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Marc Coppey, Stravinsky, Suite italienne

Sequence published on 10/5/20
Composer : Igor Stravinsky
Year of composition : 1920
Artistic period : 20th century
Musical category : Suite
Academy : Academy Nov. 1 - Nov. 8, 2021
Master(s) : Marc Coppey
Student : Panshuo Wang
Date of recording : 10/22/21
Instrument(s) played :

"I just wanted to show you the character that is behind and the contrast, which is extremely important in this piece. You have to be versatile. You have to be able to change personalities like this." Marc Coppey

About the Cello class of Marc Coppey on the Suite italienne

Master class de Violoncelle par Marc Coppey | Stravinsky, Suite italienne

The main theme on which the master focuses is the fact that this Suite by Stravinsky comes from a ballet called Pulcinella: “It's a commedia dell'arte, this Italian figure. So a lot of it is about theater, circus and ballet, and every piece is a character or has a different character. It is like telling a story, but there's a lot of humor, irony and many different feelings that go through the music.

In this sense, he highlights the importance of differentiating the different characters of his own, on one hand, for example, from the Serenade, and on the other from the Tarantella: “It's very contrasting, it's a bit weird. We have a nice Serenade and then suddenly we have this. It's a stronger position of the character”.
During this masterclass, they work on different cello topics (intonation, shifting positions, not going too vertical with the bow, vibrato, legato) and on how the correct use of these resources will help to find different colors and timbres.

What we learn in this Cello Master class

- Having a picture of the whole piece will help characterize better excerpts of the suite
- The player must avoid cutting the phrase when shifting positions
- In this piece, the contrast is very important
- The serenade is about singing
- Tarantelle is not elegant; it’s obsessive, a little crazy
- The importance of breathing before singing
- Playing closer to the nut helps to feel more contact with the string, so the sound is a bit less superficial. 

About Igor Stravinsky's work

" Igor Stravinsky, Suite italienne. At the end of the Great War, Stravinsky’s new neoclassical style featured leaner chamber ensembles, more transparent textures, astringent harmonies, and a new respect for the music of the past, qualities perfectly reflected in his ballet Pulcinella, which premiered in May 1920 at the Paris Opera."
"With a cast of rascally characters from commedia dell’ arte, and music largely based on the gracious scores of Neapolitan composer Giovanni Battista Pergolesi (1710-1736), this ballet soon became one of the composer’s most popular works, spawning a host of arrangements, including this Suite Italienne, which Stravinsky assembled in collaboration with the cellist Gregor Piatagorsky in 1932."
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