Alban's Blog

Exaggeration in music (continuation from sugar and music)…

As you could read in my blog I just posted I had another go at the Schumann Concerto in Seoul with the KBS Orchestra under Claus-Peter Flor. No, I don’t want to bore you anymore with the old subject of what do people expect and how much to “compromise” one’s believes in order to “please”. But I had on this 55 minute journey from the hall to the airport and also during the performance (ts,ts,ts) some thought I wanted to share here.

While I completely despise the choreography some musicians put on during their performances I felt the need to reconsider my almost puritan attitude towards this subject. As the more faithful blogreaders of you already know, I have been criticized for not being emotional enough, by critics as well as by fellow-musicians (this being obviously behind-the-back-talk which I don’t mind at all, it’s in our nature of human beings 🙂 ). When listening to my own performances I find them emotional enough and I came with an answer to that all in my previous blog “sugar and music” (or something like that – please don’t expect me to remember what I wrote before – I type real fast, and as soon as I thought something, it is out on the screen and thus out of my brain). 

So today and last night I tried to find a healthy mixture between sticking with what I believe being musically “right” (if I ever knew!) and trying to underline whatever I am trying to say in the music making with movements which didn’t come totally by themselves. Did I corrupt myself? No, at least I don’t hope so, because the music stayed the same. I just tried to emphasize on what my musical intention was for those who listen more with their eyes than their ears. And while reflecting on the (for the Schumann Concerto) rather big success I didn’t feel dirty, because as a performer I am supposed to bring my point across, to express the feelings I feel in a certain piece of music. If a certain head movement helps to show how aggravated I feel a certain passage while also playing it angrily, it just makes it clearer, doesn’t it? Acting in music, how bad is it? How much are the performers doing it purposefully and how much comes all by itself? Well, it’s our secret, because the better the performer/actor, the more it looks real 🙂


  • Carla

    When a concert in Spain?
    I’m a cellist young and I´m studing in Barcelona. In the “Conservatory of Teatre Liceo”, and I like very ver much what you play cello.


    P.S.: sorry because my english is very very bad!!

  • Alban

    Hi Carla,

    March 6 and 7 I will play in Madrid with the RTVE, and thanks for your nice words. Oh, don’t worry about English, my Spanish is practically non-existing…
    Best wishes,

  • Yoshi

    Hi! Just wanted to start off by saying thanks and how great it is that you’re keeping this blog going as it’s real interesting especially for us students to see what a profeesional musician’s life is like and also the kinds of things that one must go through (like what you’ve been saying about acting/performing) as a musician. Personally, I don’t think your music lacks emotions at all, actually far from it. As I only know you from listening to your recordings, I have never actually seen you play but by judging by the recordings itself, I can feel so much emotions already!
    I’m studying in manchester so ain’t gonna miss your performance this week! It’s gonna be great. Except I still haven’t got the ticket…! I hope there’s some left!! 😛

    Hope to see you there!



  • Carla

    I have your Cd “Music for cello and piano” and I like (very very very like) that your plays spanish music. Because of that I want to see you plays cello in live!!

  • Thomas

    After you you have “corrupted” yourself abit, what kind of reviews did you get? were they better than before?

  • Alban

    As a matter of fact, they were better 🙂 But it didn’t feel at all corrupted I must admit. It almost felt like these funny therapies where you have to scream really loud (I did that once in a physical therapy, and it really helped, liberating in a way) – after exaggerating a bit more than I thought was right in the Schumann, I think it became a better performance. Well, have to listen to the recording first, but I think it worked.


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