Hello Reader, thank you for taking the time out of your day to peruse this Spotify mixtape!
When I was first approached to curate this selection, I found it difficult to find a cohesive theme for my picks. That was until I thought, rather than picking works that really impact me when I listen to them, how about I choose works that I’ve performed during my career so far, that have left a lasting impression? And so, this list took shape.
Hope you enjoy this eclectic collection!
These four works all came into my life during my studies at Sydney Conservatorium. Cassadó’s Requiebros was my party piece of choice; both Elena Kats-Chernin’s and Mendelssohn’s piano trios were my first real foray into the incredible world of chamber music, with a dedicated group of friends; and Stravinsky’s Firebird was my first orchestral work as section principal.
It was at this time that I solidified my passion for collaborative performances, from small chamber ensembles to full-sized orchestras.
This Beethoven movement is guaranteed to make me tear up every single time. There’s something both incredibly noble and sad about the opening passage, that melts into the glorious optimism of the middle section.
We cellists fortunately have some truly exquisite concertos in our repertoire; this Walton concerto is a lesser-known favourite of mine. This movement showcases the cello’s sultry, vocal-like qualities with bittersweet melodies.
A stark contrast follows with John Adams’ relentless Short Ride in a Fast Machine, which featured in one of my earliest performances with the Canberra Youth Orchestra. I vividly recall the palpable rush of adrenaline and energy onstage!
This arrangement of the Danish traditional O Fredrik, O Fredrik and the Scherzo: Vivace from Dohnányi’s Serenade share complex metric modulations, whilst being very stylistically contrasting: the former grounded in folk tune swing compared to the frenetic cross-rhythms of the latter.
Rounding out the mixtape are two quintessential cello works, the finale Rondo from Haydn’s Cello Concerto in D major and the finale Allegro Presto from Jean Barrière’s Sonata.
These specific recordings have a special significance to me; Christophe Coin’s interpretation of Haydn inspired me to compose my own cadenzas for both concerti, whilst this Barrière arrangement for cello and double bass duet inspired my fiancé, CSO double bassist Isabella Brown, and me to rearrange several of our favourite works to perform together.