Only a handful of cellists in the world have ever professionally recorded the 40 Etudes by David Popper. No doubt, the market appeal of pedagogical works contributed to this aversion, no less than their technical demands. Those few that were ultimately completed, while instructionally helpful to students and teachers, were not at all musically compelling.
This recording of the complete set of 40 Etudes was undertaken to present them, in contradistinction to those already done, as a faithful and engaging, dynamic and aesthetically coherent set of virtuoso performances that even casual listeners may enjoy.
I am amazed at how differently I would re-invent Popper's Etudes again today. Nevertheless, this album presents an accurate exposition of my interpretive decisions at the time. These capture more of the comical than the serious. Listeners with a sense of humor will best appreciate this undertaking and the playful witticism of my characterizations.
Music at Lonely Peaks Records
“A lonely peak of grandeur”—is the way one Bach biographer described the achievement of the six works for unaccompanied violin, and the words are well chosen. They represent an ultimate sophistication and difficulty. The extraordinary inventiveness with which Bach created his masterpieces not only stretched the capabilities of the instrument but also require from the performer endurance, concentration, and critical interpretative insight to shape the separate movements into a logical whole.
Lonely Peaks Records was organized with the fullness of that thought in mind. A good recording reveals a complex story. We look for honesty when we make a recording—what the instruments really sound like, presented with clarity and realism. We are more interested in placing the microphones where they need to be to hear inside the music and less interested in having our records sound like you are seated in the tenth row. Good recording technique will allow the recording artist to do his work, which is to reveal the multifaceted beauty that exists in the details of great music. We make great classical music recordings that usually feature the cello alone, or small ensemble chamber music, where there is more freedom to express oneself, more give and take between colleagues, more spontaneity and intimacy than are really ever possible in even the most successful orchestral recordings.
Recording can make music a much more cogent experience for the listener. The artist has more options and more choice in the performance that is captured. The listener benefits from microphone placement and always has the best seat in the house. Moreover, a wonderful performance isn't lost; it can be heard again and again. If your playback equipment is good, the experience can be overwhelming—heard properly at home, intimately, quietly, and reflectively. Good music is made for an individual's consideration and appreciation...to move the emotions well.