Master class

Frans Helmerson teaches Dvořák: Cello Concerto in B minor

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Frans Helmerson — Teacher, cellist

Sebastien Bäverstam — Cellist (Student)

Catherine Edwards — Pianist

Program notes

Frans Helmerson gives a masterclass on one of the most Romantic works ever composed for cello: Dvorák's Cello Concerto in B Minor

Born in 1945, Swedish cellist Frans Helmerson started to learn the cello at the age of 8. After his studies at Göteborg, Rome and London, he toured with the greatest conductors in Europe, in the USA, in Asia and Russia. He also regularly conducts prestigious Scandinavian ensembles.

Known worldwide as one of the best cello teachers, he teaches at the Musikhochschule in Cologne, where he currently lives, but also at the Escuela Superior de Música Reina Sofía in Madrid and at the Verbier Festival Academy, where he gave this masterclass on the first movement of the Cello Concerto in B Minor, Op. 104, B. 191 by Antonín Dvorák.

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!"

The Masterclass Media Foundation Archives offer to students and music lovers around the world filmed masterclasses, given by the best talents, on the greatest works of the classical repertoire. Their primary purpose is to provide a valuable educational resource in order to perpetuate passion and knowledge from one generation to another.

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