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The legacy of Pablo Casals is alive and well in the cello playing of today – and can be traced primarily to the methods of his colleague Diran Alexanian and favourite student Maurice Eisenberg. Oskar Falta explores the Catalonian cellist’s main vibrato theories, as communicated by his two important associates

Pablo Casals’s musicality and revolutionary way of playing are regarded as milestones in the development of modern cello technique and performance practice. Being a performer, a conductor and a political activist, Casals had little time left for teaching. Nevertheless, a few select students had the good fortune of studying with him privately or through his masterclasses. Probably his most signi cant pedagogical contribution took place at the École Normale de Musique in Paris, which – together with his chamber music colleagues the pianist (and school co-founder) Alfred Cortot and the violinist Jacques . ibaud – he had an important role in setting up in 1919, and which he visited every summer to give lectures and masterclasses.

Although he never published his own teaching principles, Casals encouraged the conception of two cello methods, both of which he prefaced: Diran Alexanian's Traité théorique et pratique du violoncelle ( 1922) and Maurice Eiscnbcrg’s Cello Playing of Today (1957). Because these two authors were dose to Casals on both a professional and a personal level - Alexanian (1881-1954) wasCasals's trusted colleague, and Eiscnhcrg (1900-72) his favourite student - their treatises represent the most comprehensive compilation of his teaching legacy.

Alexanian's portrayal of vibrato stems to a certain octcnt from the ideas of Casals in his younger years, whereas Eiscn berg's method, published 35 years later, captures a more crystallised form of Casals's thoughts on vibrato, endorsed by the experience of his long career. What’s more, unlike Alexanian (who never studied with Casals), Eiscnhcrg had the good fortune of being Casals's lifdong apprentice, with constant access to his knowledge.

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About The Strad

We explore the life of viola pedagogue Karen Tuttle and investigate the potential for Chinese tonewood. Augustin Hadelich takes us through Beethoven’s Violin Concerto in Masterclass and we examine Pablo Casals’s approach to vibrato. Plus Leonidas Kavakos’s Sentimental Work