Dialogue two cellists, Stéphane Tétreault and Jean-Guihen Queyras

Photo: Guillaume Levasseur Duty
Stéphane Tétreault and Jean-Guihen Queyras make fun of their stories travel with their precious but cumbersome instrument.

On the european tour, the Orchestre Métropolitain has taken two cellists. One is from Quebec, Stéphane Tétreault, the other Frenchman, Jean-Guihen Queyras. The Duty has brought them together to talk about their lives, their instrument and their repertoire.

The journey is not always easy for a cellist, with his bulky companion. “I expect to be necessarily problems : registration, security, boarding or customs “, said Stéphane Tétreault. “Compared to other string players, we coûtons more expensive, because it is necessary to buy a place for the Instrument,” adds Jean-Guihen Queyras, happy that, compared to his colleagues, violinists or viola players, the place of his precious instrument in the cabin is not subject to the vagaries of the mood of any agent. Because in the hold, the breakage is frequent.


Sorry, cellist on board !


“Air Canada capture even your cello ? “says Queyras, bantering, Tétreault ? “Yes ! “The two artists make fun of the own practice, to Air Canada and British Airways, said :” In the cabin, they put a large net around the instrument, as if the cello was a wild beast. “Jean-Guihen Queyras mime the scene way safari, laughing heartily :” is it worth It to put this in the article : it is all the more funny that, in their net, they are struggling to fix it ; it slips and it does nothing, whereas with the belt and an extension cord, the cello is perfectly attached. “


“And Air Canada, it takes the maintenance staff is specially trained, who could very well find at the other end of the airport, which makes the flight late,” says Stéphane Tétreault. In their travels, all of the companies combined, the two of them are already done hate, with ads of the type : “Here the captain, we’re late, sorry, but we have a cellist on board ! “


No incidents, fortunately, during the travel of Jean-Guihen Queyras and Stéphane Tétreault in Europe. The first plays the piano Concerto no. 1 by Saint-Saëns in Dortmund, Rotterdam, Hamburg and Paris. The second, the Elgar Concerto in Cologne, Amsterdam and Paris.


Elegance and existentialism


Jean-Guihen Queyras, is it not a bit jealous to see his colleague play Elgar ? “Jealousy is not my thing,” admits the French cellist, born in Montreal. It has so much more to win admiration and desire. “” It is clear that the Elgar concerto has a dramatic dimension that was not one of Saint-Saëns, and that, if I had to go on a deserted island, I would choose the Elgar concerto, because it goes further, it is more existential. There is a thickness in the coda, which is to be put on the same plane as that of the Concerto Dvorák. “And Queyras to remember a interview of Yo Yo Ma, where the cellist had almost been accused of playing a concerto rather light. “Yo Yo Ma had replied :” in life, we can’t always be deep !” “Saint-Saëns is a concerto for a classical, pure, and very touching in its purity and simplicity. “


Stéphane Tétreault, who played the Saint-Saëns Concerto with Yannick Nézet-Séguin in Philadelphia, speaks of a “magical experience, for the minuet in particular” and stressed that ” for Shostakovich, Saint-Saëns concerto was the concerto perfect, so it is well built, and so the melodies are developed in a perfect way “.


“It’s a concerto I love, but I’m not jealous, because the Elgar concerto has influenced me in my youth more than any other, through the video with Jacqueline du Pré, and, therefore, the play on tour with Yannick in such large halls is a privilege. “


Discover the other


The musicians are renowned for not much attend concerts. Yet, we have seen Stéphane Tétreault, last January, at the Théâtre Maisonneuve, drink the whey during the recital of Jean-Guihen Queyras and Alexander Melnikov. “I went there for inspiration. This is not to know if we are doing a passage differently, or if it uses a different fingering or a different bow strokes here and there. It is an interesting element, admittedly, but the ultimate goal is to enjoy the vision of another musician. And regardless of the musical ideas : when it is persuasive and full, it is always beautiful. I have a lasting memory of this recital, as well as the trios of Schubert’s astonishing to Gstaad, with Isabelle Faust and Alexander Melnikov. “


Jean-Guihen Queyras has heard the discs of Stéphane. “One day, you have played me something : it was a real joy. What struck me, it is the wholeness, the gift of absolute self in your game. You put it fully in the first note and you can feel it ; you say “ it, this is Stephane ”. There are no fireworks and we understand why Yannick is interested in you. “


And if each of our soloists could inspire a composer today, who would like to receive the score of a concerto ? There, the tastes differ. Very committed since the beginning of her career in the contemporary music, Jean-Guihen Queyras is to long for the seat of the German composer Jörg Widmann. About Stéphane Tétreault, his mind wanders : “If I could dream, I would say that having a concerto Arvo Pärt would be really great. “



Christophe Huss is the guest of the Orchestre Métropolitain during his european tour.

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