It is quite hard to be writing when so much is happening around us. Nevertheless, I think it is our solemn duty, as artists, musicians, creative content creators, to keep working ten times as hard as before so that our spirits may soar to new heights and help us face these critical times. My deepest, heartfelt, thoughts go to my Ukrainian friends who are now suffering something they did not cause, want, or provoke; at the same time, they go to my Russian friends who certainly did not want things to go this way. We are all humans, all members of the same, big, race, we are all brothers and sisters, and no reason, economical, ideological, political, no matter how deep, should ever be allowed to hurt each other in any way.
A few weeks ago I sent many updates to all of you as I happened to be able to put in the time needed to bake quite a few editions. This resulted in one e-mail for announcing each one of them, one for sending discount codes to those who had already purchased a matching product, one with discount codes for followers, … I am sure it may have happened that some of you received all three of those e-mails and were utterly confused, if not bothered or outraged. At a certain point, one day, I saw the followers count decrease, both here and on Twitter, and then I realised: we all receive such a load of junk in our inboxes every day, that we want it or not, that the last thing we need is for yet another one asking us to purchase his (granted: beautiful!) scores. We all want to keep our decisional power to buy something that we truly feel we require or deeply want to own, not something that was nauseatingly repeated upon us until we, exhausted, conceded. Any among you who know anything about marketing will tell me that I am going nuts, that marketing works only if you literally submerge your audience with ads, newsletters, offers, cross-messages. Yet, that is not what I will do, as that is not what I would want to receive myself.
From now onwards, regardless of how many products I release or update during a month, I will only send up to one newsletter per month. If you bought a product, and it gets updated during that month, you will receive an automatically generated e-mail from Gumroad, but you can opt out if you so wish (though, do not complain if you miss the update!). In the future, it may happen that, if you bought a product that belongs to a family of products, for example one of the three collections of Bréval’s Sonatas, you may receive an e-mail (a month or so after your purchase) suggesting that you may like one of the other collections. That will be a one-off message, and you will also be able to opt out if you so wish.
Lastly, I am no longer going to send this e-mail to all those who purchased one or more of my products anymore, but only to those who follow me. This decision came looking at how many of those who purchased something opted out of receiving updates in the last year or so, it’s more than 20%, a clear enough sign that I am doing something wrong. I will publish this on my website, on my Gumroad’s profile—both of which require someone to willingly go there and read it—, and will send it to my followers who, I hope, will be happy to read it.
Now, enough with this, let’s get on with the show!
The month of February has been an incredibly productive one, as it gave birth to three new shiny editions: Alfredo Piatti’s Pioggia d’Aprile, for cello and piano, David Popper’s As in the Old Days, in my personal arrangement for two cellos, and J. J. F. Dotzauer’s Twelve Different Pieces, Op. 58, for two cellos. Let’s look at them.
You have possibly seen it from many pages dedicated to the cello that 2022 is Alfredo Piatti’s 200th birthday. This edition I have just released is just the first of many planned during this year (though I will not stop there), as his music deserves so much to be rediscovered.
Pioggia d’Aprile is a virtuosic composition, labelled “Capriccio” in the subtitle, and it confirms all the peculiarities of Piatti’s left-hand demanding technique. I am not saying that the required bow technique is easy, just that, at least in this piece, it is the last of our problems! Thumb position is obviously overused, and many times one needs to keep the position while lifting the thumb so that the open string can resonate.
This edition is an Urtext as it is based entirely on the composer’s manuscript, though a few clear errors had to be corrected. I have engraved this edition entirely on Dorico 4, a software that I am forcing myself to study and to keep at hands because it is becoming increasingly popular, even if no customer has yet asked me to use it over Sibelius.
Once more, you can find the score and part in a single purchase here, and just below you can see a sneak peek of the first page of the score.
I have also written a specific article about it, which I hope you will enjoy.
As in the Old Days
We all love David Popper, as his pieces are just so beautiful. The only downside is that they seldom teach you something you do not already require knowing how to do technically before you tackle them. Many teachers love to use Popper’s pieces and studies as pedagogical material, but I am not among them. There are quite a few other composers that fulfil this role beautifully (Dotzauer, Romberg, Lee, to cite the first three from the top of my mind), while Popper’s pieces should be played as repertoire, even if they are so apparently technical. The risk with using Popper as a technical exercise is caused by the so many exceptions to the ground cello technique that fill his compositions.
This brief introduction to confirm and underline my love for Popper’s music, but to warn you to be careful about the use you make of it with your students.
