There are two main ideas in this class: the pulse maintenance during the whole movement and the differences among the themes of Brahm's Cello Sonata movement. Most of the explanations are focused on these issues.
Additionally, there are general corrections in different aspects, such as rhythm, articulation, phrasing, double tremolo in cello part, always in relation to musical and formal domain.
To establish the tempo of the Brahm's Cello Sonata No. 2 , performers must first look for it in the intermediate passages of each movement, and then bring that same tempo to the beginning.
One must pay attention to musical changes on the score (e.g., one passage turns to espressivo). Clarity of bass pitches is advisable, to explore sound possibilities of the cello as a horn, bassoon, or drums.
Some important comments in this masterclass are: the significance of the first cue at the beginning of the piece -where a brilliant character is required; the connection of the rhythm in the cello part with Latin rhythms (like Tango); and the accuracy of the score.
David Geringas also talks about tempo in the whole sonata, explaining that there is always a connection among movements. Music is always 'crescendo' in the sense of growth, of development.
The student has to think in a horizontal bow movement to ensure a continuity in the sound. The phrasing may be freer and not so rigorous in a specific passage. The relaxation of the arm is necessary when the bow is out of the string. The bowings must sound as a great line, not as an independent movement. The sixteenth notes have to be played different every time they are repeated in a passage.
Other considerations during the class are sound preparation, string rapport with the piano, sound balance and quality, different attacks, lyrical character, triplets, and contact point close to the bridge in certain passages.
The feeling of the arm in the air, when the bow is out of the string, is similar to that of a tennis player. Body movements and sound preparation: do not be passive, but active and relaxed and ready to react. When you want to play forte -with more intensity- a previous relaxation is necessary, and when you play, the attack must have more contact in the string and should be closer to the bridge. Finger, arm and hand position should be at the same level as the strings, not opposite. Relaxation (instead of crashing) is very important. Sound balance and rapport between cello and piano. In the central passage, the student must calm down and does not need to lead....
There is a specific musical intention at the beginning with the first crescendo. Other considerations about tempo: it must be maintained (not rallentando). Corrections on glissando.
Regarding bowings, the professor works on the right point to place and slide the bow and on the clarity in a specific passage. There are also explanations about Britten's character, quality of sound, color, fingerings, vibrato, and harmonics; as well as about his interpretation and the length of the last notes in the phrases.
Frans Helmerson gives some indications about articulation accuracy and conscious listening to what is being played. Moreover, he talks about contrasting passages: some require more dancing character, while others need to be performed as a variation.
Frans Helmerson talks about the work as a whole - it is necessary to identify folk elements from every movement (rhythms, articulations, accents, etc.): sophistication without losing its popular character.
The vibrato is too intense for the sound of this piece (the required character is more tender). Indications about agogics: keep the same pulse and do not take breaks that do not exist. Bow technique: both hands must change their character at the same time, with a deeper bow (more contact) and projection in last notes. Specific corrections on fingerings.
In a movement such as this, an expressive person like the student must distance himself to avoid being too carried along (expressiveness is there by itself).
Digression about the work in general: it is like a Brothers Grimm's tale (it experiences mood swings, going from the nicest fairy tale to the cruelest nightmare).
In this masterclass, most of the indications and corrections are focused on the character and its technical implications, such as the character of the piece regarding the bowings.
There are other comments: explanations about expressiveness (do not relax the tension in the expressive passages) and syncopation -in ancient music it is anticipated (folk music comes from ancient traditions); general corrections on accents, contrasts of character and phrasing (responding to the excitement of the passage); double pitches, which require a breach from the previous music (two different worlds.
It is very advisable to enjoy the interchange between rotation harmonic and no harmonics pitches, as well as to remove the habit of lengthening the end of a line; vibrato must be kept until the next note.
The phrasing in this music is very fluent; it is compared with Apres un reve, Op. 7 . The character of Faure's music is like a dream.
Use of the bow: different bowings in specific passages; the start should not be done always at the frog, but also from the middle or from the upper part. Identification of passages where it not advisable to use too much bow. Bowings are similar to air; they should float without pulling too much. Attention to spiccato.
Use of the vibrato: the vibrato should not always have the same level, and neither is it necessary all the time. The professor explains the natural moments where is more advisable to breath, as singing.
Ivry Gitlis congratulates the student for her performance. He also talks about general issues, such as the tempo, phrasing, different voices and their importance; how to work and control the rubato, breathing, and harmony changes and how to practice them.
General indications are mentioned in this class: phrasing, dynamics, tempo, rhythm.
