Underserved Composers

The brilliant thing about brilliant composers is that most people immediately take to their sound worlds. There is something universally captivating about the way they write music: the melody, harmony, sonority, even they way they use silence.

Some composers have less than compelling music yet can be pleasing in its own way. I find that Goltermann’s music for cello is mostly like that. Much of what he wrote was indeed for his own pupils which directly influenced the artistic quality. However, even within the educational constraints he was able to make it pleasing and interesting for the player. Although a lot of his music seems to get stuck in one position, string, motive, or emotion it still can be performed in such a way as to create more charming lines.

His nocturnes mostly are like this. He seems to stay put where he first found a pleasing line. Indeed, the first couple of times one plays it, it sounds fantastic. Then after the fourth or fifth time of unaltered line it becomes old and stale. Not until the coda is played does one feel the creativity of the composer at work. He must have had much more in his compositional palette than he used. It seems that he was a very busy pedagogue and composer for the pupils under his tutelage that he perhaps had little time to create a masterpiece for the standard cello repertoire.