Giving Bach to the people
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.”
Cellist Michael Goldschlager.