson

About Frans Helmerson's Cello class on the Sonate pour violoncelle seul

Cello Master class, Franz Helmerson | Kodály, Sonata

"As happens in many classes where pieces for solo instruments are worked, particularly when composed in the 20th century, the master emphasizes that, in general, cellists are making so much improvisation in this piece; when in reality, it's all rhythm there.
"

"A huge number of aspects of the cello are worked on in a very meticulous way, from the difference in vibrato depending on the register in which it is played (“You have the soprano, you have the alto, you have the baritone, and you have the bass. This is how we deal with the vibrato, for example. It's different in different registers”), up to the decisions concerning the choice of fingering (“I try to be as conscious as possible in my choice of fingerings. I want a fingering, I make a choice of fingering to express something very special. I may also go with some kind of glissando or so in an interval.”)
In addition, the master emphasizes that the right arm, which handles the bow, does not react, but rather decides. Something similar stands out for the left hand: “It came from your hand, but it's not so bad if you can tell yourself what you really did technically, physically.""
This is a great class on a key work for the cello."

What we learn in this Cello Master class

- Some rigor is required in the rhythm
-The combination of speed and amplitude, it's always important when we play romantic
music
-Vibrato should be seen much more often as a reaction to the length of the note
-The left hand Ishould not be tensed, but it should be with a decision from the ears
-There is so much temperamental expression in this music
-Talking is very important and singing is our first choice and talking comes with it
-The clarity in each finger is more important than the muscular work from the arm.

About Zoltán Kodály's work

This piece is perhaps the first major work for unaccompanied cello after Bach's six great suites almost 200 years earlier. The sonata, in three movements, totaling about half an hour, synthesizes many of the musical interests Kodály was exploring early in his career.
"Since becoming a professor of composition at Budapest's Royal Academy of Music in 1908, most of his compositions had been chamber works for strings; the Cello Sonata is perhaps the most ambitious of the early string works. The sonata exhibits Zoltan Kodály's interest in the music of Claude Debussy, which he had encountered while studying in Paris a couple of years before. Hints of the style of Béla Bartók, Zoltan Kodály's good friend, can also be discerned. The sounds and inflections of Hungarian folk music also play a prominent role; Zoltan Kodály was passionately interested in the folk music of his native land. Several years earlier, Kodály had started taking regular trips around the country, many times with Bela Bartók, collecting, recording, and transcribing folk songs and dances."
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