This edition takes the first of his most famous Three Pieces for Cello and Piano and creates a part for a second cello from the piano part. I have written extensively about the arrangement process in a dedicated article, which I suggest you read if you would like to know more about it. This arrangement was created for a school concert where one of my students had to play this piece; the pianist got sick one day before the concert, and thus this arrangement was born. I hope you will enjoy it as much as I have enjoyed creating and engraving it. You can find it here, while a sneak peek of the first page is available just below.
I am so happy I can finally reveal this to you that it almost moves me: for more than 2 years—starting from the publication of my first scales book—I have been researching, classifying, analysing Dotzauer’s music, and every day I would find more and more gems. Now that a clear path is in front of me, I can start to release them one by one, starting with a focus on cello duets. Why that, you may ask? Any cellist knows Dotzauer, but if you ask around, his reputation is mixed, and cellists either love him or hate him. This is due to his massive production of solo cello studies, which are omnipresent in school and conservatory programs. I, personally, find most of those studies at least nice to play and listen to, with very few exceptions, yet even among my students, there is this extreme polarisation, this love/hate relationship that doesn’t give justice to the man who Dotzauer was.
During my researches I found that while his solo cello studies production was massive (about 250 studies, of which only 113 made up the well-known collection), his cello duets production was even greater, surpassing the 350 units (and this is not counting the big compositions for two cellos, which I will take care of in due course). Three hundred and fifty duets! They provide a perfect material for the classroom and try to rectify the damage Klingenberg’s edition did to Dotzauer’s reputation. You may be shocked to learn that the most famous Cello Tutor by Dotzauer, compiled by Klingenberg, has very little original material by Dotzauer, at least not in the first book of the collection. The engraving is so cramped that those among my students who practiced it realised how they didn’t hate it any longer when a properly laid out version was available for them. As with all dark side users, there is still good in Mr. Klingenberg, and I will take good care of him in a future article.
My goal is to begin here with a complete revival and revaluation of the figure of Dotzauer as a composer, regularly releasing editions of his works. Today we start our journey with the Twelve Original Pieces for two cellos, dedicated to beginners, Op. 58. I have written a long and details preface to the edition, so I will not bother you here, but let me tell you that the most striking features of these duets, besides their beauty, is that the concept Dotzauer had of beginners may have been slightly different from what we have today.
The score is available for purchase in three versions: score only, parts only, and score and parts bundle. I hope you can enjoy it, and please share with me your impressions and your students feelings about these duets!
Below is a free preview of the second duet, a Fugue in D major for two cellos!
Metagrid Viewset for Sibelius
The first version of this new tool allowing users to control Sibelius on their computers from their iPad came one year ago, on February 25th. Now, coinciding with the release of the new version of the MetaGrid app, called MetaGrid Pro, I have realised a ported version that tries to keep the layout as similar as possible to the first edition, all the while being compatible to the new app. The old version is still available, and it will always remain such. If you have already purchased it, this new update is available for you free of charge. If you have not yet had the chance of trying it, I have now separated the purchases to allow those who exclusively use the new app to purchase only the new version. Both versions together are available as a bundle purchase at a small price increase, in case you have two iPads at home, one of which cannot run the new version of MetaGrid Pro due to iPadOS version limitations. Or, let’s face it, after paying 30 EUR for the first app, paying another 30 EUR for the new version may prove daunting to existing customers. I think that MetaGrid Pro is worth every penny, but I am not the one who should make this choice for you!
If you already own the viewset for Sibelius you can download the new version for free from your Gumroad account, while if you do not yet have it, you can find it here.
I was requested a document where teachers in conservatories would be able to access all my scores and products at a glance, instead of having to browse a website, or follow me on Facebook, or elsewhere, so I resolved to creating a catalogue. It is now updated to all my releases, and it also helped me make clarity of all the things that were already out. Most of the earliest ones didn’t have the promotional material set up in the proper format, so this was a great chance at cleaning things up.
You can find the catalogue for free at this link, stored on Adobe Document Cloud. Once you open it, you may notice that the score previews are a bit jagged and low quality; in the bottom right of the screen, simply select the cloud icon to download a PDF of it. I hope you will like it!
I am currently working on several projects that will hopefully see the light in the next weeks/months. I will leave you some hints, and you can try to guess what those are in the comments section below:
- I am blessed and come from a city built on water, who am I?
- I would be ancient this year, yet my music is always young
- I come from the land of Camelot, yet my whims are two-folded (this is a hard one!)
- They will learn to love me, and my music is dedicated to those who want to make progress in their craft!
And that’s it for this month! If you follow me, and received this in your e-mail inbox, you will find below a list of all my products with a 5% discount code already applied. If you don’t, please subscribe here, and you will get your personal codes in a few days.
As always, thank you for reading through this lengthy update, and let me know your thoughts, your suggestions, and your critiques, as I read and react to all of them.
I wish you all the best