Posts Tagged ‘Roland Feller’

Bach Cello Sonata No.1

October 11, 2017

In G.

And 5 and 6 as well.

Yo Yo Ma.

That is what I am listening to.

It was an intense day and I feel it slowly easing out of my body and sliding to the floor in a big puddle.

I could slide to the floor in a big puddle.

When I need to calm down and unwind I like to listen to this in particular.

It is sweet and I find it wistful, God I miss playing the cello.

There’s a spot about 1:50 into the first sonata and I can feel the bow in my hand, I can see my fingers striding over the neck of the cello and I can feel it between my legs.

I can get weepy thinking about it.

One would suppose that I would be past it, this yearning, but somethings stay with me a long time.

I don’t know that I ever really got over the loss of playing cello.

And I have had it suggested too many times to count that maybe I pick it up again.

I think.

Yes!

Let me do that.

In what fucking time?

I could give up writing in the morning.

I could play music for my morning spiritual fix.

I could not buy a car and buy a cello.

I could go over to Roland Feller and blow my heart out on a cello.

Roland Feller is the luthier for the San Francisco Symphony.

I went once, with a friend who worked out of the Burning Man offices when I was nannying there many years ago now.

He is a professional cello player and gigs about and plays with the San Jose Orchestra.

He gave me lessons for a while and one day took me to Roland Feller.

I would have never known that there was a luthier there.

It is an extraordinary nondescript house next to the Popeye’s Chicken on Divisadero Street.

There is no signage.

You have to make an appointment.

There is a gate and a call box and it looks like some cheap apartment, well, it’s in San Francisco so it’s probably not cheap, but the door opens into this gold mine of classical music instruments.

Violins.

Violas.

Stand up Bass.

Cellos.

Oh and the cellos.

I played a few different ones and I remember one in particular, it was luscious, the sound so rich, so vibrant, it made me quiver with delight.

My friend teased me a little that I was passionate and looked as though I might be having the sexy thoughts.

I had never had a cello quite that caliber ever before in my hands.

It was exquisite.

And one day.

Well.

I have written on this topic before, I will have another cello.

I’m not there yet.

But one day.

And in the mean time.

Well.

I have my Yo Yo Ma and I have Bach.

And Debussy.

And Chopin.

Oh the Chopin Cello Sonata in G Minor.

Oof.

So good.

The Bach is my favorite, but that Chopin is glorious too, passionate and brash and stupendous.

I love that I love classical music.

I don’t look the type.

Except, well, maybe that’s not true.

I feel like I might look the type, that there’s a brazen woman cellist in my heart.

Maybe she smashes herself on her music like I smash myself with my poetry.

Maybe one day the two will get back together again.

I don’t expect that I will ever be great, I never was great, but I had heart, yes, I had great big heart and I knew it and so did my most ardent supporter–my orchestra conductor, Mister Ziegler.

Where ever you are, you meant something to me that few teachers do.

He supported me, he was honest with me, he argued for me.

He brought in my mom and my step father, the fuck (egad, maybe I need yet another inventory on the man, christ), and sat them down and tried, oh how hard he tried, to convince them to not let me quit cello.

Quitting cello was not my idea.

It was my stepfathers idea.

We didn’t have enough money and my parents, god I can’t even say that, the man was never a fucking parent to me, he was a violent misogynistic sociopath, but not a parent, had bought a house in Windsor, outside the school system I was in at the time I was playing cello.

There was no thought of a tutor, I had one actually, that my conductor had arranged with the school and I was given said tutoring for free, but to move away from the school system I would lose that.

And the school that was closest to me, the one that I would attend, DeForest, well, they didn’t have an orchestra.

Oh sure.

They had band.

But no orchestra.

They had cut the funding for the orchestra.

You should see the football stadium though, a work of art that.

Anyway.

My conductor tried to argue that my parents continuing my tutoring or that I commute in to Madison for school and still stay with the cello.

Nope.

There were words, there was fire, I could see how hard my conductor was trying to get through to my parents.

My stepfather hated me playing.

He hated me practicing.

I got lost in the cello, I wasn’t there, I was gone, gone, gone, and he wanted me present and not in my fantasy world.

He also did not like that I read as much as I did, I shit you not.

What fucking parent doesn’t want their children to read?

When I was punished some of the worst punishments were being denied those things that I loved most.

Books and my cello.

Cello was first to go.

“Put it away and go clean the bathtub,” he said.

The the books were taken.

I don’t know what I did, I mean, I have absolutely no recollection of what I had done to deserve the grounding to my room one weekend, but he was diabolical.

I had no problem being grounded to my room, fine with me, I won’t have to look at you.

I’ll read, thank you very much.

But.

Oh my fucking god, the man had removed every single book I had in my room, everything was gone, it was stripped.

Thank God I had one underneath the mattress of my bed.

Fucking stashed my back up drugs thank you very much.

So.

It wasn’t much of a surprise, after the cello was taken and my stepfather and my mom left the orchestra room with me sadly in tow, that once we moved to Windsor I was to be denied academic access as well.

“She’s too proud, she needs to be humbled, she’s not allowed to do it,” he told my mom, who had tried in her own way to get him to give his permission to sway him.

I was trailing behind in the snow walking down Windsor Road in the middle of a cold ass night listening to them argue about me and the invitation I had been given to join an advanced English class-accelerated and an accelerated math class.

