I played the Britten cello suites with a broken elbow

From a programme note by Alexander Ramm:

It was a long and at times rough way to the recording of this CD.

A few months before, in winter, I slipped and broke my left elbow. Every second I felt the pins that they inserted into my arm for six months, because Britten’s suites lack any simple bits so that there’s no chance to relax.

The composer’s text demands maximum technical concentration. Eventually, I overcame the discomfort in my left arm and the pricks from the pins stopped preventing me from the things I had to sort out, comprehend and accept in Britten’s thoughts and feelings. I was aware I wouldn’t be the same after this communication with his great music.

The British composer dedicated all the suites to his friend Mstislav Rostropovich. But, if we apply the theory of handshakes, it looks like I’m in Brittens warm musical circle. I was lucky to start to grasp his music in the class of Professor Natalia Nikolayevna Shakhovskaya, one of the Rostropovich’s favourite students. I dedicate this disc to the memory of my dear professor. Natalia Nikolayevna introduced me to a mysterious and expressive musical world filled with drama, complicated moods and feelings, the world of one of the greatest twentieth century composers. This world thrills me and doesn’t let me go.

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  • Patient, after getting surgery on his arm: “Doctor, when this heals, will I be able to play the violin?

    Doctor: “Sure!”

    Patient: “You’re a wonderful doctor. I’ve never been able to play the violin!”

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