PEOPLE

Claire Thirion

Thursday, 19 December 2013

The cellist of the Chiaroscuro Quartet tells us about a week in her life

I fly to Stockholm to meet up with the quartet. We have three days of rehearsal and it is very intensive, focused work

Monday Today is the last day of editing for the quartet’s latest CD. I spend the day at our sound engineer’s place to make the very last corrections. It’s a long process as we both listen to all the takes: it takes real alchemy to finalise everything, as each take has got something different.

Tuesday I drop my daughter at the crèche and go home to practise my Baroque cello before a rehearsal with the period-performance group Ensemble Stravaganza. Later, I pick up a classical bow by Nicolas Léonard Tourte that I would like to try. It is a Cramer model, which I could use in the quartet depending on the repertoire.

Wednesday I fly to Stockholm in Sweden to meet up with the other members of the quartet. We have three days of rehearsal and it is very intensive, focused work. We are preparing Beethoven’s op.18 no.4 and Mendelssohn’s op.13 for the ‘Festival de Pâques’ in Aix-en-Provence, France.
Thursday We discuss vibrato in Mendelssohn’s quartets, as well as Beethoven’s use of sforzando and how it reflects the transition from Classical to Romantic style. Working with gut strings and classical bows allows us to find flexibility in articulation and sound.

Friday The Léonard Tourte bow seems like an interesting choice for the Beethoven, as the strokes can be done closer to the tip and it appears easier to get precise articulations and a nice legato.

Saturday I am back in France, and going to Port-Royal-des-Champs, about 30 miles from Paris. The quartet has had a residency there for the past six years, but I am there to play in a tribute concert for a late friend.

Sunday I start the day by changing the gut strings on my Carlo Tononi cello to metal ones. My next concert will be with my pianist, Karine Sélo, in a programme of modern music, including a sonata and encore composed by Jérôme Ducros.

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