Marc Coppey, Matteo Goffriller, 1711


It is particularly thanks to Popper's Studies that I have bee able to explore the amount a cello is capable of producing . Ever since I was eleven years old, they have always been present in my universe.

These often very difficult pieces explore all the realm of the technique which a contemporary cellist is supposed to acquire; but to achieve this, Popper procceds very sweetly, as if he held our hand to convince us that we can dominate our instrument if we follow him in the often playful exploration he offers to us. Thanks to his great pedagogical qualities, he manages to make the biggest difficulties alluring.

  As a welle-read virtuoso, obviously following the examples of Chopin, Liszt, Brahms or Wagner rather than Paganini's, he helps us to develop a relationship with the cello which is based on a harmony which is never hampered by difficulties ; beyond the inertness of the instrument and the tensions of the interpreter, he manages to open the way to a world of blooming freedom.

The 21st Study is a perfect epitome of Popper's approach: it is expressive and sweetly melancholy ; it requires a perfect sound and legato in spite of the difficulties faced by the left hand, long bowings, frequent passages from one string to the other , a constant tone in spite of the many shifts and substitutions, an even playing throughout the compass of more than 5 octaves.

Étude no 21: Typique du Popper expressif, doucement mélancolique, elle nécessite une qualité sonore et un legato sans faille malgré les difficultés de main gauche, la longueur des archets et les nombreux changements de cordes, une maîtrise de l'intonation défiée par les nombreux déplacements et substitutions, une égalité de jeu dans tous les registres sur plus de cinq octaves.

The 36th Study
Being written in the more energetic and playful style of lively German romanticism, the 36th Study implies an important articulation of the left hand, the mastering of many shiftings between open strings and notes produced by the left hand, as well as constant changes of bowings due to rapid contrasts between legatos and staccatos.