As both a singer and a cellist, I have had the good fortune over the years to have sung many times the soprano solo part of Villa-Lobos’s sublime Bachianas Brasileiras No 5, and to have played each of the eight different parts that make up the cello ‘orchestra’. My first time performing the piece, as eighth cello, was aged 17 at the Wigmore Hall in London with a great line-up of cellists led by Christopher Bunting. Performances as soprano soloist have taken me all round the UK with many different cello octets. Who could ask for more?!
Well, I have often wondered about multi-tracking all nine parts for a recording, though to be honest, I much prefer the interaction that takes place between us all in live performances. I am looking forward to our live performance of the Bachianas Brasileiras No 5 this summer with cellists participating in Week 3 of Cellos at Belle Serre This time I’ll be taking more of a back seat, as it were, directing from the cello (I rather fancy playing that eighth cello part again!), and I’m very pleased to welcome Isabelle Fabre as our soprano soloist.
Isabelle and I are no strangers on stage together – two years ago, we gave the première of Prisme, a work for soprano, cello and orchestra, composed for us by Pierre Caner, who also conducted the Ensemble Orchestral du Tarn.
Isabelle Fabre, Lowri Blake and Pierre Caner with the Ensemble Orchestral du Tarn
Here’s a taster of the Bachianas Brasileiras No 5 sung by the singer who inspired me all those years ago to learn and to perform this amazing and original work, Victoria de Los Angeles.
Places on the three summer courses at Belle Serre are filling up fast, with just a few places remaining for Week 1, so do reserve your place for one of the three weeks as soon as possible.
Highlights of the summer course weeks include –
Week 1: The Albany Piano Trio are in residence, coaching chamber music and performing trios by Dvorak, Haydn and Debussy.
Castres hosts a fine classical chamber music festival A Portée de Rue, to which we will be going to hear top international musicians performing in various beautiful and intimate locations in the town centre.
Pierre Caner exchanges his conducting ‘baguette’ for a baguette de pain, as our superb chef de cuisine this week – incontournable, don’t miss out!
Week 2: Superb Dutch cellist Willemijn Knödler is a hugely popular performer and teacher at Cellos at Belle Serre. She will be performing Kodaly’s monumental Sonata for solo cello and taking the ever-popular diagnostic Cello Clinic.
Chamber music is led by another much-loved coach and superb performer, clarinettist Mark Lacey. And who else but the inimitable Camille Galinier as our excellent pianist for the week!
Our Baroque Day will be led by viola da gamba player Lucy Robinson and harpsichordist Andrew Wilson- Dickson. This is your chance to try out viol playing and consort music, and to work on baroque cello sonatas and the art of continuo playing.
Bob and Richard are also no strangers to Team Belle Serre, coming to cook their stunning dishes once again for us in Week 2.
Week 3: Willemijn Knödler continues her Cello Clinic this week, and leads our cello orchestra in Villa-Lobos’s wonderful Bachianas Brasileiras No.5. Don’t miss this opportunity to perform the Bachianas with soprano Isabelle Fabre – the concert takes place at the Conservatoire de Musique et de Danse du Tarn at 18.00 on Monday 11th August – be there!
Andrew Wilson-Dickson is our pianist and harpsichordist for the week – it’s a rare treat for us ‘modern’ cellists to have the opportunity to immerse ourselves in both classical and baroque repertoire for a week of intensive study in both disciplines. And, we have another chance to try out those viols with Lucy Robinson!
And hot from the kitchens beside the track at La Mans, Bob and Rob return to cook for us – after cooking for forty plus guests at Le Mans, it will be small fry for them here, but no flash in the pan!
Come on down to Castres this summer and immerse yourself in a feast of all things cello.See you there!
Full booking details: www.cellosatbelleserre.com
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