Wednesday, March 16, 2011

A Real Cello

By 2009 I had pretty much forgotten my CD project, and in fact wasn't playing much music at all. But sometime near Christmas, several families on the block were gathered at a neighbors' house to party and sing Christmas carols. One of our neighbors is a girl named Anna, who was 11 at the time. Anna had brought her cello.

I've always thought the cello was a beautiful instrument. Many years earlier, probably 1995, I had written a tune called "Monica's Song," which I always felt cried out for a cello accompaniment. The synthesized cello on my demo CD never quite cut it.

So there I was sitting at a piano, with a real cello and a real cellist only a few feet away. This was my chance. I asked her to play a G for one measure, then a B flat, while I played the introduction to the song. Wow, it was beautiful!

That moment inspired me to write a full cello part for "Monica's Song" for Anna to play. At first, the part was very basic, mostly just the root of each chord. Some months later I got to hear Anna play one of her concert pieces, and was amazed to hear how well she could play a very complex piece. I started making her part more interesting, and even gave the cello a beautiful line that had been played by an oboe on the original version. Anna mastered it. I'm very grateful to Anna for patiently enduring all my rewrites. I learned a lot along the way. But we ended up with a beautiful arrangement.

A few months ago, I brought Anna into the studio to record that arrangement.

Here is the result:
Monica's Song - Arrangement for One Cello by Leo Brodie

This is not the arrangement or recording that will appear on the finished CD, but I'm very proud of it. Writing this arrangement got me playing music again.

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