Firstly, let offer my apologies for not sending updates in March. I was deeply sick, and I am starting to recover just now.
This hiatus also offered me the chance to think about the format of these updates. I have the feeling—backed by data—that these are not being read, so a change is needed. For a few months, I will experiment with a shorter format, with a hard cap at 5 minutes of reading time. You will tell me if this is better.
Now, let’s get started!
What have I been up to?
Since the beginning of February I have been intermittently ill—cold, cough, flu, you name it—and I have just completed a therapy to get back on my feet. I had to expect this, with all Igiene-related restrictions being lifted, but sure it was a big hit.
I’m also convinced that I have been 1% away from total burnout and mental shutdown. It was scary as hell, and it is only thanks to my girlfriend, who was always there, holding my hand, guiding me through the darkness, encouraging me to breathe, to believe light would finally break the clouds if you are reading this today.
What have I learned from this? Treasure good people around you, never bow down to corporate bullshit in your work, always—and only—put your health in the first place.
What am I doing? I started a mindfulness course, I’m taking a stroll every day, sleeping more, working less. Sounds obvious? Not until you do!
…treasuring positive things!
In November 2022, I tried to help a composer’s widow to create the score for a piece her late husband played in a concert. This was ultimately not possible, and yet she sent me a gift of a biography and a slipcase with his scores. I was sincerely moved by her kindness.
You all know how much I love Britten’s music, and watching the movie from 2001, “The Hidden Heart (Life of B. Britten & P. Pears)”, was moving. I suggest you watch it as well, it’s on YouTube.
I’ve gotten back to practicing cello somewhat regularly—3 days a week—, and it has been a blast! I just missed it so much, and the cello’s vibrations definitely helped me recover. What am I practicing? I am dividing my sessions into three parts:
- Three technical exercises taken from my personal book on technique1: one on open strings, one on scales/arpeggios, and one on finger exercises.
- Play-through of an upcoming ASE publication
- A study/caprice or repertoire piece I would like to learn
The greatest people stay humble!
I was honoured, on March 15th, to meet cello star Sol Gabetta after her cello & piano recital in Turin. Her partner—luthier Balthazar Soulier—worked for the Cappa Festival almost a decade ago, and was so kind to put us in touch. She is just the most smiling, humble, and open person ever, something one could not expect from a world-renowned artist. Besides, she speaks a flawless Italian, and was delighted with the chocolates we brought!
What am I working on?
This is progressing steadily. We’re almost done with the full score; next will be the vocal score, and then parts. Soft deadline: May 1st. It will be a funny month!
When this is over, I’ve already planned a series of blog articles on how to engrave an opera, with practical examples in Sibelius and Dorico. This one is using Sibelius, but I am quickly getting tired of its shortcomings and lack of updates for professional engravers.
One of the things that tunnelled through the path to burnout was a customer who started to complain about the quality of my work. They didn’t complain about it being too low, rather too high, and thus, too expensive! They openly asked me to “do less!”. I do not like where the market is going, but it seems all I can do is to take refuge in my editions.
A few more commissions are scheduled for April, a string quintet and a voice and orchestra song set, so I will need the help of my girlfriend to complete all this. She has just completed the “100 Days of Sibelius” program that I’ve created just for her, and her level is astonishing.
On Monday, April 3rd, I will hold a notation lesson in front of the composition class of Prof. Kareem Roustom at TUFTS University, Boston. If this proves successful, I will possibly make a video Keynote about it.
Printing & Editions updates
New physical products
During February and March, several editions have been printed and are now available in physical copy, in worldwide shipping, at our exclusive dealer, HNE Rights from Vienna. Joining Boccherini’s new Sonata in B-flat major are:
- Piatti, Alfredo — Capriccio n° 7, Op. 25, for cello solo, with piano accompaniment by the composer
- Kummer, Friedrich August — Eight Grand Studies, Op. 44, for two cellos
- Dotzauer, J. J. F. — Twelve Pieces, Op. 52
I’ve just received the proof for Dotzauer’s Op. 32, the Russian Air, so you can expect it to become available by the end of the month.
In February, only Piatti Op. 25/7 was updated, while in March, I released Dotzauer’s Op. 12 (digitally). Another edition was ready, I just had to press the “publish” button, and then I stopped because something incredible, unexpected, and wonderful happened. This edition has thus been slated for April, at least, but I’m sure it will be worthy!
Beside this, I’m working on the revised edition of Dotzauer’s Op. 58, Marcello’s Sonatas for Two Cellos (we’re finally almost there), and a Bach Suite arrangement.
It has been a joy to talk to librarians and curators while preparing these editions the last two months. I just love researching and going to the bottom of things. It makes me feel alive, and contrasts the frustration of having to “do worse” for some customers.
I believe that’s it, and I managed to stay under 5 minutes.
All my editions can be browsed here in the catalogue, while on my YouTube channel you can watch the rendition of some of them.
If you would like to follow me more regularly, feel free to join my mailing list here. If you want to actively support what I do, be sure to check out my Gumroad Support Program, it would make a world of difference, and it would greatly reward you while doing it.
Thank you for reading through all this, I sincerely hope that you found something useful in it.
Until next time.
- still unpublished, please let me know if this is something you would be interested in. ↩