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HOPE BREAKING THROUGH

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Alban Gerhardt plays Bach
at Munich's 'Long Night of Music',
and has a late night chat
with TESS CREBBIN

 

A few months ago, world-renowned cellist Alban Gerhardt played the Bach solo cello suite No 6 at the funeral of his mother who passed away, all too young, of Lou Gehrig's disease. 'It was very sad, and I am still sad, of course,' Gerhardt says, 'but I haven't broken down yet. It is my cello that pulls me through what is a very hard time right now. I don't think it is a lie when I say that the cello is functioning as a psychiatrist. Cello music heals, whether you play it or listen to it.'

He may have a point. Pablo Casals, after all, reportedly said that he played Bach on his beautiful sounding Gofriller cello every morning to 'cleanse his soul'.

Alban Gerhardt plays Bach at Munich's Long Night of Music festival. Photo © 2008 Frank Langbein
Alban Gerhardt plays Bach at Munich's Long Night of Music festival. Photo © 2008 Frank Langbein

Now, on the last day of May 2008, Gerhardt was in Munich, performing during what is known as the 'Long Night of Music', an annual festival of music, classical and contemporary, at various venues throughout the city, performed throughout the night until 5am. When he had finished playing the third movement of Kodály's solo cello sonata, Op 8, the audience did not want to let him go. They called for an encore, and Gerhardt complied: with the prelude of the sixth cello suite of Bach -- played from memory to near-perfection at the wee hour of 11.45pm.

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Copyright © 14 June 2008 Tess Crebbin, Munich, Germany

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