In November, I am playing the American premiere of a Classical cello concerto by the little-known composer Johann Facius with the Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra.
The conductor Steven Fox discovered the Facius manuscript as well as other interesting Russian pieces from the 18th and 19th Centuries for the concerts. They are calling the series “Music From Imperial St. Petersburg.”
I have played premieres of contemporary pieces before, but I’ve never debuted a lost 19th century composer. Facius has been compared to Mozart or Haydn. It’s very virtuosic.
Here is a bit of the score
Because it took so long, first to get the manuscript from Russia, and then to figure out the score ( thankfully I live with a wonderful composer who helped), this performance will be like no other in my life. It is an opportunity to recreate something from the past, in a familiar musical language, and make it completely new.
From the short time I have had to get acquainted with Facius, I can tell that he was a cellist. A lot of his music is very challenging, but not in the way, say, Schubert is challenging—or Beethoven–whose music is often oblivious to the technical challenges of the player.
It’s a player’s music. It is a very short month to learn so many notes, and yet I look forward to these performances with much anticipation and excitement.
Share on Facebook