Cello lesson in Amsterdam again today, trying to loosen up that bowing arm. It has a tendency to tense up trying to stop the bow from tipping over or falling altogether. Gravity, innit! Seán Bergin put me in touch with Harald Austbø, a cellist and improviser who lives in Amsterdam.
He’s a student of Ernst Reijsiger, the composer and cellist who’s written music for a good few of Werner Herzog’s films (including “Wide Blue Yonder” and “Cave of Forgotten Dreams”). Beeeyyooootiful!
In the course of the lesson, talk of portability came up. I started playing the cello eight years ago for many reasons, but its portability (compared to a piano anyway) was one of them. Hundreds of bus journeys later -“Would you not play the tin-whistle?”; “I’d say you have some trouble getting that under your chin!”, cue gales of laughter – I realise it’s maybe not the most portable.
Still and all, hats off to those who try. Here’s Harald on mini-cello with the Bakfiets Band. This clip from a concert of Werner Herzog film music is beautiful, and round 8 minutes in you can see Ernst Reijsiger playing the cello standing up. Apparently he walks around with it sometimes too.
And, a bit less successfully by Woody Allen in “Take the money and run”.
The brilliant Herv released “Portable Music, Vol. 1” last year, made with Nintendo DS, Korg Monontron and (I think) an Ipad – a practical solution to having a very long bus commute to and from work. Get that show on the road, as they say!