William Pleeth
Foreword by Jacqueline du Pré
Introduction by Yehudi Menuhin

This introduction to the cello and cello playing is by an outstanding recitalist, soloist and teacher of international repute. Based on his lifetime of playing and teaching, Pleeth explores all aspects of this wonderful instrument.







This volume is an introduction to cello playing by an outstanding recitalist, soloist and teacher of international repute whose natural wish – as a teacher – would be to sing, play and demonstrate what he means. Devoted pupil, Nona Pyron, herself a figure of some authority in the world of the cello, has guided and marshalled William Pleeth’s brilliantly perceptive advice – based on his lifetime’s playing and teaching – into the confines of this valuable book.


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About the Author

William Pleeth was one of the greatest cellists and pedagogues of the 20th Century. Born to a family of professional musicians, he showed great promise at an early age and became a pupil of Herbert Walenn at the London Cello School at the age of ten. He studied for two years with Klengel at Leipzig on a scholarship – the youngest student ever admitted to that programme – and by the time he was 15, he had learnt the Bach Suites, the Piatti Caprices and 32 concertos. He began teaching at the Menuhin School in 1977.


Introduction by Yehudi Menuhin
Foreword by Jacqueline de Pré
Part One: The Philosophy of Playing the Cello
1. Techniques in Perspective
2. Completeness in Practising
3. Right Attitudes towards the Study Book
4. On the Life of the Left Hand
5. The Marriage between the Left and Right Hands
6. The Craft of the Bow
7. The Limitation of technique through the Comfort of Habit
8. Bowings and Musical shape
9. The Architecture of Music
10. The Ingredients of Architecture
11. The Unbroken Circle of Imagination and Receiving
12. Ensemble Playing
13. Playing with Piano
14. Some Thoughts on the Performance of Seventeenth- and Eighteenth-Century Music
Part Two: The Basic Techniques of the Cello
1. Holding the Cello
2. Bow Command
3. The Playing Position of the Left Hand
Part Three: Teachers and Parents
1. Attitudes towards Teaching
2. Developing Naturalness from the Start
3. Teaching the Basics of Technique
4. Practising in the Early Stages
5. Assessing and Guiding Talent
6. Parents Beware!
Part Four: The History and Repertoire of the Cello
1. An Introduction to the History of the Cello by Nona Pyron
2. The Repertoire of the Cello
3. List of Lesser Known Works


Within these pages, William Pleeth deals with the complex relationships between player and instrument, and the ‘architecture’ of the music that provides the structure to guide the musician’s imagination. He also shares insights into letting the cello speak for itself at the composer’s bidding, in a voice appropriate to its musical context. A tutorial chapter is also included, as well as a personal account of the wide repertoire of the cello. This remains a comprehensive guide to the instrument for players and non-players alike.
The Strad

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