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Paul Tortelier

Paul Tortelier

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Paul Tortelier was a French
France
The French Republic , The French Republic , The French Republic , (commonly known as France , is a unitary semi-presidential republic in Western Europe with several overseas territories and islands located on other continents and in the Indian, Pacific, and Atlantic oceans. Metropolitan France...

 cellist
Cello
The cello is a bowed string instrument with four strings tuned in perfect fifths. It is a member of the violin family of musical instruments, which also includes the violin, viola, and double bass. Old forms of the instrument in the Baroque era are baryton and viol .A person who plays a cello is...

 and composer
Composer
A composer is a person who creates music, either by musical notation or oral tradition, for interpretation and performance, or through direct manipulation of sonic material through electronic media...

.

Tortelier was born in Paris
Paris
Paris is the capital and largest city in France, situated on the river Seine, in northern France, at the heart of the Île-de-France region...

, the son of a cabinet maker with Breton
Breton people
The Bretons are an ethnic group located in the region of Brittany in France. They trace much of their heritage to groups of Brythonic speakers who emigrated from southwestern Great Britain in waves from the 3rd to 6th century into the Armorican peninsula, subsequently named Brittany after them.The...

 roots. He was encouraged to play the cello by his father Joseph and mother Marguerite (Boura), and at 12 he entered the Paris Conservatoire. He studied the cello there with Gérard Hekking
Gérard Hekking
Gérard Hekking was a French cellist.Born in Nancy, he served as first cellist of the Concertgebouw Orchestra from 1903 until 1914. From 1927 until his death he taught cello at the Paris Conservatory...

. He won the first prize in cello at the conservatoire when he was 16, and then he studied harmony
Harmony
In music, harmony is the use of simultaneous pitches , or chords. The study of harmony involves chords and their construction and chord progressions and the principles of connection that govern them. Harmony is often said to refer to the "vertical" aspect of music, as distinguished from melodic...

 under Jean Gallon
Jean Gallon
Jean Gallon was a French composer, choir conductor, and music educator. His compositional output consists of six antiphons for strings and organ, one mass, one ballet, and several art songs....

. His debut was with the Orchestre Lamoureux in 1931 at the age of 17. He performed Lalo's
Édouard Lalo
Édouard-Victoire-Antoine Lalo was a French composer.-Biography:Lalo was born in Lille , in northernmost France. He attended that city's music conservatory in his youth. Then, beginning at age 16, Lalo studied at the Paris Conservatoire under Berlioz's old enemy François Antoine Habeneck...

 Cello Concerto
Cello Concerto (Lalo)
Édouard Lalo wrote his Cello Concerto in D minor in 1876, in collaboration with Parisian cellist Adolphe Fischer. The work was premiered the following year at the Cirque d'Hiver with Fischer as soloist.-Form:The concerto is written in three movements:...

.

In 1935 Tortelier joined the Monte-Carlo Philharmonic Orchestra
Monte-Carlo Philharmonic Orchestra
The Monte-Carlo Philharmonic Orchestra is the main orchestra in the principality of Monaco...

 as first cellist and played with them until 1937. He gave performances under Bruno Walter
Bruno Walter
Bruno Walter was a German-born conductor. He is considered one of the best known conductors of the 20th century. Walter was born in Berlin, but is known to have lived in several countries between 1933 and 1939, before finally settling in the United States in 1939...

 and Arturo Toscanini
Arturo Toscanini
Arturo Toscanini was an Italian conductor. One of the most acclaimed musicians of the late 19th and 20th century, he was renowned for his intensity, his perfectionism, his ear for orchestral detail and sonority, and his photographic memory...

, and he also played the solo part in Richard Strauss
Richard Strauss
Richard Georg Strauss was a leading German composer of the late Romantic and early modern eras. He is known for his operas, which include Der Rosenkavalier and Salome; his Lieder, especially his Four Last Songs; and his tone poems and orchestral works, such as Death and Transfiguration, Till...

' Don Quixote under the composer. This is a piece which became closely associated with Tortelier, as he gave many performances and recorded it.

In 1937 he joined the Boston Symphony Orchestra
Boston Symphony Orchestra
The Boston Symphony Orchestra is an orchestra based in Boston, Massachusetts. It is one of the five American orchestras commonly referred to as the "Big Five". Founded in 1881, the BSO plays most of its concerts at Boston's Symphony Hall and in the summer performs at the Tanglewood Music Center...

 under Serge Koussevitsky, performing as first cellist through 1940. In 1938 he began a solo career at Boston's Town Hall, accompanied by Leonard Shure
Leonard Shure
Leonard Shure was an American concert pianist, and heir to the tradition of the great Artur Schnabel, began his career as a performer at the age of 5 and as a teenager studied privately with Schnabel in Germany.-Life:Shure graduated from the Hochschule fur Musik in Berlin in 1927, at which time he...

