Words + Pictures by Angela Cappetta
The cello is one of the most inconveniently beautiful instruments in the orchestra.
These pictures seek out the humanistic aspects of the cello. It is the only instrument which matches the range of the human voice. It sits between the legs and body as the player strokes it, prods it, hits it, not unlike a friend or dance partner. The cello takes the notion of musicianship to a level of physicality few instruments do.
Furthermore, being a pro cellist means “hauling your ax” everywhere. One cellist I met purchased a full fare, first class ticket, for her cello to sit with her on the plane, only to have it ejected into the cargo hold. All over the city, cellists strap to their backs and haul the hollow, fragile beasts to auditions, gigs, practices. Rostropovich said the relationship with a cello is ridiculously intimate because of the suffering it causes. He said in his best English: “Our life not so easy. Cello is heavy instrument, and our travels especially in aircraft give to us many, many difficulties. That’s why we suffer more than violin player or flute player. But because we suffer, is beautiful”.
Then when the player is alone with it, pure magic is made. A sonic campfire arises, sound comes forth and whispers of math, tone and craftsmanship intertwine. Bliss and frustration ensue; nirvana achieved.