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A Guide to the Standard Cello Repertoire
Which works are part of the standard repertoire and which represent creative delving by the artist?
By Jeffrey Solow posted November/December 1999
Since the advent of the CD, it seems as if just about everything ever written for the cello has been recorded, and one might wonder how it is possible for a cellist not to be familiar with some standard work. But this huge volume can actually create a problem for someone attempting to get a handle on the repertoire: exactly which works are part of the standard repertoire and which represent creative delving by the artist? What is the standard repertoire for the cello? There will always be a certain amount of disagreement on this point. Tastes change, causing works to go in and out of fashion, and every cellist is bound to be influenced by what he or she plays, or studied as a student. Even so, it is possible to create a list (which follows at the end of this article) with which most cellists would be in general agreement. After deciding which repertoire to learn, one must buy the music. Most compositions come in several editions at different prices. Is the cheapest the best, or is the most expensive worth it? What should one look for when selecting an edition? Certainly the first step in learning a work is to look at what the composer wrote. But the printed music is not necessarily identical to the composer’s manuscript or reflective of his or her intentions. Sometimes the original manuscript disappears and only someone else’s handwritten copy (or copies) comes down to us—such as the Haydn C Major Concerto or the Bach Suites—or the not-necessarily-reliable first edition is the only source, as with the Beethoven Op. 5 Sonatas. Perhaps the only extant manuscript is an early version that differs from the first edition (Beethoven’s AMajor Sonata). Some works have more than one official version (the Shostakovich Sonata) or two drastically different versions (Tchaikovsky’s Rococo Variations). What if the composer’s cello/piano version differs in various ways from the orchestral score (Elgar Concerto, Lalo Concerto)? Clearly if one really wants to be sure what the composer had in mind, some musicological research is in order. For most practical purposes, however, it is sufficient to be aware of the difference between the two main types of editions: urtext and critical editions, and performance editions. An urtext or critical edition is prepared by a musicologist who tries to present the composer’s notes and markings on paper just as the composer intended. I further define an urtext edition as a definitive text based on original sources, and a critical edition as a text that reconciles conflicting sources or reconstructs missing sources. Both of these could be categorized as authentic or scholarly editions. Such editions often have editorial fingerings or up-bow and down-bow indications. Editorial dynamics or slurs are usually placed within brackets, printed in dots or dashes, or set in a smaller size. In either edition it should be clear which markings are original and which are being supplied by the editor. (I question whether scholarly urtext or critical editions should have editorial fingerings or bowings at all. Reader feedback concerning this issue would be interesting.) A performance edition has been edited by some particular cellist who offers his or her suggestions as to the best way to play a composition. These suggestions most always include bowings and fingerings but often extend much farther. A performance edition is not a bad thing—it’s like having a lesson with the cellist who edited it. But if it is your only text, you might end up learning different dynamics, articulations, slurs, or phrasings, or even different notes than the composer wrote. Luckily, many performance editions have an unedited and quite reliable cello part in the piano score to which you can refer. If you own a performance edition and it is your only music, check to see if the piano score is edited or not: if the slurs are different from those in the separate cello part, it’s probably unedited.

Further Resources
Read a companion article that focuses on the editors of the various editions.

The safest bet, though, is to obtain a study score. These are generally available for sonata and concerto repertoire and almost always for chamber music. Study scores are usually prepared with careful scholarship and thus provide good texts with which you can compare your working sheet music. As the best editions can be quite expensive, it may be a practical economical compromise to purchase an inexpensive edition and a study score. (Miniature study scores come in many editions. Some excellent ones—particularly Lea Pocket Scores and Edition Eulenberg study scores— are out of print but can often be found in libraries, private collections, or used-music stores. Kalmus Study Scores or Belwin Mills reprints of Kalmus are usually readily available, and Dover full-sized study scores are an excellent value.) There are also editions that are not urtext, yet are relatively unedited. (A reminder: all printed editions have had someone other than the composer—an engraver at least—making editorial decisions.) With non-urtext editions it is important to be able to distinguish the composer’s markings from the editor’s markings. For example, 18th- and 19thcentury composers rarely, if ever, wrote dashes under slurs; they used dots under slurs. This means that if an edition of such repertoire has dashes under slurs, it is likely that the editor is either suggesting a bowing or advising the method of execution. Careful observation and experience will soon generate enough familiarity with composers’ notational idiosyncrasies to give a pretty good idea of whether a particular marking is by the composer or by an editor. I don’t mean to suggest, of course, that urtext editions are holy writ or that one should never add to or change any of the composer’s markings. Most composers were (and are) not that strict and narrow-minded. They wanted their music to be communicated to the audience and understood that to do so, performers must interpret and personalize it. But it is important to take off from a good base; sometimes a seemingly insignificant marking can make a significant musical difference.