. He was first cellist of the Orchestre de la Société des Concerts du Conservatoire
Orchestre de la Société des Concerts du Conservatoire
The Orchestre de la Société des concerts du Conservatoire was a symphony orchestra established in Paris in 1828. It gave its first concert on 9 March 1828 with music by Beethoven, Rossini, Meifreid, Rode and Cherubini....

, Paris, 1946–47. In 1947 he gave his British debut under Beecham
Thomas Beecham
Sir Thomas Beecham, 2nd Baronet CH was an English conductor and impresario best known for his association with the London Philharmonic and the Royal Philharmonic orchestras. He was also closely associated with the Liverpool Philharmonic and Hallé orchestras...

, again performing Don Quixote at the Festival of Richard Strauss
Richard Strauss
Richard Georg Strauss was a leading German composer of the late Romantic and early modern eras. He is known for his operas, which include Der Rosenkavalier and Salome; his Lieder, especially his Four Last Songs; and his tone poems and orchestral works, such as Death and Transfiguration, Till...

 in London. "My boy" Beecham said "you will be successful in England because you have temperament". In 1950 Tortelier was selected by Casals to play as the principal cellist in the Prades Festival Orchestra. Tortelier believed that of all the cellists, it was Casals who influenced him the most. A French critic wrote of him: "If Casals is Jupiter, then Tortelier is Apollo." Tortelier performed for the Peabody Mason Concert series in Boston in 1952.

He was a music professor at the Conservatoire National Supérieur de la Musique, Paris
Conservatoire de Paris
The Conservatoire de Paris is a college of music and dance founded in 1795, now situated in the avenue Jean Jaurès in the 19th arrondissement of Paris, France...

 (1956–69); Folkwang Hochschule in Essen
Essen
- Origin of the name :In German-speaking countries, the name of the city Essen often causes confusion as to its origins, because it is commonly known as the German infinitive of the verb for the act of eating, and/or the German noun for food. Although scholars still dispute the interpretation of...

 (1969–1975); and the Conservatoire National de Region, Nice (1978–80). He was also an honorary professor at the Central Conservatoire in Beijing, China. Despite being French, he advised his students to avoid French music and concentrate on Beethoven and Mozart - music the public more likely wanted to hear.

Although he was a Catholic, Tortelier was inspired by the ideals of the founders of the newly formed state of Israel in 1948, and in the years 1955–1956 spent some time living with his wife and two children in the kibbutz Maabarot
Maabarot
Ma'abarot is a kibbutz in Israel. Founded in 1932, today it has a population of approximately 850 people, and is under the jurisdiction of Hefer Valley Regional Council.-Beginnings :...

, near Netanya
Netanya
Netanya is a city in the Northern Centre District of Israel, and is the capital of the surrounding Sharon plain. It is located north of Tel Aviv, and south of Haifa between the 'Poleg' stream and Wingate Institute in the south and the 'Avichail' stream in the north.Its of beaches have made the...

.

His compositions include a concerto for two cellos and orchestra (1950), a solo cello suite in D, and two sonatas for cello and piano. He also wrote a set of variations for cello and orchestra ( 'May Music Save Peace' ). He also wrote a symphony, the Israel Symphony, after his experience of living in the kibbutz. His edition of the Bach
Johann Sebastian Bach
Johann Sebastian Bach was a German composer, organist, harpsichordist, violist, and violinist whose sacred and secular works for choir, orchestra, and solo instruments drew together the strands of the Baroque period and brought it to its ultimate maturity...

 Cello Suites
Cello Suites (Bach)
The Six Suites for Unaccompanied Cello by Johann Sebastian Bach are some of the most performed and recognizable solo compositions ever written for cello...

 was published by Galliard in 1966.

He taught Jacqueline du Pré
Jacqueline du Pré
Jacqueline Mary du Pré OBE was a British cellist. She is particularly associated with Elgar's Cello Concerto in E Minor; her interpretation has been described as "definitive" and "legendary." Her career was cut short by multiple sclerosis, which forced her to stop performing at 28 and led to her...

 when she briefly attended his classes at the Paris Conservatoire, though he was not her main teacher (that was William Pleeth
William Pleeth
William Pleeth OBE was a well-known British cellist and an eminent teacher, who became widely known as the teacher of Jacqueline du Pré.- Early years :...

). Other students included Arto Noras
Arto Noras
Arto Noras is a Finnish cellist who started his studies in Sibelius Academy at age of 8 years. His teacher was Yrjö Selin...

 and Raphaël Sommer. In the 1970s he gave a series of master class
Master class
A master class is a class given to students of a particular discipline by an expert of that discipline—usually music, but also painting, drama, or any of the arts....

es which were recorded and broadcast on TV by the BBC
BBC
The British Broadcasting Corporation is a British public service broadcaster. Its headquarters is at Broadcasting House in the City of Westminster, London. It is the largest broadcaster in the world, with about 23,000 staff...

