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Meet Cellist Laura van der Heijden posted 02 Oct 2019

Meet Cellist Laura van der Heijden

Laura van der Heijden tells us about the five pieces of music, book and luxury she would take to a desert island. 

As my music taste is constantly changing, and I’m always discovering new pieces that I love, I have chosen five pieces that I seem to be able to listen to endless times!

Schnittke - Suite in the Old Style
The first is Schnittke’s Suite in the Old Style, and it would have to be Leonid Gorokhov’s recording, because I really could listen to it endlessly. One reason I like it so much is because of the way Leonid plays it, in my opinion it is the closest to a ‘perfect’ rendition of a piece you can get. The combination of the ‘old style’ and Schnittke’s wacky idea of it being the music for a theatre piece called Adventures of a Dentist makes it truly awesome, both to listen to and to play!

Each of the five movements has a different character, each being slightly sarcastic: the ballet for example has a more raucous feel to it than a traditional, more delicate ballet would do. It’s the kind of piece I want to put on at full volume and dance around where no one can see me! 

Bach - Piano Works 
I’m a huge fan of Bach, so I find it hard to single out one piece, but I especially like his piano works. I have all of his partitas played by Piotr Anderszewski on my iPod, and I listen to them quite often. There is something about the clean, refreshing sound of the piano and the intertwining voices that instantly cheers me up. A bit of Bach a day keeps the doctor away! Or something like that..

Purcell - Music for a While
There are two songs that I really love at the moment: 
Purcell’s Music for a While is amazing - it is very dramatic and quite unusual. How can he make something so incredible out of just one repeating bass line?

Schubert - Lied der Mignion
The second song is Schubert’s Lied der Mignion. It is so desperately sad. Although it is simple, I think it’s very moving, especially if a good singer sings it. It’s intimacy and fragility is breathtaking.

Barbarian Beauty
I’m addicted to a CD called Barbarian Beauty that contains: Double Concerto in A minor for recorder, gamba and string orchestra by Telemann, Concerto in D major for viola da gamba by Graun, Concerto for violin and viola da gamba ‘La Maggiore’ by Vivaldi and Concerto in A major for viola da gamba, strings and basso continuo by Tartini. It is so cool!

I also find it hard to choose one book, but one of my favourites would definitely have to be Heart of a Dog by Bulgakov. It is a really enjoyable read, very witty - lots of moments of quiet chuckling, but the moral of the story is very deep. It is one of those books that you can’t stop reading once you started - and you can’t forget once you’ve read it.

How do you choose a luxury? What is a luxury these days? I thought about this for quite a while and I came up with a few things- like a good cup of tea, or my welsh terrier Megan, but my ultimate luxury would have to be a long walk on the Ashdown Forest. Luckily it is just on our doorstep, and no matter how muddy or how English the weather, we go out! That brings me to another luxury that is necessary for this one - wellies! Long walks are really therapeutic for me, somehow all problems get digested. I love the clean fresh air and the view when you get to the top is absolutely stunning (even in the worst of weather).

Book for Laura van der Heijden performing with the BBC Philharmonic at Leeds Town Hall on Saturday 26 October 

View the Leeds International Orchestral Season 2019/20 brochure online.