Ivry Gitlis explains how, when the piano part makes a diminuendo, the violin starts in piano. He also does some corrections about the bow: the professor allows the student to use his bow and talks about the characteristics of the student's. He does not need to use such a quantity of bow (not the whole bow), and rather should start the bowings in the middle part.
It is interesting to distinguish the different levels and to move through them. It is also important to control the body to avoid wasting energy. The work has a certain relation with one piece by Debussy. The professor and the student work on the character of a specific passage, animato, and on the highpoint of the movement that is followed by the anticlimax.
Although the student plays well, he could do better. Ivry Gitlis mentions several well-known violinists as an example.
Regarding the Introduction of the work, Gitlis advises to play the first note as pizzicato, since this piece should sound as if someone was walking. It must also be performed in tempo, but not metronomic: it can be done rubato. He later on gives some suggestions on bowings and bow distribution, sound, or metrics, inserting some musical anecdotes.
Gitlis explains that the parts that are repeated should not be played all the same, and rather be said differently, imagining some kind of echo. He later does some corrections on the phrasing and the distribution and quantity of bow.
Gitlis also advises that the sound should be more prepared and that the performance must be given with love -he mentions Shakespeare and Cervantes, more freely and feeling it: the student needs to free and relax her arm, using her body's own movement and natural weight. He finally adds a brief anecdote about Carl Flesch and adds that the character should be not so gentle or smooth.
Professor Kolja Blacher works with the student the first movement of Ysaye's Violin Sonata No. 4 , giving instructions about the speed of the vibrato depending on the nature of the passage, the bow's strokes, speed and changes taking into account the dynamics and character (more or less energetic), tension and double cords.
In the end, the professor gives the student some advice on how to train the vibrato: think about in which register may vibrate more or less, and which bowings need more or less energy, as well as the importance of training it slowly.
The professor congratulates the students and talks about the quality of the piece. On the other hand, it is necessary to improve some aspects, such as the correct tempo, the piano melody, syncopations, accuracy of the entrances, bow technique in strings, character in certain moments, trills, articulation, interpenetration among the instruments, and solo moments.
Regarding the first movement of Beethoven's Sonata No. 22 , Kocsis explains that the tempo must be slower and that the performer should play as if it was a Minuet.
The student is also given some dynamic advice, about the importance of identifying and highlighting the main melody and other harmonic issues. The professor also talks about the expression of the material and the character, and about how to rely on the pedal to achieve the proper length and articulation of the notes.
Overall, the professor explains that, musically speaking, the performance is correct, but as per the technique, the student should work on the position of the hands, keeping the distances without changing the position. There is a dichotomy: the melody must be emphasized but, at the same time, the notes must remain all equal.
The professor also talks about fingering, left hand, dynamics, sound balance, and attention to the main melody: a 'Perpetuum mobile' feeling. The student must also think about the harmony, avoid using the pedal too much, and, regarding the articulation, emphasize the dominant with a metric accent. To conclude, the professor advises the student to 'experiment' with his fingers and hands.
It is advisable 'not to think' during the performance. The class continues with general indications: agogics, tonality versus tonic, articulation of non legato, pedal changes, chords (resolutions and transitions), phrasing (the connection between notes), dynamics, attacks. The expression should be drier and the character drammatico. The student has to be careful with the last note of the triplets.
The class is focused on general indications about dynamics (crescendo and marcato), articulation in legato, tempo, agogics as the use of the ritardando, modulations and the difference between accompaniment and melody. The character must be more espressivo through the pressure and the tension of the fingers.
Miriam Fried works with the student some issues about tuning (the first finger is too high), the character of the movement, energy, phrasing, and fingerings. The pressure on the thumb should be released. The professor also focuses on the distribution, direction and quantity of the bow depending on the phrasing. The preparation of the sound is important, as well as the differentiation of the notes -whether they are active or passive- in a certain passage. If the student does not know how to explain what is going on in the music, he is not going to be able to do what he wants.
The professor also talks about harmonic, pressure, and articulation issues in certain musical phrases: scale 'in legato', attention to the harmonic progressions, contrasts, and others.
In this class, the professor explains how to show the melody and use less the pedal during the harmonic changes to avoid covering them. There are sections where the pedal is needed, but in others, there are different materials apart from the pedal than can also be used. It is also important to focus on the melody.
Kocsis mentions Prokofiev's orchestration with some examples and ponders aloud about the character, parts with new material, phrasing, tonality, sound and expression. He also talks about how there must be a balance between freedom and rigor.
In the end, the professor points out other aspects about different matters of the first movement of the Piano Sonata No. 6 , such as articulation, motifs, dynamics and tempo.