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The Violoncello and the Romantic

Era: 1820-1920

First Investigations

Part I: Remembered and Influential Cellists

Interlude: A Recital of Early Nineteenth Century Cello Music

Part II: A Survey of Current Cello Teachers on Romantic


Repertoire and Aesthetics

Supplement: Portamento in Violoncello Technique:


A Study of Early Recordings

Part III: The Composer-Performer Relationship

by Alexandra Roedder

University of California, Berkeley


May 2004
Foreword

This project sprang from a mild annoyance: I was almost finished with my sophomore year
at Berkeley, and couldn’t find a clean fingering for the last movement of the Brahms F major cello
sonata. No matter what I tried, there was always an audible slide somewhere. I remember a vague
moment wondering, “How did they do it, the famous cellists back then?”
I knew next to nothing about performance practice - to me, a harpsichord was that annoying
tinkly thing in the background on the radio. I was simply frustrated that I, a decent cellist, living in
the 21st century, with the latest cello equipment and technique, could not manage to clean up a few
shifts.
But the wondering of how they managed stayed, and I thought that, since I had two more
years left at Berkeley, I would start a big project that would ensure me an interesting honors thesis
and a thick portfolio for my graduate school applications. My idea was to write a paper about
performance practice on the cello from the late 17th century until Yo-Yo Ma’s rise to popularity. I
hear you laughing. Far too ambitious, I realize now.
Luckily, I discovered in the library that someone had already done the first hundred years
for me: Valerie Walden, in her One Hundred Years of Violoncello, covers technical and aesthetic
aspects of cello playing between 1740 and 1840. My first thought was that I would call my book
The Next Hundred Years of Violoncello.
I really didn’t know where to start, so, armed with recommendations from my professors, I
began looking at both performers and at the instrument. Reading about performers led to Part I,
while looking at the instruments made me realize that it was within my grasp, thanks to a number of
grants. I managed to receive two grants for the cello bow, and promptly gave a recital of Beethoven
and Romberg, with gut-strung cello and fortepiano.
I was awarded a Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship for the summer of 2003, and,
with that money, sent out a massive number of surveys to teachers across the United States. I asked
various questions about how they taught vibrato, what music they taught, how they used history in
their teaching, and so forth. Then results comprise Part II and its appendix.
Then came the point of no return. I had a trust fund from my grandfather that was
earmarked for purchasing a cello, and my parents and I had always thought that I would sell my old
cello and buy an older one once I’d finished college. But since beginning my investigations into
performance practice, I had stumbled upon an entire world that I never knew was there, and was
hooked! I had gone to concerts, talked with performers, and taken a semester of “Baroque
Performance Practice” to learn more about phrasing, rhythm, and improvisation in the eighteenth
century. The real clincher was thinking how much easier the Bach Suites might be with a baroque
setup.
I went for it, and used my small inheritance to commission my very own baroque cello from
a new maker in Spain. It arrived on my 22nd birthday, and I fell in love.
The final part of the paper, on composer-performer relationships, is quite different from
what I had initially envisioned. I found that the type of analysis I wanted to do on all the anecdotes
I’d gathered and the details jiggling in my head that were hinting at something deeper was not
harmonic analysis - it was social analysis. So Part III of this project has no musical examples,
although it references a number of works. Instead, it focuses on how composers and performers
viewed each other, and on what physical evidence (works) can show us of this relationship.
I would like to thank Richard Taruskin for pushing me through this, by being completely
unwavering in his expectations that I would produce something good; Davitt Moroney, for all the
last-minute letters of recommendation and the hours of good advice received over email and in
person; the music department, for encouraging me through numerous grants and awards; Elisabeth
Le Guin, the baroque cellist-musicologist, who, ever since I saw her perform the D major Bach
Suite on a five-string cello, became my first ever role model. I would like to also thank my parents,
who did not squawk even the slightest when they realized I was dropping my sensible science major
to do music but kept on encouraging me as though I were being completely practical; and last but
not least David, for being my David.

