At the Heart of Chamber Music
(A Practical Guide for the Player, the Coach, and the Music Lover)
- Music Alchemy
"At the Heart of Chamber Music" features the prize-winning Jupiter Quartet and Paul Katz, founding cellist of the Cleveland String Quartet. It was created by Gillian Rogell, director of the Heart of Chamber Music Institute, who narrates the film and offers a practical yet philosophical approach to chamber music. The film opens with Brahms' G Major Sextet performed by the Jupiter Quartet with Paul Katz and Barry Shiffman. Several groups - a piano trio and two string quartets - are coached by Rogell and the Jupiters, while Paul Katz contributes fascinating commentary throughout the film. Over the years the author has developed many coaching techniques, and through the process of making this video, has found that they fall into four major categories: creating a group sound; learning to see in order to hear; characterizing the music; and being the music. When there are many problems of ensemble, bowing, dynamics, and intonation, a coach is apt to become very busy getting all the details exactly together - and of course, that is step one; but if at the same time the players are encouraged to hear each other, to breathe and move together, even an elementary group will reach the desired end more quickly.