Naming names…or not

I went to a terrific concert last fall by the Lyra Baroque Orchestra, a group playing mostly baroque music on mostly original instruments. And there was the cellist, sawing away on a cello gripped firmly between her knees, because in the olden days there was no peg to rest on the floor.
I used to pay a lot of attention to this sort of music, and I tried to call to mind the name of the famous “original instruments” cellist whose Bach Suites recording I’d bought and played nearly to failure back around 1980 . Unfortunately, these days, calls upon memory often go unanswered.
But searching for those names roused up a memory of a dream afternoon when I was (illicitly) invited to a cello master class at Yale at which the famous Yale cello teacher and a much more famous cello virtuoso worked with students. Unfortunately, I couldn’t call up their names, either.

What was delivered instead were the names of 50s and 60s track coach Mihaly Igloi and the major league pitcher of roughly the same era, Moe Drabowski. So you can see where my mind is on the culture-sports continuum.

I eventually had to look up the real people I was trying to think of. Anner Bylsma is the cellist whose Suites I’ve got. Aldo Parisot continues (!!) to run the acclaimed cello program at Yale. And Janos Starker, who died in 2013, was the famous virtuoso who was also one of his generations great teachers. At the master class I sat in on, he gently but very definitely, told one of the Yalies who was struggling with Bach to go back to basics: “You’re really not ready to play this piece yet.”

Igloi would have told him to get up and run a few repeats.



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