Summer arrangements and cello cool…

Arrangements are well under way for the summer cello masterclasses at Belle Serre – not simply the course planning and bookings arrangements to oversee, but there are the cello ensembles for each of the three week-long courses to choose and parts to send out to every player. Although there’s now a wealth of original music for cello ensembles big and small, (Villa Lobos, Klengel, Casals, to name just a few who composed for cellos) there are also many exciting other masterpieces that are being superbly arranged for orchestras of cellos.

One of this summer’s arrangements is Patsy Gritton’s cello orchestration of Rachmaninov’s commanding Second Suite for two pianos, Op 17. With subtle shades of his cello and piano sonata Op.19 (written shortly after the suite) to be heard in the first movement, this full-throttle piece works wonderfully well played by cellos. Here’s a taster in the original version for two pianos : a majestic and glittering performance played by Martha Argerich and Nelson Freire.

Patsy Gritton’s arrangement of César Franck’s Chorale from his Prelude, Chorale and Fugue for piano with its mouth-wateringly juicy harmonies is magical, and we hope to conjure up some of that magic this summer.

James Barralet’s arrangement of Barber’s sublime Adagio is sheer heaven too. Check his version out here played by The 4 Cellists.

James has quite a collection of cello ensemble arrangements up his sleeve – and available on his site

Just to show everything’s eminently possible, here’s a savvy, cool shades number to finish my post – James’s Mission Impossible……played by The 4 Cellists:

So, pack those shades in your cello case for a week of cello cool and summer heat at Belle Serre – see you all soon!

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