Ella Rundle (cello) teams up with Eloisa-Fleur Thom (violin) for her Wemsfest concert this year.
Two years ago, Ella, who grew up in West Dean, gave a solo cello recital: “That was quite unusual really. Normally you play with a pianist or someone else because there is not that much repertoire for solo cello. This time I am playing with Eloisa. I met her in London and we did a few concerts together in a quartet. She was playing first violin. She also runs this ensemble called The Twelve, which is quite an innovative group that plays unconducted. They do a lot of projects with artists and contemporary works. She is just such an interesting person. She is a great artist as well, and we just really like each other’s playing.”
Ella admits she can be pretty picky who she is playing with especially with string playing because there are so many different schools of playing. “You spend so many years studying, and sometimes you just come from different angles. But with her, I just found that she was so imaginative that it is really exciting to play with her. Someone once described her as being like a wizard with colours. When you are playing with someone, I think you have to have similar values, but perhaps be contrasting as well. I don’t think if you always had the same ideas you would learn very much. It could become one-dimensional. You need a good chemistry between you so that you can bounce ideas off each other and be ready to say ‘No, that’s really stupid!’ if you need to!”
Their Wemsfest concert is on October 15 at 7pm at St John’s Church, Westbourne, an evening recital entitled Bach Sandwich; Rich Bread.
The programme will be Kodaly’s Duo for Violin and Cello and Bach’s Suite No 2 D Minor Cello. And then, after the interval, the programme continues with Bach’s Partita in G Minor Violin and Ravel’s Grand Duo for Violin and Cello.
“Bach is like the staple for string players or for any players really, but it is also one of the scariest things you can do. There are so many ways to interpret it. It is not like there are lots of melodies like in romantic music that you can really feel. You have to work it out quite well, and as well as being technically demanding, that is quite a challenge.”
Ella also plays in the Philharmonia Orchestra where she has been for the past two and a half years in a 50-per-cent job, effectively a job share: “It has been really great to work with them. When I first played with them, I was quite daunted. They were the first orchestra I ever worked with as a freelance, and you had these amazing conductors who were really charismatic, and everyone would play a piece for the first time – and they would just seem to know it! But I have settled in now.
“We do quite a lot of touring. The best places to tour are Japan and the Far East. We have been to Japan and China, and we have been to the States, California last year. But for me, Japan feels so foreign. Every time you go there, I just find it so interesting, things you would never see, the food, the landscape, the culture. It is just so different.”
Westbourne is considerably closer to home: “It is really important for me to come back to the area where I am from and play for people. If it wasn’t for West Dean School and the county music service, I would never have become a cellist. I live in London now where there is so much classical music going on at such a high level, but I think it’s so important to share it with every area of the country.”