29 July, 2008

Private Matter

cello collage

A few months ago, there was a weekend public art event held in private homes in Luebeck. The event is called PrivatArt, which translates as private art, or private matter, or private manner. Numerous homes opened their doors to the public so they could view art in various forms: e.g., painting, sculpture and music.

A dear friend and I attended at cello concert in a home that was also showing an exhibit of India inspired collages. The woman of the house performed the concert. She is, other than being a masterful cellist, also a grade school teacher. Thirty people or so squished into the small living room of their 17th century home, to hear her play old and new compositions.

It was a very personable affair. She explained the difference in music notation of old (leaves more to the artist’s interpretation) and new (detailed instructions telling exactly how to play the notes). Each notation form has its challenges, each piece its joys and frustrations. The cellist brought both the composers and their compositions close to her audience.

What surprised me most when I saw the cello played up close was how three-dimensional the bowing of the cello is. I had always presumed that bowing was similar to sawing, there being a back and forth, a long or short movement, but that is it. That is not it at all, for sawing is only a two-dimensional description. The third dimension occurs because the cellist can move the bow 90 degrees, from the side over across to the flat of the bow. On the side, all the hairs of the bow act as one taunt wire, and then on the flat side, each hair is acting practically as an individual, and thus creating another tonality of vibration in the cello’s strings. What magic!

Here is a video of Jacqueline Du Pré playing the cello, when she was young.

She and Yo Yo Ma were my inspirations when I was a teenager and young adult.

Luebeck is blessed to have so many artists living here. We are also blessed to have so many cultural events, like PrivatArt.

Next, is the Museum Night, where all true blue Luebeckers and visitors wander in and out of the museums and galleries looking at art exhibited and preformed of every form until mid-night. A few years ago, I had the pleasure of hearing an actor read Gunther Grass’ erotic poems to tango music and seeing three couples dancing tango to the poems. Once again, it was magical.


  1. Sounds like a wonderful event!

    Am rather partial to the cello as that's what my dad plays--and the bowing really is amazing to watch. But then, I'm a windy gal (flute) so it's also rather mysterious.

  2. What a delightful evening. Especially love this collage :)