In my cello repertoire list (which follows at the end of this article), I have divided the repertoire into six categories: etudes and studies; unaccompanied works; sonatas; concertos; suites, variations, etc.; and short pieces. I have given each category four subdivisions according to relative degree of technical difficulty (listed from easiest to most difficult), but these are not necessarily equivalent across categories. Within each subdivision the works are listed somewhat arbitrarily in an order of study suggested by technical and musical difficulty and, in some instances, importance to the repertoire. The compositions in brackets are more peripheral; some are infrequently performed today but still hold a certain place in the repertoire, while others are gaining acceptance. (In the case of a composer who wrote many works in a specific



BWV 1009 Hindemith: Sonata. BWV 10012 www. BWV 10011 [Cassadó: Suite] Bach: Suite No. and Purity of Intonation” Feuillard: Daily Exercises (left-hand studies) [Kummer: Ten Melodic Studies. 3 (originally for violin)] Cossmann: “Exercises for Developing Agility. but these are the ones I believe to be most important. Certainly there are many other effective or pedagogically useful works. 7] Dotzauer: 113 Studies. Some of the works in the first and easiest subdivision of technical difficulty will not often be programmed for professional-level concerts. Strength of Fingers. BWV 10010 Bach: Suite No. the Romberg Sonatas. Vol. Vol. but I have included only those that I believe have a certain universality.”) My selections for this peripheral part of the repertoire will probably generate the most difference of opinion over works included or left out. I (various composers) [Lee: 40 Melodic Studies. 11 (with 2nd cello)] [Grützmacher: Technology of Cello Playing. I (scales) Dotzauer: 113 Studies..com/layout/set/print/Repertoire/STUDIES-GUIDES/A-Guide-to-the-Standard-Cello-Repertoire 2/8 . 6 in D Major. Vol. 57 (with 2nd cello)] Dotzauer: 113 Studies. but we have a lot of wonderful music. Op. Op. Schroeder: 170 Foundation Studies. Op.12/03/13 A Guide to the Standard Cello Repertoire / STUDIES & GUIDES / Repertoire / All Things Strings category from which cellists pick and choose. 3 in C Major. 25 Crumb: Sonata Bach: Suite No. 31] [Sevcík: 40 Variations. Op. Vol. BWV 1007 Bach: Suite No. Op. “Vivaldi: 27 concertos. I A. I have listed the total number.g. Except for the études and studies. Vol. 1 Popper: High School of Cello Playing. the repertoire continues to expand as new works are written and become accepted as standard. Op. Op. the selection of short pieces is open to discussion and expansion. Vol. 4 in E<b> Major. 5 in C Minor. this is not always possible. And when adventurous cellists explore beyond the core. No. this is a list of the standard concert repertoire (although a number of études and caprices are effective in performance). III Schroeder: 170 Foundation Studies. e. 73 Piatti: 12 Caprices. 25 [Servais: Six Caprices. The standard repertoire for cello may be smaller than that of the violin or the piano. Vol. 38.allthingsstrings. BWV 1008 Bach: Suite No. 76. I present my suggestions and evaluations of commonly encountered editions of the most important repertoire in part two of this article. but selections such as the Goltermann Etude-Caprice. II [Franchome: 12 Caprices. Likewise. there is enough for several lifetimes. 2 in D Minor. How many cellists have played everything on this list? Moreover. While it would be ideal to compare all of the available editions when buying a piece of music. The Repertoire List Etudes and Studies Klengel: Technical Studies. Op. or the Gretchaninoff Suite are at least regular fare for young students’ recitals. III Duport: 21 Etudes (with 2nd cello) Popper: 12 Studies Preparatory to the High School of Cello Playing. 1 in G Major. II Schroeder: 170 Foundation Studies. Op. Op. II (with 2nd cello)] Unaccompanied Works [Gabrielli: 7 Ricecare] Bach: Suite No. Vol.

