Day 8: Marty's blog

Greetings from Hamburg airport where we have just arrived after a very enjoyable trip over night in the train from Vienna. We ended up receiving a cabin for just the three of us, with our own private shower and bathroom. We all agreed that sometimes this crazy lifestyle, has it’s perks.

Well it has been a mad 12 hours. We had a concert last night in the Joseph Haydn hall at the University of Music, where we have been having daily instruction and lessons as part of the European Chamber Music Academy. We performed Beethoven trio op.1/1 which was our very first performance of this great work.

We had worked hard during on the week with numerous professors on the piece and we felt that last night’s concert went as well as could have been expected. Although the performance wasn’t without drama. With any performance comes a certain amount of uncertainty and risk. While the nature of each instrument, presents it’s own obsticles to be overcome, nothing inspires fear into a cellist’s soul as much as the dreaded “spike slip” or even worse the “extended” cello slip. It was the latter which reared it’s ugly head during last night’s performance. What makes it worse, is the silent struggle a cellist has to go through in order to rectify thissituation which is usually progressively getting worse and usually not at a good time of the piece.

Take last night’s concert for instance. The nature of early Beethoven requires little extraneous virtuosity for the cello. Instead, the cellist spends most of their time helping emphasise harmonic and rhythmic interest. So there I was. Happily contributing to the ensemble, helping Ben and Emma shape their lines when suddenly the first slip. The beginning is always the most shocking as usually it is only a few millimetres or so. Hardly enough to notice. There I was thinking “surely not…. Maybe just a passing bus..” then comes the second slip. Slightly more violent in nature. And of course in the quietest part of the piece so far..What that ensued was a silent struggle between musican and instrument, the instrument being the unfortunate winner in the end.

Cello 1: Me 0

After walking off stage, we were then thrown into a whirlwind of hyperactivity involving costume change, luggage collection, a mad taxi ride across the city and diving into a train bound for Berlin.