Distracted Cellist

On a Quest to Focus

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About Clara Schumann (II)

Welcome back to another episode – I mean, blog post about Clara Schumann! Last time, I talked in great detail about ‘The Girlhood of Clara Schumann’ written by Florence May (if you’d like a refresher of that, go ahead and click here). Today I’m going to look at a biography that was published more recently, and as such will offer us different insights. As I write, I’ll continually compare this book to Florence May’s – not to judge one over the other, but simply to offer a more nuanced picture. Strap in for another journey through Clara Schumann’s life!


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About Clara Schumann (I)

One of my resolutions for this year was not only to read more books (I managed a shameful four last year), but to read more books about female composers and musicians of the past. To ease myself into it, I decided to start with the more well-known ones, and out of a personal preference, I settled for Clara Schumann, née Wieck. From the outset I found myself wondering whether we would have remembered her at all, had she not been married to Robert Schumann, one of the Romantic greats. The two are now usually regarded as the most well-known lovers in the history of music, which is just as well for my purposes – it means that a fair number of books have been dedicated to Clara. During the last few months I’ve had the chance to read two biographies about her, which I would like to review and compare for your benefit! For the sake of keeping it short-ish, I’ll start with just one book here, then review the next one in a different post. As always, grab a drink and a comfy seat, and enjoy.


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Meeting Benjamin Zander

Before we start, I’d just like to address one point: I know that in my previous post, I said that I’d move away from topics that are quite general, or only relate to my own experience with and perspective on classical music. However, writing about more sensitive topics requires a lot of research, in order to craft sound arguments and thus do them justice. So for the sake of keeping the blog going on a semi-regular basis, I’ll be doing a number of more personal posts, while working on the more complicated ones in the background – I don’t want to mess it up, after all. So I hope you’ll enjoy a series of more reflective and personal essays, as I prepare the bigger articles that are on my mind.


Today, I would like to talk about what it was like to meet someone who more or less opened my eyes to viewing my profession, and role in this world, in a completely new light.
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Where I’m At

My dear readers!

It’s been a while, and for that, I’m truly sorry – especially for disappearing into a hiatus without saying a word. The first half of 2017 was completely taken over by my studies and finishing my degree, and the second half… well, that’s a little bit more complicated. Stick with me, if you would, because that is what today’s blog post is all about. I’ll take you through one of my most eventful years yet, and lay out what’s coming up next. However, for those of you who don’t have the time to spare right now, let me pre-emptively say: The blog is back.

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Classical Music is Weird Ep. 006 – What’s There To Study?


Do you have questions about classical music you would love to have answered? Get in touch! 😀


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In which we’re back after a long hiatus! And I answer a question that every hairdresser asks themselves when they insist on small talk with me: What does ‘studying music’ mean and entail?


💡 Edward Elgar: Variations on an Original Theme 💡

performed by the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra under Gennadi Roshdestvensky at the Royal Albert Hall, 2007

💡Alternative: performed by the Royal Albert Hall Orchestra under Edward Elgar himself, in 1926💡

Things Mentioned and Additional Reading

🎧 Classical Music Is Weird Ep 005 – Common Questions (I)

🎧 “Meet Me On The Corner” by Lindisfarne

🖼️ Hey, Mr Dreamseller! Where have you been? – artwork for my “Elementary Music Education” exam

🎧 J.S. Bach: Suite for Cello solo Nr. 4, Prélude – performed by yours truly!

🎧 Franz Schubert: Sonata in A minor “Arpeggione”, 1st movement – performed by moi! Piano: Ulrike Payer

🎧 Dmitri Shostakovitch: Concerto for Cello and Orchestra No. 1, 1st movement – performed by… me! Piano: Ulrike Payer

📰 MMus at the RNCM (description of the course and list of modules)

🎥 Distracted Cellist – my very own YouTube channel!

🎧 Edward Elgar: Pomp and Circumstance March No. 1 (Land of Hope and Glory) – performed by the BBC Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Jirí Belohlávek

📰 Elgar – His Music: Variation on an Original Theme – a list of who each variation depicts

📰 Cracking Elgar’s Enigma Code

📰 BBC Radio 3 – Elgar/ Enigma Variations – programme notes on the variations

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January Favourites

Happy new year everybody! I hope you all had a well-deserved break and managed to catch your breath, and are now ready to tackle 2017 with everything you’ve got. My distracted self is back at it again, and as promised, we’ll start this year off with January Favourites!

As ever, please do use headphones when you listen to my picks, as that enhances the listening experience immensely.


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🎄Christmas/New Year’s Break 🎆

Hello everyone!


I just wanted to let you all know that I’m taking a break over Christmas and New Year’s – I’m spending the time at home, and as such I think I’ll be a lot more inclined to eat cookies than to research essays and reviews, hahah. Fear not, this is of course only temporary. If all goes to plan, I’ll be back to regular posting on January 13th, with a list of January Favourites. The podcast as well is taking a break, of course; the next episode should be up on January 11th.


Until then, I hope you all have fantastic holidays, and a wonderful start to the new year! See you all in 2017! 🎆

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Film review: Mr. Holland’s Opus

Today, I would like to kick off a loose series of film reviews – to be specific, reviews of films in which music plays a major role. I’ll concentrate mostly on classical music, or classical traditions for now, since those tend to be niche films (as opposed to, say, High School Musical, Pitch Perfect and so on). Please remember that I am by no means a professional critic of anything; I’d just like to share my views on films that talk about something that’s near and dear to my heart.

Oh, and I’ll keep my reviews as spoiler-free as I can!

The first film I’ll be talking about is…

Mr. Holland’s Opus

Starring: Richard Dreyfuss, Glenne Headly, Jay Thomas

Director: Stephen Herek

Screenplay: Patrick Sheane Duncan

Music: Michael Kamen

Released: 19th January 1996 (USA)


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