Alexandra Roedder
May 3, 2004
Alexandra Roedder
Music 199 (Independent Study Project)
Richard Taruskin
UC Berkeley - Fall 2002

The Violoncello and the Romantic Era: 1820-1920


Part I - Remembered and Influential Cellists

In the midst of the political upheavals and aesthetic struggles of the nineteenth century, musicians
were still needed and wanted throughout Europe and America. Several music schools had recently been
formed in Europe’s major cities, following the foundation of the Paris Conservatoire in 1795: Prague,
1811, Vienna, 1817; London, 1822; Brussels, 1831; Leipzig, 1843.1 Many of the cellists making their way
in the world during the latter half of the nineteenth century were the first products of these schools. They
knew each other from classes and student orchestras, performed together at end-of-year recitals, and
exchanged information more easily than previous generations had. As such, the technical experimentation
that characterized the previous century disappeared, to be replaced in many countries with a more
homogenized method of playing.
Several cellists marked significant developments during these years. Some were primarily popular
touring artists, some teachers, others wanted to raise the standards by which cello playing was judged.
Grove’s A Dictionary of Music and Musicians, first edition (1880), provides an insight into the period in
the article, “violoncello-playing.” Among its highlights are the mention of Duport as working out the true
method of violoncello-playing; that Servais, mentioned as the greatest master of “all the effects
producible,” “was an innovator in every sense of the word: never, before him, had the Violoncello yielded
such effects.”
Also:
The English players who have left the greatest name are Crosdill and Lindley. Among living
players the name of Signor Piatti should be mentioned as a master in all styles, equally admirable
in the severest classical music and in the brilliant technical effects which are embodied in some of
his own compositions. Grützmacher, Davidoff, the Hausmanns, and our own Edward Howell,
must also be named...Perhaps the best known among special writers for the instrument is
Goltermann, who wrote many sonatas, and concertos...many of his works possess considerable
musical as well as technical interest. Besides Goltermann, there may be mentioned Popper, a
living violoncellist of good repute, Dunkler, and Signor Piatti, who, besides being the author of
several original compositions, has rendered good service to the musical world by his admirable
editions, with pianoforte accompaniments, of the Sonatas of Marcello and Boccherini.2

1
New Harvard Dictionary of Music, ed D. Randel. Harvard University Press, Cambridge, 1986.
2
Parrett, W. “Violoncello-Playing,” A Dictionary of Music and Musicians. ed G. Grove. Oxford, 1880. (vol. 4, pp 299-
301)
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This article gives a view into the state of musical life in 1880, and in particular tells us which players were
the most famous of the times. Many of the names mentioned, such as Crosdill, Howell, and Dunkler, are
unfamiliar today.
The cello was not a popular instrument in the early nineteenth century. There were very few
amateur cellists at that time, and they neither played nor wrote concertos. Most cellists were passionate
professionals, converted from the violin either by chance (for example, the only scholarships available at the
Conservatoire were for cello) or from hearing another cellist play (as Adrien Servais did, upon hearing
Nicholas Platel (1777-1835), one of the cello professors at the Brussels Conservatoire).

Sebastian Lee (1805-1887) was born in Germany, and trained in Germany under Johann Nicolaus
Prell, a pupil of Bernhard Romberg (1767-1841). However, he worked mostly in Paris as solo cellist with
the Grand Opera Orchestra. Appointed in 1837, he held the post for over 30 years. In 1845 he published
Ecole de Violoncelliste, which was dedicated to the cello professor at the Conservatoire, Pierre Norblin, and
was accepted at the Conservatoire as a manual. Ecole consists of over a dozen duets. Rather than one
difficult and one simple part, which allows either for teacher observation of the student or for a less
advanced pupil to accompany and thus experience playing together, they contain two independently
complicated parts, in different ranges. Musically, they seem trite, using clichéd rhythms and stock melodic
gestures.
Lee is remembered today because of these etudes, which are still used by a significant fraction of
teachers.