, which demonstrate his very dynamic style of playing.

Interests included bicycling and playing the flute. Besides performing on the cello, he made appearances as a conductor when he grew older (similar to Mstislav Rostropovich
Mstislav Rostropovich
Mstislav Leopoldovich Rostropovich, KBE , known to close friends as Slava, was a Soviet and Russian cellist and conductor. He was married to the soprano Galina Vishnevskaya. He is widely considered to have been the greatest cellist of the second half of the 20th century, and one of the greatest of...

). Although it is sometimes mistakenly thought to be Rostropovich, Tortelier is the inventor of the bent cello pin, enabling the instrument to lay more horizontally than vertically.

Paul Tortelier was married twice. His first marriage, to Madeleine Gaston, ended in divorce in 1943. His second marriage was to Maud Monique Martin (also a cellist). His son, Yan Pascal Tortelier
Yan Pascal Tortelier
Yan Pascal Tortelier is an internationally renowned French conductor and violinist and is the son of the late cellist Paul Tortelier.-Biography:...

, is an internationally known conductor, and his daughter Maria de la Pau is a pianist. He died at the age of 76 in Villarceaux Yvelines, near Paris.

Recordings


Major recordings include the Bach
Johann Sebastian Bach
Johann Sebastian Bach was a German composer, organist, harpsichordist, violist, and violinist whose sacred and secular works for choir, orchestra, and solo instruments drew together the strands of the Baroque period and brought it to its ultimate maturity...

 Cello Suites
Cello Suites (Bach)
The Six Suites for Unaccompanied Cello by Johann Sebastian Bach are some of the most performed and recognizable solo compositions ever written for cello...

 in 1960 (Paris) and 1982 (London), Elgar
Edward Elgar
Sir Edward William Elgar, 1st Baronet OM, GCVO was an English composer, many of whose works have entered the British and international classical concert repertoire. Among his best-known compositions are orchestral works including the Enigma Variations, the Pomp and Circumstance Marches, concertos...

 Cello Concerto
Cello Concerto (Elgar)
Edward Elgar's Cello Concerto in E minor, Op. 85, his last notable work, is a cornerstone of the solo cello repertoire. Elgar composed it in the aftermath of the First World War, by which time his music had gone out of fashion with the concert-going public...

 with the London Philharmonic Orchestra
London Philharmonic Orchestra
The London Philharmonic Orchestra , based in London, is one of the major orchestras of the United Kingdom, and is based in the Royal Festival Hall. In addition, the LPO is the main resident orchestra of the Glyndebourne Festival Opera...

, Adrian Boult
Adrian Boult
Sir Adrian Cedric Boult CH was an English conductor. Brought up in a prosperous mercantile family he followed musical studies in England and at Leipzig, Germany, with early conducting work in London for the Royal Opera House and Sergei Diaghilev's ballet company. His first prominent post was...

 conducting in 1972, and Strauss’s
Richard Strauss
Richard Georg Strauss was a leading German composer of the late Romantic and early modern eras. He is known for his operas, which include Der Rosenkavalier and Salome; his Lieder, especially his Four Last Songs; and his tone poems and orchestral works, such as Death and Transfiguration, Till...

 Don Quixote
Don Quixote (Strauss)
Don Quixote, Op. 35, is a composition by Richard Strauss for cello, viola and large orchestra. Subtitled Phantastische Variationen über ein Thema ritterlichen Charakters , the work is based on the novel Don Quixote de la Mancha by Miguel de Cervantes. Strauss composed this work in Munich in 1897...

 in 1973 with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra
Royal Philharmonic Orchestra
The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra is a British orchestra based in London. It tours widely, and is sometimes referred to as "Britain's national orchestra"...

, Thomas Beecham
Thomas Beecham
Sir Thomas Beecham, 2nd Baronet CH was an English conductor and impresario best known for his association with the London Philharmonic and the Royal Philharmonic orchestras. He was also closely associated with the Liverpool Philharmonic and Hallé orchestras...

 conducting in 1947/48 and the Staatskapelle Dresden
Sächsische Staatskapelle Dresden
The Sächsische Staatskapelle Dresden is an orchestra based in Dresden, Germany founded in 1548 by Kurfürst Moritz of Saxony. It is one of the world's oldest orchestras...

, Rudolf Kempe
Rudolf Kempe
Rudolf Kempe was a German conductor.- Biography :Kempe was born in Dresden, where from the age of fourteen he studied at the Dresden State Opera School. He played oboe in the opera orchestra of Dortmund and then in the Leipzig Gewandhaus orchestra, from 1929...

 conducting in 1973 (all for EMI
EMI
The EMI Group, also known as EMI Music or simply EMI, is a multinational music company headquartered in London, United Kingdom. It is the fourth-largest business group and family of record labels in the recording industry and one of the "big four" record companies. EMI Group also has a major...

 for whom he was under exclusive contract).

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