3. 69 Debussy: D Minor Mendelssohn: No. Op. 58 Beethoven: No. Op. Marcello: Six sonatas] Sammartini: G Major (probably not by G. No. No. Op. 38 Vivaldi: E Minor. 1 in E Minor. 5 (Moffat) Boccherini-Piatti: Adagio and Allegro (from the Sonata in A Major) Brahms: No. 8 Britten: Suite No. Op. Op. 43 Romberg: Three Sonatas. 45] [Kodály: Op. Op. 28] A Guide to the Standard Cello Repertoire / STUDIES & GUIDES / Repertoire / All Things Strings [Dallapiccola: Ciaccona. 87] [Reger: Three Suites. 102. No. No. 1 in C Minor. Op. 40 [Boccherini: 42 sonatas (at least this many)] [Mendelssohn: No. 1 (same as Concertino No. 8 (Lindner) [Telemann: D Major] [B. BWV 1027–1029 Barber: C Minor. 1 Breval: G Major. 5. 17. Op. 6 Shostakovich: D Minor. 5. Op. Op. F. 32] [Bridge: Sonata] Francoeur: E Major (Trowell) Beethoven: No. Nos. 72 [Sessions: Six Pieces for Solo Cello] [Ysaÿe: Sonate. 131c] [Ligeti: Sonate] [Penderecki: Capriccio for Sigfried Palm ] Sonatas Breval: C Major. 2 in D Major. 3 in A Major. Op. Op. 1–9] Eccles: G Minor Corelli: D Minor. Intermezzo & Adagio] [Britten: Suite No. 2. Sammartini) [Handel-Lindner: Three sonatas] [Beethoven: Op. “Horn Sonata”] Beethoven: Sonata in G Minor. 1.B. 38 Bach: Three Gamba Sonatas. Op. Op. Op. 40. 80. 4] [Saint-Saëns: No. 12. XIV. Op. XIV.12/03/13 Kodály: Sonata.com/layout/set/print/Repertoire/STUDIES-GUIDES/A-Guide-to-the-Standard-Cello-Repertoire 3/8 . No. Op. 5 [Vivaldi: Nine sonatas. No. Op. 5. Op. 2 Beethoven: Sonata in F Major. F. No. Op.allthingsstrings. 1 www. 1 in B<b> Major. Op. 4 in C Major. 2) [Hindemith: Kleine Sonata] Romberg: Three Sonatas. No.

No. Op. 1 in G Major] [Breval: No. 51] [Breval: No. Op. 4 in G Major. 821 Franck: A Major (Delsart) Britten: C Major. Op. Op. III. 1 in A Minor. 23] Boccherini-Grützmacher: B<b> Major Haydn: C Major. Hob. 8] [Martinu: No. 3] Beethoven: D Major. Op. 2 in D Major] [Tartini: A Major] [Tartini: D Major] [Boellmann: Symphonic Variations. 119 Rachmaninov: G Minor. Op. “Arpeggione. 14] Lalo: D Minor [Herbert: No. 19 Strauss: F Major. 2. Op. 1 in G Minor. Op. Op. 33 www. VIIb:1 [Boccherini: 12 Concerti] Saint-Saëns: No. No. Op.12/03/13 Brahms: No. VIIb:2 Tchaikovsky: Variations on a Rococo Theme. Op.” D. Op. 11. 65 Klengel: Concertino. Op. No. Op. 49 [Goltermann: No. Op. 2 Chopin: G Minor. 1 in F Major] Goltermann: No. 99 Valentini: E Major (Piatti) Prokofiev: C Major. 7 [Vivaldi: 27 concertos] Vivaldi: G Minor for Two Cellos. 2 in F Major. F.allthingsstrings. Op. Op. 36 [Dohnányi: B<b> Major. P. 6 Grieg: A Minor. Op. 102. 33 Kabalevsky: No. 2. 411 [Romberg: Concertino. 2] [Hindemith: Op. Op. 71] [Carter: Sonata] [Hindemith: Sonata (1948)] Concertos [Breval: Concertino No. 101. 65 Poulenc: Sonate Locatelli: D Major (Piatti) [Kabalevsky: B<b> Major. 1 in A Minor.com/layout/set/print/Repertoire/STUDIES-GUIDES/A-Guide-to-the-Standard-Cello-Repertoire 4/8 . Op. Hob. 30] Haydn: D Major. 65 A Guide to the Standard Cello Repertoire / STUDIES & GUIDES / Repertoire / All Things Strings Schubert: A Minor.