Adrien François Servais (1807-1866) originally studied violin, but after hearing Nicolas Platel
play, he abandoned it for the cello. Although his playing did not attract much attention in his home of
Belgium, in 1834 and 1835 he caused sensations in Paris and London. Servais succeeded Platel at the
Brussels Conservatoire following the elder’s death in 1848. While he continued to travel during his time
teaching, his tours were less frequent.
His playing was widely acclaimed as being equal to that of Paganini. Servais, like other cellists who
had begun on the violin, placed his left hand on the fingerboard in a manner similar to violinists. Servais’
compositions, while used only teaching purposes today, are historically important. As already mentioned
by Grove above, his compositions were considered innovative and brought out an incredibly variety of
effects possible on the instrument.
One of his most widely performed pieces was his Souvenir de Spa op. 2, a rather extensive virtuosic
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work. It opens with a fanfare-like rhythm, then progresses into a melodious, recitative-like section. The
melodic gesture eventually concludes with a cadenza leading into the first variation. Each of the variations
is uniquely virtuosic, but not particularly inventive by today’s standards. The piece is overly long, and
assuredly more fun to play than to listen to. Numerous biographies give this work an aura of extreme
difficulty and “top of the heap,” such as that which surrounds the Dvorák Concerto today. It is listed as
being played at the debut recital of many young cellists of the day. It is also still in publication.
Servais was criticized towards the end of his life (c. 1865) for his over-romantic playing and
“unending sugary vibrato,” a result perhaps of the singing tone he so carefully cultivated. However, in any
discussion of aesthetics, one is faced with the problem that times have changed: “too much vibrato” could
be relative to a standard of no or very little vibrato.
Servais played on a 1701 Stradivari large-pattern cello; it is one of the few Strads that has not
undergone reduction and is today in its original size. He is also credited apocryphally with the invention of
the endpin; legend has it that in his old age Servais grew very fat and could not hold the cello properly.

Pierre Alexandre Chevillard (1811-1877), although born in Belgium, studied at the Paris
Conservatoire with {??} Norblin (dates) beginning in 1820. Besides being an excellent player, Chevillard
tried to interest Paris in Beethoven’s late string quartets. Most of his colleagues were not interested;
however, in the 1850s he eventually formed a string quartet with three musicians who shared his desires:
Pierre Maurin, Sabbatier, and Mas (first names unknown). Their successful private concerts led to an
invitation to play at the Salle Pleyel, and soon to a German tour, presumably playing the Beethoven
quartets.
Chevillard succeeded {??} Vaslin (dates) as professor at the Paris Conservatoire in 1859. Grove’s
dictionary (1880) mentions his name in the article about the Conservatoire: “Among the professors who
have charge of such classes just enumerated, we find such names as Masse, Franchomme, Chevillard, Rene
Baillot.... and many of the most celebrated artists.”3

Alexander Batta (1816-1902), like Servais, started on the violin but switched to cello after hearing
Platel perform. He attained his first prize from the Brussels Conservatoire in 1834. While in Paris, Batta
heard the famous tenor {??} Rubini (dates), who, like many of his day, used overt slides and lots of rubato.
Van der Straeten writes, “Batta copied his [Rubini’s] faults as well as his admirable qualities, adding an
affected and coquettish mannerism which pleased the Parisians, and particularly the society ladies, making
3
Chouquet, G. “Conservatoire de Musique,” A Dictionary of Music and Musicians. 1880 (vol. 1, p. 382)
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him the lion of the day.”4
Batta’s own biographical sketches in both van der Straeten and Campbell (although Campbell’s is
nothing more than a reduction of van der Straeten’s) mention nothing about his collaboration with Liszt:
Liszt’s “Lettres d’un bachelier-ès-musique” of February 12 [1842] called Paris “a living chaos in
which brutal passions, hypocritical vices, and shameless ambitions clash and struggle, wild to
destroy each other.” This perhaps meant that Thalberg was back in the city and Liszt wild to
destroy him. ...an article in the Gazette Musicale which he instigated and partly wrote was a
savage attack on Thalberg. His compositions were pretentious, vain, boring...Next, he scheduled a
set of concerts that far surpassed in seriousness, novelty and splendor anything Thalberg could have
mustered and announced them aggressively as follows: “M. Liszt will give in the salons M. Erard
his first evening of instrumental music. The object of these sessions is to make known the works
of the grande école of the piano, too often disfigured by incompetent executants.”

The concerts (January 28 and February 4, 11 and 18) were unique in their time. His friends Urhan
and Batta took respectively the violin and cello parts and the programs included five Beethoven
trios never, it appears, heard before in Paris, sonatas for piano and violin, Chopin etudes, Schubert
lieder... The critics were stunned. “An unheard-of thing,” wrote Legouvé,5 “a trio, a simple trio
that lasts forty-five minutes, was listened to ... with no other interruption that the murmurs of
enthusiasm repressed for fear of losing a single note....The battle is won...the lesson has been
learned! and if we use the word lesson, it is because it is the only one that can give the particular
character of these performances.”6

Batta also collaborated with a minor composer of the nineteenth century, Edward Wolff (1816-
1880), to write three duos for cello and piano. However, Batta is remembered mostly because of the
Stradivari cello that now bears his name – a Golden Age (1700-c. 1720) instrument dated 1714.

