The cello in Hollywood: a compilation

The cello in Hollywood: a compilation


norman lebrecht

December 13, 2020

‘I thought you weren’t interested in me…’

‘That’s before I saw that wonderful piece of wood between your legs.’

Name the movies.



  • Bill says:

    I love that YT suggests I should next watch John Williams with the VPO!

  • caranome says:

    A rehearsal is going badly. Everything section is off, and everyone is getting testy. Then it got to the cello section, lead by a woman. After the 5th correction in a passage, the conductor explodes, “dahling, you’ve got somesing between your legs that can cause joy to millions, and all you do is scratch it.”

    • Pianofortissimo says:

      Bad old joke.

      • David K. Nelson says:

        Versions of that joke have been told as a supposedly true story, with various conductors’ names (and cellists) names utilized. The most common name I have heard is Fritz Reiner and the cellist Raya Garbousova, but sometimes it is Beecham and May Mukle. The harsh rudeness of it is believable for both conductors, but the surviving recordings suggest it is a slander on the cellists.

  • Craig says:

    It was my first year of college when Witches of Eastwick came out. I went to see it with a cello major, the cello prof, and a couple of other music majors. We were all quite shocked by THE cello scene. The cello prof quietly exclaimed, “I will never think of Dvorak the same way again.” LOL and neither have I! Fun compilation.

    • Marcellus says:

      The cellist who played the Dvorak on the soundtrack was the wonderful Ronald Leonard, then principal cello of the LA Philharmonic.

  • NYMike says:

    The cellist on the soundtrack of Paul Henried’s movie was Hollywood Quartet’s Eleanor Slatkin.

  • Greg Bottini says:

    My all-time favorite movie featuring classical music is “A Night at the Opera” with the Marx Brothers.

  • Reed Perkins says:

    That’s a fine and entertaining montage but, really, how can you title a post “The Cello in Hollywood” and not feature the excellent Eleanor Aller (Slatkin) of the Hollywood Quartet? Great musician in a memorable ensemble.

  • William says:

    Who can name all the movies?

  • Clefwalker says:

    This cellist played over the character in a number of films and was known in NYC as the go-to for cello film history. As far as I know, he’s still alive at 90…

  • M2N2K says:

    The principal conductor of a small chamber orchestra in 1970s liked to criticize its all-female cello section by saying: “Do you think the wider you spread your legs the better it sounds?!”. Awfully tasteless, but surprisingly (or not), it did improve their playing sometimes.