1940 [Britten: Symphony for Cello and Orchestra. Op. Op. 17] Beethoven: 12 Variations in G Major. 73 (Grützmacher) Schumann: Adagio and Allegro. 68] [Dutilleux: “Tout un Monde Lontain”] Suites. Op. 14] [Khachaturian: Concerto (1946)] Shostakovich: No. 102 Stravinsky: Suite Italienn Martinu: Variations on a Theme of Rossini [Bartók: First Rhapsody (also with orchestra)] www. Op. 22 [Bernstein: Three Meditations from Mass] [Walton: Concerto] Prokofiev: Sinfonie Concertante. 107 Dvorák: B Minor. 70 Haydn–Piatigorsky: Divertimento Webern: Drei Kleine Stücke. 129 Bloch: Schelomo Brahms: “Double” Concerto in A Minor. 11 [Hindemith: Variations on “A Frog He Went A-Courting”] [de Falla–Marechal: Suite Popular Espagnole] [Janácek: Prohadka] [Resphigi: Adagio con Variazioni (also with orchestra)] Schumann: Five Pieces in Folk Style.E. Op.P.allthingsstrings. Op. 126b Hindemith: Three Easy Pieces Bazelaire: Suite Française. Gretchaninov: In Early Morn. Op. Op. 1 in E<b> Major. 12] [C. 114 Couperin–Bazelaire: “Pièces en Concert” (also with string orchestra) [Mendelssohn: Variations Concertantes. Op. WoO 45 (on a theme from Handel’s Judas Maccab éus) Beethoven: 12 Variations in F Major.12/03/13 Elgar: E Minor. 102 Strauss: Don Quixote. 104 Schumann: A Minor. 85 A Guide to the Standard Cello Repertoire / STUDIES & GUIDES / Repertoire / All Things Strings [Dohnányi: Konzertstücke in D Major. Op. WoO 46 (on a theme from The Magic Flute) Schumann: Fantasy Pieces. 3] [Davidov: No. 35 Beethoven: “Triple” Concerto in C Major. Op. Op. etc. Op. Op. 2 in A Minor. Bach–Pollain: A Major] [Romberg: No. Variations.com/layout/set/print/Repertoire/STUDIES-GUIDES/A-Guide-to-the-Standard-Cello-Repertoire 5/8 . Op. 2 in D Major. Op. Op. 66 (on a theme from Mozart’s The Magic Flute) Beethoven: Seven Variations in E<b > Major. 125 Hindemith: Concerto. 56 Barber: Op. Op. Op. Op.