Campbell considers Alfredo Piatti (1822-1901) to be “By far the most important of the
nineteenth-century Italian cellists.” Grove (1880) goes further, and devotes a complete column to his
biography:
...it is not too much to say that he has a reputation surpassed by that of no other musical artist.
With an absolute command of over all the technical difficulties of his instrument Piatti combines a
faultless intonation and a rare purity of tone which, without any apparent exertion, never fails to
sufficiently assert itself in the most delicate passages, while the exquisite taste with which he
‘phrases’ invests the simplest melody with infinite charm.7

Eduard Hanslick, a contemporary music critic, is quoted in van der Straeten as saying, “The method
of the virtuoso, pure and simple, is never allowed by Piatti to stand in the way when it is necessary to
perform a simple cantilena; .. there is a complete absence of that horrible sentimentality which is so often
found among violoncellists. When rendering an adagio, too, that perpetual vibrato, which with many passes
for feeling, is quite absent in the case of Piatti.”
4
van der Straeten, History of the Violoncello. William Reeves, London, 1914. (p. 562)
5
The source does not identify Legouvé further: presumably this is Ernest Legouvé, the playwright.
6
Perenyi, E. Liszt: the Artist as Romantic Hero. Little, Brown, & Company, Boston, 1974.
7
Hudson, T. P. “Piatti.” A Dictionary of Music and Musicians. 1880. (vol. 2, p. 746)
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It is a common misconception that the use of vibrato increased in a steady line from the Baroque
period onwards, in conjuction with the advent of widespread steel string usage. However, this review,
printed in 1858, is nearly contemporary with the criticism of Servais’ “unending sugary vibrato.” Servais
predates Piatti by about 15 years, which shows that the question of vibrato is a complicated one of personal
and audience taste.
As a teenager, Piatti’s public performances were so successful that he embarked on a European
tour. But during that tour he was taken ill and had to sell his cello to pay for food and lodgings until he
was well enough to leave. On his way home in 1843, he encountered Liszt, who invited him to share a
concert in Munich on a borrowed instrument. The event was a success, and Liszt organized further
concerts in Paris 1844, around which time he presented Piatti with an Amati cello. Also in 1844 was
Piatti’s London debut, to which the critics wrote, “Piatti’s magnificent violoncello playing won universal
admiration, by the perfection of his tone and his evident command over all the intricacies of the
instrument.”8
While traveling Great Britain in 1844, Piatti visited Dublin, where he first saw the Stradivari cello
that now bears his name. It wasn’t until its owner, Pigott (then a well-known Dublin cellist), died, that Piatti
was able to own it:
I was agreeably surprised on immediately recognising my former acquaintance [visiting the new
owner, Baron Nathaniel Rothschild], and great was my chagrin at not being in a position to
purchase it; I simply had not the means to do so. Happening to call upon Maucotel, the violin-
maker, I talked about the instrument, and strongly urged him to see it and try to buy it. He
followed my advice, and after some bargaining became its owner at the very modest figure of 300.
It remained only a short time in his hands, as at my suggestion he offered it for 350 to Colonel
Oliver, who accepted it; this took place in 1853. A short time afterwards J.B. Vuillaume came to
London, and hearing through Maucotel of the cello, called upon its owner and there and then made
an offer of 800 for it, but the colonel refused to sell. I was a frequent visitor at the house, and
often played upon the Stradivari. I used to restring it; in fact, looked upon it as if it had been my
own child! One day – a day graven in my memory – in 1867, I was as usual at the colonel’s
house, and was playing on and comparing the three violoncellos he possessed – an Antonio and
Hieronymus Amati, a Montagnana and the Stradivari. The Colonel suddenly said to me: ‘Which
do you prefer?’ Laughingly I answered: ‘One cannot have a doubt – the Stradivari.’ ‘Take it
home,’ was his rejoinder. I felt so embarrassed by what appeared to me a sudden resolve that I
politely declined, and in due time took my leave and went home. To my astonishment, though –
and I must say it was of a joyful nature – the Stradivari followed in my wake.9

