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Dvořák - Cello Concerto in B Minor

with Frans Helmerson

In this online cello masterclass, world-famous Frans Helmerson works on the deeply romantic first movement of Dvořák's great Cello Concerto.

Instrument Cello

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Level
intermediate
Course Length
2 lessons · 52m 03s

Swedish cellist Frans Helmerson was born in 1945 and began playing the cello at the age of eight . After studies in Gothenburg, Rome and London, followed by a debut in Stockholm, his solo career has taken him on countless tours all over Europe as well as the USA, Asia and Russia. He has performed with many of the finest orchestras under the baton of some of today's greatest conductors.

He is also renowned throughout the world as one of the great teachers of the cello. He holds professorships at the Musikhochschule in Cologne, where he is based, and at the Escuela Superior de Musica Reina Sohia in Madrid. A regular teacher at the Verbier Festival Academy, here he gives a masterclass on the first movement of Dvořák's great Cello Concerto.

Completed during the winter of 1895 while the composer was travelling in the USA, this concerto is the last ever written by Dvorák, and might be his most brilliant. Deeply Romantic, it stands out with a very rich melody, magnified by the cello's remarkably lyrical phrasing. In this first movement, the cello is as passionate as it is spirited and rebellious. A bit before finishing to compose this score, Josefina Kaunikova, sister-in-law, former student and childhood sweetheart of the composer, died. Many years later, Dvorák's son wrote that the end of the piece paid tribute to "the musician's last love". In this work, he also paid tribute to Tchaikovsky. To Johannes Brahms, the score is nothing but perfect: "Why on earth didn't I know one could write a cello concerto like this? If I'd only known, I'd have written one long ago!"

Student Sebastian Baverstam; accompanist: Catherine Edwards

In partnership with The Masterclass Media Foundation Archives, which provides a valuable educational resource in order to perpetuate musical passion and knowledge from one generation to another. [MMF009]


Lesson Plan

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Frans Helmerson

Swedish cellist Frans Helmerson was born in 1945 and began playing the cello at the age of 8. After studies in Goteborg, Rome and London, followed by a debut in Stockholm, his solo career has taken him on countless tours all over Europe as well as the USA, Asia and Russia. He has performed with many of the finest orchestras under the baton of some of today’s greatest conductors.

An important aspect of Frans Helmerson’s musicianship is chamber music, and he is a frequent guest at some of the most important European festivals. He is the artistic director of the Umeea-Korsholrn International Chamber Music Festivals in the north of Sweden and Finland.

Frans Helmerson works regularly with Scandinavian orchestras as a conductor. He also holds professorships at the Musikhochschule in Cologne, where he is based, and at the Escuela Superior de Musica Reina Sofia in Madrid.

Frans Helmerson’s recordings are available on the BIS label including his rendering of the Dvorak Concerto, hailed by critics as one of the finest recordings of the work. His recent recording for Chandos of the two Shostakovich Cello Concerti with the Russian State Symphony Capella, Valery Polyansky conducting, has received acclaim from music critics around the world.

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