Wispelwey: Loneliness of the long-distance cellist

Thu Jan 31, 2013 6:21am EST
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By Michael Roddy

LEIDEN, Netherlands (Reuters) - Dutch cellist Peter Wispelwey has recorded the haunting, delightful and soul-uplifting Bach Six Suites for Solo Cello three times and still he's not finished.

His next, he says, is his "Lost in Translation" version, referring to the Bill Murray movie about an actor coming to terms with an alien culture in Tokyo.

Wispelwey is doing the same, flying into the Japanese capital for recording sessions in the early morning hours.

When it is released, he wants to strew CDs of portions of the Bach suites around Tokyo for people to find them, he told Reuters over a three-course dinner served during intervals as he performed in this Dutch university town.

"That's my ideal," he said. "I want the Tokyo preludes, the Tokyo gigues, the Tokyo allemandes."

At this stage in his career, the 50-year-old Wispelwey who first fell in love with the cello's growling sound at the age of two while listening to an amateur quartet in which his father played violin, can be indulged.

Growing up in a small country at a time when it did not have much of an established conservatory tradition, he more or less is a self-made cellist, though he has had several of the world's best teachers, among them compatriot Anner Bylsma.

He made his name in the Netherlands by putting on recitals in his late teens of all the mainstream repertoire for solo cello, renting the hall himself, getting the tickets distributed and playing it all from memory.   Continued...