While officially a professor at the Royal Academy of Music in London, most of his teaching was
private to fit around his hectic concert schedule. Some of his more famous pupils were Robert Hausmann,
Hugo Becker, Leo Stern, and William Whitehouse.
As in the case of other cellists of his era, few of his compositions are still performed publicly, or

8
Campbell, M. The Great Cellists. Victor Golantz Ltd, London, 1988. (p. 111)
9
quoted in Hill, Antonio Stradivari: His Life and Work (1644-1737). Dover Publications, New York, 1963.
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even known. However, there are 2001 editions of both his Notturno in F and his Variations on a Theme
from Lucia di Lammermoor, a popular Donizetti opera based on a lurid Sir Walter Scott novel. In
addition, Piatti’s Caprices, widely available, are still used as both etudes and recital works.
His lasting important contribution to cello repertoire was arranging and publishing works by 18th
century composers. According to Campbell, his goal was to bring cello music out of the mud of “salon
and empty virtuoso music”10 . Unlike Grützmacher, who also published first editions of previously
obscure composers, Piatti tried to stay as faithful to the original as possible. The piano parts adhere to the
original figured bass, and he kept the bowing and fingering indications to a minimum. Piatti’s interest in
early music eventually led to a meeting with Arnold Dolmetsch (1858-1940), one of the pioneers of that
field.

Bernhard Cossmann (1823-1911), was a student of {??} Dreschler (dates), who in turn was a
student of {??} Dotzauer (dates). Campbell writes that his studies, still in use today, are the only reason
why he is known. Cossmann’s career was fairly typical of cello virtuosos: he was principal cellist of
several orchestras (Theatre Italien in Paris, Gewandhaus Concerts at Leipzig, the Weimar Orchestra); he
underwent several European tours with Brahms, Hans von Bülow, and the Austrian soprano Pauline Lucca.
However, Cossmann was best known in his time for his chamber music playing; Joachim, Laub, Singer,
and other great violinists were at times leaders of his quartet.

Friedrich Wilhelm Grützmacher (1832-1903), also a student of Dreschler, is well remembered


by musicologists for his mutilations of many of the classical works. Perhaps the most famous incident is
that of the “Boccherini” Concerto in B-flat, which Grützmacher created by taking samples from four
different works and pasting them together; unfortunately, the edition is still in widespread use today.
The positive aspect of Grützmacher’s creativity is that he brought Boccherini into the public view.
Without this attention, the composer would have been remembered for very little. Grützmacher also
reorganized, rearranged, and recomposed the Bach Cello Suites by adding chords, passages, and
embellishments to form a “concert” edition. Like Piatti, Grützmacher wished to extend the cello repertoire
by replacing trite drawing-room pieces with classics, albeit mutilated, disfigured classics that still show
evidence of the tastes of the time.
Grove (1880), not as meticulous as we are now about historical practice, mentions, “We are also
indebted to him for many careful editions of standard works (Beethoven’s Sonatas for Pianoforte and
10
Campbell, op. cit. (p. 113)
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Cello, Romberg’s Concertos, Boccherini’s Sonatas, etc., etc.) and for the revival of some forgotten works
of considerable interest.”11 This listing of Romberg’s Concertos as “standard” is amusing, as, 120 years
later, very few teachers use them even as student concertos. Grützmacher was employed at the Leipzig
Conservatory from 1850-1860, where he succeeded Cossmann, and at the Dresden Conservatory from
1877 until his death.

Karl Davydov (1838-89), inherited his Stradivari cello (known as the “Davydov,” the same cello
which was anonymously given to a young Jacqueline du Pre) from Count Mathieu Wielhorsky, a Russian
aristocrat. Because his parents wished him to complete his formal education before beginning a musical
career, Davydov completed a math degree at St. Petersburg Univerisity. He then began composition studies
with Moritz Hauptmann in Leipzig, with ambitions to be a composer. However, when asked to substitute
for Grützmacher in Leipzig at a Mendelssohn trio, he was an instant success.
At the age of 22, he succeeded Grützmacher at the Leipzig Conservatoire as cello professor.
Davydov’s studies in math and composition contributed a great deal to his work on the development of
cello technique. In particular, he discovered that virtuoso passages, like those in the Romberg concertos,
sounded best when played on the A and D strings, and that the C and G strings should only be played
within the lower octave. He would advise his students to listen to and observe the best violinists; Campbell
has suggested that perhaps this was done not so much for technique as for phrasing and tone.
Davydov’s compositions, like Servais’, attempt to experiment with cellistic technique. [[ His At the
Fountain (part of op. 20) particularly comes to mind. In a fairly standard style, Davydov uses flashy
sixteenth notes, running up and down the fingerboard, to frame a singing melody. The work requires not
only finger technique, but also a solid spiccato stroke to keep the sixteenths even throughout the 3-minute
piece.]]

