Cello Duet No. 2 - Wolfgang Schindlocker
W. Schindlocker Cello Duet No. 2 - Full Piece Recording
Composer: Wolfgang Schindlocker (1789 -1864)
Not much online about Schindlocker. He has a small wikipedia entry in German which says he was born in Vienna and became first cellist at the chapel of Wurzburg at age 18. Eventually he apparently toured North America but there's no information about his activities there. IMSLP only has 5 compositions under his name, mostly cello works.
His artist bio on Sheet Music Direct says he was admired by Beethoven. (Also, they list his death year as 1853; imslp says 1864)
Date: 1817, per a blurb on the sheet music from Performer's Music.
Why this one:
I was looking for a cello duet to hone my mandocello skills. I picked Schhindlocker from the list basically at random and after looking through the scores, I landed on a set of 3 Adagios and Fugues*. I like fugues and thought it might be fun. These particular ones were short too, so it likely wouldn't be a months long endeavor like the Kreutzer quartet.
*Fugue: "a contrapuntal composition in which a short melody or phrase (the subject) is introduced by one part and successively taken up by others and developed by interweaving the parts."
Of the three Adagio and Fugue duets included in this score collection, I went with Duet 2 mainly because the fugue in Duet 1 was in 3/8 time and the fugue in Duet 2 was in the more straightforward 3/4. I'm never quite sure on tempos for 3/8 or 6/8 times. If I'm going off an Allegro = 120 BPM, is the pulse on the eighth note or the dotted quarter? The dotted quarter seems intellectually more correct, but in that case Duet 1 looked like it was going to be pretty fast and I wasn't super confident in my mandocello abilities. Duet 3 looked achievable but the Adagio was in Eb, which is kind of a crappy key for a string instrument.
In short, I went with Duet 2 because at first glance it looked easier.
Key: Adagio: G
The piece begins with a very short adagio in G major. There's a lot of accidentals* in it, particularly a lot of D#s, but to my ear they serve mainly to inject tension into the slow lines rather than indicate an actual key change.
*accidental - a marking that raises or lowers the written pitch to a note that isn't normally in the key signature the song is in. So, for example, in the key of C (which has no sharps or flats) a # next to a F note would tell the performer to play the pitch F sharp rather that F. Accidentals can be used to change the key of a section. If, say, all the F's in a section of the above example are notated as F#s it would suggest the key of that section had changed from C to G, which has an F# in it.
The fugue is in Em, the relative minor of G major. (i.e. same notes, but centered around a different tonic note). The main motif is established first in the Cello 2 (right speaker) and consists of an octave leap followed by a stair step ascending pattern then a stair step descent. Since it's a fugue, Cello 1 (left speaker) then picks up the motif, but up a fifth. The parts continue to dialog and weave in and out of each other for the rest of the piece.
I recorded the Cello 2 part (right speaker) first, as it kicks off the fugue and the Cello 1 (left speaker) doesn't come in for a few measures.
This was another LMP Express piece. I did both cello parts in the same recording session so I didn't get to practice the Cello 1 part along with the recording of the Cello 2; I didn't know what it would sound like all together. I was concerned about the Cello 1 part, as it was definitely tough and from just looking at the score I could tell from the way the parts interweaved that I'd have to count really carefully. I mentioned my apprehension to Mike and he said 'Just do what it says on the page, you'll be fine."
The Cello 1 was more difficult than the Cello 2, both in terms of actual playing and reading the music. Cello 1 spends more time above the staff than Cello 2, and all the ledger lines made figuring out the notes more difficult.
The Cello 1 part is more horizontal as well, meaning there was a lot of shifting up and down the neck throughout the piece as compared to Cello 2 which was mostly in first position. The long descending passages in Cello 1 were kind of an unfulfilling pain because not only did they require some tricky position shifts due to the instrument's size, but they also were kind of demoralizing as in the end they aren't even impressive or sound like they were all that hard to play.
I only did one full take of both parts and then we went through and touched up any flubs. All in all, I played pretty well that day.
Overall these were the most difficult cello parts I've done for this project.
The only real change I had to make to accommodate the mandocello was towards the end of Cello 2 where the score has a B that is held for 11 measures. On a cello you can sustain a note as long as you can bow it, and even a direction change on the bow can be made without really breaking that sustain. The mandocello just can't do that; the notes die very soon after you hit them so I had to break the long tie up into 6 discrete notes.
I made a small timing mistake in measure 8 of the piece in Cello 2 where I dragged behind the beat on an eighth note entrance. It is supposed to be simultaneous with some eighth notes in Cello 1, but you can hear that I came in just a hair too slowly. It would have been an easy fix but I didn't notice it until I got home, of course. Decided it wasn't worth going back and correct, though it does kind of bother me.
W. Schindlocker Cello Duet No. 2 - Fugue Quadrant Video (Excerpt)