Giv­ing Bach to the peo­ple

Western Suburbs Weekly - - Music - Sara Fitz­patrick

PEO­PLE are drawn to mu­sic as a pro­fes­sion for dif­fer­ent rea­sons.

Ac­com­plished Perth cel­list Michael Gold­schlager says the sil­li­est in­cen­tive is to make a living.

A more palat­able mo­ti­va­tion is to revel in the joy of in­ter­act­ing with an au­di­ence – but that does not drive him ei­ther.

In­stead, Gold­schlager sees his role as a con­duit for en­light­en­ing peo­ple on the works of the great mu­si­cians. With his up­com­ing con­cert, that cel­e­brated mae­stro is Jo­hann Se­bas­tian Bach.

“The ge­nius was Bach – my job is to get it into th­ese peo­ple’s hearts, into their ears and con­scious­ness,” Gold­schlager said.

“I am only a ve­hi­cle and there are other ve­hi­cles out there and there will be more when I’m gone and so on.”

The New York-born muso will present The Bach Cello Suites this month in con­certs pre­sented by The String Co-op.

“This is an un­usual event. The fact that I’m a one-man band means that I’m cer­tainly the most af­ford­able en­sem­ble any­one can get,” Gold­schlager said.

“Peo­ple have been lis­ten­ing to me play­ing th­ese things over the ra­dio for a cou­ple of years and there’s a rea­son why you don’t get too many peo­ple do­ing it live.

“Tech­ni­cally they are damn hard. In or­der to al­low an au­di­ence to sit back and re­ally en­joy them you have to be in the phys­i­cal con­di­tion of an elite ath­lete.

“I prac­tise six hours a day, ev­ery day – and I know how to play the cello. There is just so much de­tail and that is also the joy of it.”

Gold­schlager picked up the string in­stru­ment when he was seven and re­vealed a tal­ent al­most im­me­di­ately.

“In those days in the States ev­ery child was of­fered a mu­si­cal in­stru­ment as part of pri­mary ed­u­ca­tion. I came home with the se­lec­tion sheet and my dad, a jazz trum­pet player, was read­ing The New York Times in his chair, and I said: ‘Dad, what should I play?’,” he said.

“He didn’t even look up; just from be­hind the pa­per he said ‘cello’.

“Later on I asked him why he picked it and he said he just wanted to hear the cello in the house.

“I was built to play the cello – I have the world’s largest hands and they were just hang­ing from lit­tle arms in those days. It’s an in­ter­est­ing in­stru­ment; you don’t have to be big to play it but there are ad­van­tages if you are as it cre­ates dif­fer­ent pos­si­bil­i­ties.”

Pic­ture: An­drew Ritchie www.com­mu­ni­typix.com.au d438507

Cel­list Michael Gold­schlager.

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