71 (also with orchestra) Ravel–Marechal: “Pièce en Forme de Habañera” Mendelssohn: “Song Without Words. 1 Offenbach: Musette. Op.” Op. No. Op.” Op. 7. No. 12. 23 (also with orchestra) Van Göens: Scherzo. 3 (also with orchestra) Frescobaldi–Cassadó: Toccata (probably composed by Cassadó) Bloch: Kol Nidre. No. Op. 10. 5 Tchaikovsky: Chanson Triste. 109 Popper: Hungarian Rhapsody. 2 (also with orchestra) Fauré: Elegie.12/03/13 [Piazzolla: Le Grand Tango] A Guide to the Standard Cello Repertoire / STUDIES & GUIDES / Repertoire / All Things Strings [Paganini: Moses Fantasie. 24 Squire: Danse Rustique. Op. Op. Op. 3 in D Major) Popper: “Fond Recollections. Op. 23 Cui: Orientale. Op. 19. No. Op. No. Op. Op. 77 www. 4 Senaille: Allegro Spiritoso (Trowell) Bach: Arioso (Sinfonia from Cantata No. 50.” Op. Op. 11. 68 (also with orchestra) Popper: Tarantella. No. Op. 1 Saint-Saëns: “The Swan” (from Carnival of the Animals) Saint-Saëns: Allegro Appassionato. 33 (also with orchestra) Popper: Papillon. 2) Fauré: Papillon. 43 (also with orchestra) Popper: Mazurka.” not by Pergolesi. 24 (also with orchestra) Fauré: Sicilienne. 10. 4 (also with orchestra) Chopin-Piatigorsky: Nocturne in C<#> Minor Granados–Piatigorsky: Orientale (Spanish Dance No. 156) Bach: Air (from Orchestral Suite No. 23 Davidoff: Romance sans paroles. No. Op. 64. Variations on One String on a Theme of Rossini] Short Pieces Pergolesi: “Nina” (“Tre giorni son che Nina. 24 (also with orchestra) Paradis: Sicilienne Bach-Siloti: Adagio (from Organ Toccata in C Major) Fauré-Casals: “Après un Rêve. 54. 47 (also with orchestra) Granados-Cassadó: Intermezzo (from Goyescas) Tchaikovsky: Nocturne. Op.allthingsstrings. Op. possibly composed by Ciampi) Massenet: Elegy (Melodie). Op.com/layout/set/print/Repertoire/STUDIES-GUIDES/A-Guide-to-the-Standard-Cello-Repertoire 6/8 . Op. Op. No. Op. No. No. 5 Squire: Tarantella. 20. 2 (Davidoff) Squire: Bourée. Op. Op. 9 Gabriel-Marie: “Gavotte in the Olden Style” (“La Cinquantaine”) Goltermann: Etude-Caprice. 3 Popper: Gavotte. 78 Glazunov: Chant du Menestrel.

No. 55. No.com GET IT ALL Get Strings magazine and unlimited access to AllThingsStrings. 68. Part I Top 5 Favorites: Tunes that Transcend Time 'Brahms Sonata in E Flat Major. 14 Dvorák: “Silent Woods” (“Waldesruhe”). "A Guide to the Standard Cello Repertoire.com for 12 months! www. What do you want to do? Log in using my current paid subscription account. 3 Dvorák: Rondo. 1 Tchaikovsky: “Pezzo Capriccioso. 2 Ginastera: “Pampeana” No. 34. RELATED PRODUCTS RELATED ARTICLES 'Sonatas for Violin and Piano. 2' A Who's Who for Cellists (Part Tw o) And more. No.' by Felix Mendelssohn (Bärenreiter BA 9066. which you can access with a paid site subscription.allthingsstrings.” Op. Dear Visitor. 62 (also with orchestra) Reader comments on my proposed list of cello standards are welcome. Op. No.12/03/13 A Guide to the Standard Cello Repertoire / STUDIES & GUIDES / Repertoire / All Things Strings Rachmaninov: Vocalise. 120. Op. You must be logged in to rate and comment.” Op.com/layout/set/print/Repertoire/STUDIES-GUIDES/A-Guide-to-the-Standard-Cello-Repertoire 7/8 . This article. Subscribe now and get our best offer. No. Op.” Op. 96 (also with orchestra) [Prokofiev: Adagio.” Op.950) A Who's Who for Cellists (Part One) Historical Editors of Cello and Chamber-Music Repertoire. you are seeing this message because you have not logged in. €34." is part of the Strings Archive.50 per issue! That's a savings of 58% 2 3 4 5 SUBSCRIBE TO STRINGS DIGITAL Get the video-enhanced digital edition plus unlimited access to AllThingsStrings. 2 Chopin–Feuermann: Introduction and Polonaise Brillante. Op. Log in or Subscribe now. 97bis (from Romeo and Juliet)] Popper: “Elfentanz. If you have a paid subscription. 39 (also with orchestra) Popper: “Spinning Song. 5 (also with orchestra) Weber–Piatigorsky: Adagio & Rondo Foss: Capriccio Cassadó: “Requiebros” Boccherini: Rondo in C Major Haydn-Piatti: Minuet (from Sonata in C Major) Rimsky-Korsakov: “Flight of the Bumble Bee” (from Tsar Sultan) Davidov: “At the Fountain. Op. 1 SUBSCRIBE AND SAVE Pay only $2. 20. Op.

com/layout/set/print/Repertoire/STUDIES-GUIDES/A-Guide-to-the-Standard-Cello-Repertoire 8/8 .allthingsstrings.12/03/13 A Guide to the Standard Cello Repertoire / STUDIES & GUIDES / Repertoire / All Things Strings Submit Submit Submit www.

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