Monday, March 24, 2008

For The Love Of The Cello

In a previous article, I featured the double-bass and a few pieces that highlight the instrument. Today, I will focus on the cello, arguably my favorite instrument (save for the piano of course), and will chronicle what I would consider to be a good starter set of cello masterworks.

No list of great cello works could ever start without Bach’s Suites for Unaccompanied Cello, so I’ll begin there. Also, note that this list only includes pieces that were originally written for the cello. There are many pieces that have been transcribed for the cello but weren’t originally intended as such. In the case of the Schubert Sonata for Arpeggione, this instrument does not exist today, and therefore this piece is most often played either on a viola or cello and I’m considering it eligible.

Masterworks for the Cello

  • Bach, Johann Sebastian – Suites For Unaccompanied Cello (esp Suite 1: Prelude and Suite 6: Sarabande)

  • Beethoven, Ludwig Van – Cello Sonatas 1-5 (Complete)

  • Brahms, Johannes – Cello Sonatas 1 and 2

  • Dvořák, Antonin– Cello Concerto In B Minor

  • Elgar, Sir Edward Elgar – Cello Concerto

  • Pärt, Arvo – Fratres for Cello and Piano

  • Penderecki, Krzysztof – Cello Concerto No. 1

  • Saint-Saëns, Camille – Le Cygne (The Swan) from “Carnival Of The Animals”

  • Saint-Saëns, Camille – Cello Concerto No. 1

  • Schubert, Franz – Sonata for Arpeggione And Piano (arr. For cello)

  • Tchaikovsky, Pyotr Ilyich – Variations On A Rococo Theme

  • There are plenty of good recordings of all these pieces which you can find on Amazon. In general, you can almost never go wrong with Rostropovich and the Elgar concerto seems to have been tailor-made for Jacqueline Du Pré. You can always contact me if you’re looking for some tips on recordings I love!


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