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Saying no to Yo-Yo,
by Classical Music Agony Aunt ALICE McVEIGH

Dear Alice,
I enjoyed your scathing review of the Ma biography. Personally, I have been amazed by Ma's playing for years. His repertoire is incredible; he has produced some fifty CDs!!! I particularly like his Jobim pieces and his improvisation.
Bob Jordahl

Dear Bob,

Yes, so have I -- though I can't say I've heard him play Jobim, or indeed any of his off-beat, jazzy, bluesy, or world music. For my money, he's the best -- concerto for concerto -- cellist in the world at the moment ... so it saddens me to report with what a chill I received him when (at least 26 years ago) he condescended to show up at Blue Hill, Maine, where I was the unacknowledged youthful top cellist ...

How asinine is that???
I even remember saying to my then best friend Emmy: 'We don't need Yo-Yo Ma. Why's he bothering to show up, for a couple of days, anyway???'

In short, I was so full of myself that I couldn't see farther than my (long, elegant, slightly crooked, rather fascinating) nose!!!!!!!

Since which I have constantly lamented my stupidity and arrogance (which probabaly gave Y Y a good inward laugh, he being far too kind to affect to notice anything at the time). Anyway, I find myself constantly recommending the fluidity of his bowing technique and delicacy of his fingering, to pupil after pupil, which must be his revenge ...


Ask Alice

Dear Alice,
I am a violist suffering constantly from carpal tunnel syndrome. I understand that you have also had trouble with your wrists. How long were you unable to play for? And do you have any useful advice?
B Edwards, Calgary

Dear B Edwards,

You are indeed addressing the current world expert on this subject, as I've had BOTH my wrists operated on, over ten years ago, and may indeed have to submit to having the left one operated on for a second time any day now ... The jury is out (though the top expert believes the condition to have returned) on whether it might be a 100 to 1 chance of a carpal tunnel recurrence or something happening to the nerve in my neck.

(Either way, it hurts like hell.)

However, with ref to a first occurrence of this condition I am able to say, without fear or favor, that you should be operated upon without delay. If you do delay, there is quite an appalling chance that your fingers may close into a fist, never to be opened again. I don't wish to sound alarmist, but DO NOT mess with carpal tunnel. Bang on your doctor's door, see a specialist as soon as possible, and good luck!!!!!!


Copyright © 28 June 2007 Alice McVeigh, Kent UK

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