under construction: complete dissertation will be posted when received

by Brinton Smith

More than half a century after Emanuel Feuermann's tragic early death, there still remains a strong consensus that he was a cellist without equal. His graceful, elegant playing shows both a warm, Kreislerian musicality and a fluid and facile command of the instrument that most cellists agree has never been approached since. Feuermann's revolutionary playing had a surprisingly limited impact on the generations of cellists that followed, however. His premature death prevented him from developing a group of students well versed in his craft, as Casals and Piatigorsky did, to relay his musical and technical ideas to future generations. The question this document pursues is how to gain insight into his technical and interpretive methods?

Following a brief introduction, the second chapter contains a detailed analysis of Feuermann's two commercially available recordings of the Dvorak concerto, which are contrasted with Dvorak recordings of Casals, Piatigorsky, Rostropovich and Yo-Yo Ma in order to better understand the specific differences that define Feuermann's playing. Chapter 3 examines Feuermann's performing edition of the Schumann concerto and contrasts it to three other editions of the same concerto by Joachim Stutschewsky, Leonard Rose and Heinrich Schiff. The details of Feuermann's choices of fingerings and bowings are observed and contrasted with those of the other editors. Chapter 4 is an analysis of the physical aspects of Feuermann's technique, observed in the one existing film of him performing. Observations are compared to those taken from filmed or videotaped performances of Casals, Piatigorsky, Rostropovich and Ma. General physical characteristics are discussed, in addition to detailed analysis of the mechanisms of the bow hand and arm, and those of the left hand, fingers and arm. Interviews with Feuermann students Suzette Forgues, Bernard Greenhouse, Mosa Havivi, Zara Nelsova, David Soyer and Feuermann's sister and accompanist, Sophie make up the final chapter of the document. The interviews focus on technical and musical issues.

** The remainder of the dissertation will be archived at http://cello.org/Newsletter/Articles/feuermann.htm **