Finding My Voice

After two and half months of playing my first note in over three decades, I’ve decided to buy a cello. The time I’ve been playing the cello have been wonderful, but I’ve felt like my rental instrument has been holding me back – I feel it is difficult to play, and because of this, I’ve struggled through many practices and lessons. I know what you are thinking, “Don’t blame the instrument!” Btw – my teacher says the same thing.
This past Saturday, my wife and I went to the violin shop to test a few cellos. My goal was to test some “advanced student” models. When we were driving there, I told my wife I felt very nervous, almost apprehensive. She said that it didn’t surprise her I was feeling this way because this cello will be a part of me and selecting something so personal can be exciting and stressful.  We’ve been married a while, so she knows me.  Btw – I was going to title this post, “Finding my Soulmate” but the title of Soulmate already belongs to my beautiful wife.

From the moment I played the first instrument, it was one “wow” moment after another. Keep in mind that my only cello experience in 35 years has been with a rental.    After 2 hours of testing instruments, we were ready to take two cellos (Ivan Dunov and William Klier models) for home trials, when I noticed a beautiful instrument, a Dario Giovanni, on the wall. It was not in the target price range but with my wife’s encouragement, I played Breval’s Sonata in C on it. From the very first chord, the hair on the back of my neck stood on end. Was this the epiphany? It was such a wonderful bright sound, and it was so easy to play! I tried so hard to hide my emotions because this was out of the price range. My wife asked me how I liked it and I said it was “good” but she coaxed it out of me…I REALLY liked this cello.

So three cellos came home with us. I played all three instruments in our large family room, and it quickly became apparent that that the Dunov was out of the running. At the shop, the Dunov had this nice bright sound but it just didn’t compare to the Giovanni, with its effortless bright, clear powerful sound that I could command at will – forte, piano, and vibratos just sang! The Klier is a very different instrument – it has a very pleasing warm sound especially in the C and G strings. The D is very nice but the A string felt a little dull, compared to the Giovanni. The warmth of the Klier is in its own way wonderful, and it is growing on me the more I play it.

Of the three instruments, the Giovanni’s playability is exceptional. It is effortless, and this allows me to focus on the music, instead of concentrating on digging in on the low notes and focusing on the left fingers pressing down to get good tone like I had to on the rental instrument. For example, I’ve been working on a couple of Dotzauer etudes, it has been a chore with the rental, but with the Giovanni’s ease, I played etude number 8 from beginning to end without any problems. Then I tried number 9. I played it kind of slow but, with the exception of stop because I misread the note (curse these middle aged eyes!), I played it. Same with a brand new one, number 10. After playing these cellos, I can honestly say, that it’s the rental instrument’s fault 🙂

Is the Giovanni “the one”? I really, really like it, but the warm tones of the Klier has me intrigued. And since my wife and I agreed that a nicer instrument is worth the investment, I will be trying other instruments in the same range as the Giovanni, but I’m not returning the Giovanni, yet.  I’m hoping I can find a cello with the best qualities of the Klier and Giovanni.

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