David Popper (1843-1913) is best remembered by modern cellists for the aformentioned pieces.
These virtuosic works, apart from still being popular today – many debut recitals conclude with a
performance of his Hungarian Rhapsody or his Tarantella – were among the first to be transposed up by
violinists, as opposed to the other way around. His other compositions, including four concertos, are not
fully forgotten, especially his Hochschule das Violoncellspiels (c. 1900). This series of chromatic etudes
can, when tackled with relish, train the left hand to jump faultlessly from position to position without
trouble, as well as train the ear to hear such jumps easily. They are, in some sense, a culmination of the
11
Hudson, T. P., “Grützmacher.” A Dictionary of Music and Musicians. 1880 (vol. 1, pp 634-635)
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technique necessary for nineteenth century music.
Born into the impoverished family of a Jewish Cantor in Prague, Popper was surrounded by a
musical and artistic family:
In the dimly lit room of the Popper home there were frequent gatherings of family and friends
around the piano. David could recollect hearing the singing of beautiful songs at such times, and
his enjoyment in the songs of Schubert, Schumann, and Mendelssohn, and the great lyrics from
poems of Goethe, Heine, Lenau, Schiller and Ruckert, and the works of many other composers and
poets.1 2

As a child prodigy (he could sing on pitch at three and was improvising at the piano at age five), he
received early lessons on the violin. His parents encouraged his talent, knowing that a practical skill, such
as violin-playing, would open up possibilities for earning a living – there were many state and municipal
orchestras, as well as the private bands of the remaining nobles.
At twelve, he auditioned and was admitted to the Prague Conservatoire on the condition that he take
up the cello rather than the violin; the director of the conservatoire, Johann Friedrich Kittl (1809-1868), was
training musicians for the National Theatre, the Opera, and the Philharmonic Orchestra, and there was a
shortage of cellists. Popper studied at Prague under Goltermann, a student of Kummer in Dresden, who
was in turn a pupil of Dotzauer.
His performance of the newly composed Volkmann Concerto in A minor in 1864 opened up a
world of possiblities to him as critics praised his talent and exceptional promise. In 1867, Popper first
appeared in Vienna; a year later he was engaged as principal cellist to the Imperial Opera Orchestra, a post
previously held by such famous figures as Nicolaus Kraft and Joseph Merk. Another performance of the
Volkmann Concerto in 1868 produced praise from Herman Starcke in the Neue Zeitschrift fur Musik:
“Vienna has had, until now, no cello to boast about, and none was received with such enthusiasm, other
than some foreign artists who appeared on transitory visits. We can congratulate ourselves on the recent
acquisition of this artist.”13
When Liszt’s newly formed Hungarian Academy (formed in 1875 to compete with the young-
talent-draining conservatories of Vienna, St. Petersburg, Leipzig, and Paris) started a string department,
Popper was appointed its first cello professor. With Jeno Hubay, the young violinist who headed the string
department, Popper formed the Budapest Quartet.
Besides being a virtuoso cellist, Popper was an excellent pianist, often accompanying his students,
by heart if no music was present.
Stephen De’ak, Popper’s student and biographer, mentions, “It was my privilege to witness the exit
12
De’ak, S, David Popper. Paganiniana Publications, Neptune City, 1980. (p 30)
13
ibid, p. 119
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of an era which was fast vanishing and the beginning of a new musical approach: the uncompromising
submission and sublimation of the artist to the will and ideas of the composer.”14
Regarding Casals, a young emerging performer towards the end of Popper’s life, De’ak relates an
experience at one of Casals’ early concerts:
We sat in the upper loge, in relative privacy. During the concert I watched Popper’s reaction. His
serious appraisal of the performance showed in the expression of his face, and he applauded after
each number. But a slight puzzlement veiled the otherwise interested countenance. The striking
difference between the prevailing bowing with loose wrist and straight thumb, and Casals’ bowing,
seemed most obvious when he played at the upper part of the bow without lowering his wrist, and
compensated by the gradual pronation and elevation of his arm. But the upper arm position was
radically altered when the bow was applied on the ‘C’ string. It was drawn in close to the body,
with wrist fairly straight...

