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Tender fingers and fiendish octaves

 Hello! I’m George Hoult, and I’ll be coming to play the Dvorak Cello Concerto with the LGSO on the 21st of February. I’m really excited about this performance – this much-loved piece is revered by many as one of the great romantic cello works, so when the opportunity arose to come and perform it with the orchestra, I jumped at the chance.
For those who aren’t familiar with the piece, it is packed with sumptuous melodies and luscious harmonies, ranging from the most bold and ecstatic symphonic writing to moments of intimate and heartfelt tenderness. Dvorak wrote it in 1894-1895 when he was living in America, and it has often been said that one can hear him longing for his homeland in the yearning, nostalgic melodies. As it happens I’ve just returned from an orchestra tour of the USA, and I thought of this on a rare morning off enjoying the California sunshine… Whilst I can’t say I shared the same longing for my little flat in Leyton, poor Dvorak felt like somewhat of a misfit in the states, and returned home to Bohemia shortly after the concerto’s premiere.

​One of the many things I love about this piece is Dvorak’s rich orchestral scoring. It is written for solo cello and full romantic symphony orchestra, and unlike in many other concertos where the orchestral accompaniment is secondary to a virtuosic solo part, this work features prominent orchestral parts throughout, so everyone gets to be part of the fun! Listen out for the gorgeous intertwining of the cello with solo woodwinds in the second movement, and with solo violin towards the end of the third. This is not to say that the solo part is a walk in the park… writing this blog is providing my tender fingers (and thumb) a welcome break from practising the fiendish octave passages!​Sandwiched in the concert between another of Dvorak’s great orchestral works, the Carnival Overture, and Mahler’s joyous Symphony No 4, this should be a really exciting concert.

​Now, back to those octaves…

(You can buy your tickets online here)

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