I didn’t care so much about the math, irony, I was actually able to attend that, I think my mom might have had a hook up or something with the math teacher now that I look back, but the English was resolutely denied.

I can feel rage in my chest when I think about that.

“Too proud, she’s just too fucking proud.”

And maybe I was.

Pride goeth before the fall.

I have been humbled in many ways, but I still like my books and I still love listening to cello.

And I am beyond proud of how I grew and became the woman I am today.

Despite the horrendous odds against me growing up.

I got out.

And you can’t put me down.

Nope.

I will not be ground down.

I will thrive.

I am thriving.

I am alive.

Happy.

Joyous.

Motherfucking.

Free.

And yes.

Proud.

 

 

 

 

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Next Ten Years

January 13, 2015

What is up the Universe’s sleeve I wonder.

Not that anything other than the next action in front of me is ever revealed, it’s entertaining nonetheless to let myself ponder it.

I suspect that there will be more travelling.

I want to go down soon to Chula Vista and see my grandmother, it’s been really too long.

I want to go to Atlanta in July.

Yeah, I know, that’s like, um going to Anchorage in December, but hey, when an international group of like-minded fellows decides to be in a certain place at a certain time, then, well, I’lll see you in Atlanta in July.

Outside of that, further down the line, another trip or three to Paris.

I just got the bug man, I don’t suppose I ever will get rid of it.

I’m currently listening to Edger Meyer playing a double bass cello to Bach Cello Suite #2 in D Minor and while I was in the shower I saw myself in front of the window of the luthier in Paris on the Left Bank near Shakespeare and Company.

I saw myself walk in and ask, “combien sa coute?”

How much does that cost?

Of course I would add s’il vous plait to that request and then I see myself touch the caramel color wood of the front breast of the cello and smell the rosin and I am handed a horse hair bow and invited to sit and see how I like her sound.

It’s a fantasy, yes, but stranger things have happened.

In the next decade I propose that I will be picking up the cello again, actually I see that happening sooner rather than later.

I was googling Roland Feller today at work while the littlest guy napped.

Member, Entente Internationald des Maitres Luthiers et Archetiers d’Art.

Member of the American Federation of Violin and bow Makers.

Roland Feller is a luthier here in the city that a friend who works at the Burning Man offices took me to one fine day about 8 years ago.

He had been lending me his cello, he plays out and has more than one cello, I wasn’t using his orchestra cello, but it was still nice.

He wanted me to see what a real luthier looked like and took me to Feller’s atelier in the NOPA.

Unless you know what you are looking for you would miss it.

It is a second story shop in a grey nondescript house squeezed in between the Popeye’s on Divisadero and a mom and pop grocery/liquor mart.

There’s a heavy metal gate and a dirty ATM in the base door way of the stairs.

There’s a camera mounted to the top of the stairs and you buzz to get in.

The gate swings out and open and one climbs the rickety worn carpeted stairs and arises into stringed instrument heaven.

The smell.

Oh.

The cellos.

I noticed other instruments, sure, I did, but the cellos were so stupendous and bright, lustrous, enraptured with late afternoon light and gold glowing wood.

My soul felt soothed and I felt not enough all at the same time.

I also recall feeling wildly jealous of a family with a young daughter who was picking out her first full size cello.

She’d grown into the big girl size.

I think I am ready to do the same.

This is not like surfing to me, I’m not interested in finding a guy to teach me so that I can go on a date with him.

This is not like downloading all the Muddy Waters albums because you danced with me to Hoochie Coochie Man in the soft light of my room.

This is not like playing frisbee golf in the snow because your my man.

Nope.

This is a desire and passion all my own.

And since I am not being quiet about my passions and desires, I desire to get myself to the luthier’s.

“Doll, instead of putting more ink on that beautiful skin of yours, why don’t you invest in a cello?” ┬áHe said to me over the table at the cafe.

I looked him straight in his blue eyes and said, “I have $1800 in my savings account, I could go get one this weekend.”

Granted, I probably won’t.

I have plans.

And the tattoo is part of them.

Unless something ridiculous like a meteor of cocaine hits my house and smashes itself up my nose and somebody ties me down and pours a beer into my mouth, I’ll be ten in three hours and I am going to get that tattoo.

But, he was right, my cafe confidant, I do need to get a cello in my life.

Where I will squeeze it in?

Who knows.

But squeeze I will.

A minute here.

An hour there.

Oh.

To sit in the sea salt air in the sunshine on my back porch and practice the Bach preludes.

Oh.

Now that would be something else.

I had been planning on saving that money for a new laptop and I will still need to get one before graduate school starts.

Oh yeah, that’s going to happen.

Whether I get into this program or I do another, I see a Master’s degree in my next ten years.

Abso-fucking-lutely do.

It’s a few months off, fall of 2015, so I think I could look into getting a little cello action in my life for sure.

Besides, when you say yes to the Universe, it takes a 1,000 steps toward you.

I am saying yes to playing cello.

Yes to more travel.

Yes to graduate school.

Yes to staying sober.

Yes to service.

Yes to love.

All love.

There is so much life to live for me yet.

I am so young and so ready to keep moving forward.

I am so overwhelmed with gratitude and the deep and knowing knowledge that my life is really just starting to bloom.

All that work, all the shit, er fertilizer, has finally kicked in.

Life is miraculous.

I am stunning proof.


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