Another first impression was Casals’ limited use of slides. These were accepted by nineteenth
century string players as a technical device for large leaps, as well as for intensely expressive
effects, without regard for the distortion of musical playing.

Casals had developed his unique style with an unconventional kind of fingerings which, amond
other things, employed frequent extensions. We were surprised and struck by his performance.
His bowings and fingerings combined in the production of a flawless technical brilliance and a
luminous tone, with infinite degrees of dynamic variation.1 5

Thus we find a first-hand account that appears to name Casals as the initiator of a new school of
cello playing.

Jules de Swert (1843-91) was Servais’ most prominent pupil at the conservatoire, where he was
“Laureat,” or head of the class, at fourteen. He lived a successful solo career, as well as performing
chamber music with Clara Schumann and Leopold Auer. In Bayreuth, at Wagner’s request, he formed the
orchestra for the controversial Das Ring des Nibelungen cycle performances of 1876, sitting principal
cellist. Strangely, though, no mention of him can be found in the standard Wagner texts.

Karl Friedrich Wilhelm Fitzenhagen (1848-1890) studied under Theodore Muller, cellist of the
Muller quartet, and under Grützmacher in Dresden, where Fitzenhagen was also engaged at the Chapel
Royal. Despite an offer of Liszt’s to join the orchestra in Weimar following a performance at the
Beethoven Festival in 1870, Fitzenhagen took up an appointment as professor at the Imperial Conservatoire
in Moscow. During this time, he was regarded as the premier cello professor in Russia.
Fitzenhagen’s eternal contribution to the cello literature is his re-ordering of Tchaikovsky’s
Variations on a Rococo Theme, op. 33, which was dedicated to him in 1877. Tchaikovsky sent him the

14
ibid, p. 238
15
ibid, p. 240
Cellists - 9
music, giving him freedom in modifying the solo cello part; but when the variations were to be printed in
full score in 1889, anecdote has it that Anatoly Brandoukov (a student of Fitzenhagen’s, to whom in 1887
Tchaikovsky dedicated the Pezzo Capriccioso with similar freedom of modification) was visiting
Tchaikovsky and found him in a bad mood. According to legend, the composer showed him the music,
saying, “That idiot Fitzenhagen’s been here. Look what he’s done to my piece – he’s altered everything!”
Fitzenhagen had chosen to stun the audience by switching the third variation and the seventh, and
doing away with the eighth. This way the stormy, virtuosic D minor variation came as a brilliant finale.
Brandoukov asked Tchaikovsky what he was going to do about it, but the composer retored, “The devil
take it! Let it stand as it is!” perhaps because Fitzenhagen had written him about the “furore” he had
created with the variations, and that Liszt was thoroughly pleased and had even commented, “Now there, at
last, is real music!”16 Some cellists nowadays, such as Steven Isserlis, are trying to undo Fitzenhagen’s
tampering, but the majority of recordings and editions still use his ordering.

Robert Hausmann (1852-1909) is considered by all the biographers as one of the great chamber-
music players of the second half of the nineteenth century. A student first of Theodore and then Wilhelm
Müller, Hausmann succeeded the latter in his post as first professor of cello at the Berlin Hochschule
(founded in 1869; Hausmann was one of its first pupils). Joseph Joachim, violin professor there, took
Hausmann to London, where the cellist met and studied with Piatti. Hausmann joined the Joachim Quartet
in 1878, succeeding Wilhelm Müller, and stayed with them until the violinist’s death in 1907. (The
Joachim Quartet in London was a different group, of which Piatti was the cellist, which performed regularly
at the Monday and Saturday Popular Concerts, and was responsible for performing the late Beethoven
string quartets for the first time in public in London.)
Hausmann premiered and was the dedicatee of many works which have persisted in the popular
repertoire today: the Brahms Double Concerto, Brahms’ F Major Sonata, and Max Bruch’s Kol Nidrei.
He also published an edition of the Bach Suites which is supposedly closer to the original text than those
of his contemporaries.
Hausmann’s 1724 Stradivari still bears his name.

