Joyce Geeting, on Cello, Performs the Kodaly Solo Sonata on her 220-year old Cello at Cal Lutheran University.

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Brad Butler
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Joyce, World Class Cellist and author of Janos Starker: King of Cellists, performin the Kodaoly Solo Sonata, written by Zoltan Kodaily and considered one of the most difficult cello pieces to play. It made Janos Starker, Joyce Geeting's teacher and mentor, famous as a teenage protege in Hungary in the 1930s. Geeting performs the piece on her 220-year old cello. She performs all over the world and teaches at the Cal Lutheran Conservatory in Thousand Oaks, California. For more about Joyce Geeting go to www.joycegeeting.com

Here is a description of the Kodaily Sonata from Kevin O'Donnell:
What makes the Sonata a great work? Firstly, and indispensably, inspired thematic invention. Consider the opening melody: a b-dorian, Hungarian-flavoured span of melody that makes you sense what it must have been like to hear Cicero in person launch the Phillipics against Mark Antony. You cannot strictly say that the first movement develops this theme, for it is never not there: the first movement is the theme. Yet there is no sense of redundant repetition either, such is the compositional technique.

The slow movement extends cello technique into realms not previously imagined. Consider the extraordinary double stop trills on page 8 of the score, or the haunting deployment of left-hand pizzicati.

The finale’s czardas will save you ever having to listen to another. The sound of the instrument is orchestral with its grinding open-string drones. At the extraordinary page 16, this orchestral timbre assumes a kind of Sibelian intensity and transcendence. Even in live performance you cannot believe one player and one instrument are doing it all. The rush to the end is breath-taking

It has been truly said that this work by itself makes Kodaly one of Hungary’s greatest composers.

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