Johann Klingenberg, also born in 1852 (d. 1905), held several important positions in ducal bands
at Wiesbaden and Brunswick, but focused mainly on editing music. He can be solely remembered for his
Dotzauer-Klingenberg tutor, which organizes the Dotzauer etudes progressively and incorporates a few
16
Campbell, M. op. cit. (p. 76)
Cellists - 10
Duport etudes, and is perhaps the most thorough work ever compiled. The very first etude begins with a C
major scale, rhythmically altered, and progresses gradually into G major; the middle and last portions are
some basic string crossings using simple arpeggiations. After this easy introduction to the first position,
the tutor continues (in first position) to introduce several types of bowing – spiccato, legato (using different
length bows, as in #3). By the fifth etude, the fingers are learning to extend. And so on, throughout the
four volumes, new concepts are introduced gradually and simply, interspersing bow technique with left
hand, all the time using dynamics to build a sense of musicality about the etudes. Perhaps the only
drawback about the Dotzauer etudes themselves is their lack of harmonic inventiveness and the strange
voice-leadings that often occur. However, they remain widely used by modern cello teachers, especially in
the Klingenberg edition.

Joseph Hollman (1852-1927) first studied under Servais at Brussels, then later with Leon
Jacquard in Paris. He toured Europe and gave concerts in London with Saint-Saëns (van der Straeten,
writing in 1914 remarks twice that they are still “fresh within the memory of music-lovers.”) Saint-Saëns’
second cello concerto (1902) was dedicated to Hollman.
While contemporary critics adored his power and technique (even Bernard Shaw, not an admirer of
the cello, had something kind to say about Hollman), Pierre Fournier, who lived above the Hollmans in
Paris, remarked,
The instrument grated, blew, boomed, whistled, wheezed, coughed and sometimes even sneezed. In
short, all the symptoms of a head cold were accurately parodied by the bow of Monsieur
Hollman.1 7

Hans (Hanus) Wihan (1855-1920), studied under Franz Hegenbarth in Prague and completed
his studies under Davydov, whose free movement of the right arm he admired for its production of a more
natural sound. His career followed a normal path, holding several orchestra appointments. He formed a
close friendship with Liszt while at Weimar and was admired by Wagner, von Bülow, and Richard Strauss,
all of whom he met while soloist of the court orchestra at Munich. Strauss’ Romance is dedicated to
Wihan.
He had a close connection with Czech music and had contacts with Dvorák and Smetana. Wihan
founded in 1891 the Czech String Quartet, which stayed together for over 40 years and was considered one
of the greatest of the era. Dvorák wrote his Rondo Op. 94 for Wihan, as well as the cello part in the
Dumky Piano Trio and the Cello Concerto. However, due to scheduling conflicts, Wihan was unable to
perform the concerto for its first public appearance (the honor went rather to Leo Stern in 1896), instead
17
Campbell, M. op. cit. (p. 86)
Cellists - 11
performing it first at a private house in August 1895, then in 1899 in the Hague, in Amsterdam, and in
Budapest, with Dvorák conducting.
Correspondence between Dvorák and his publishers reveals that Wihan, in reading over the
concerto before its publication, made some modifications to it, including adding a cadenza in the fourth
movement:
I have had some differences of opinion with Friend Wihan on account of a number of places. I do
not like some of the passages – and I must insist on my work being printed as I have written it.
The passages in question can be printed in two versions, an easier and a more difficult version. I
shall only then give you the work if you promise not to allow anybody to make changes – Friend
Wihan not excepted – without my knowledge and consent – and also not the Cadenza which Wihan
has added to the last movement...I told Wihan straight away when he showed it to me that it was
impossible to stick such a bit on.1 8

The fact that Wihan attempted to add a cadenza on to the concerto speaks strongly to the fact that
they were still standard fare, while the conflict arising from that indicates that Dvorák felt his work to be
untouchable, an entity in and of itself, separate from the artist’s interpretation. (For more on this, see Part
III.)

Julius Klengel (1859-1933) grew up in a musical family and studied cello with Emil Hegar, a
student of Grützmacher and Davidov. In 1874 he joined the Gewandhaus Orchestra, becoming principal in
1881. He remained with the orchestra for 50 years, working sometimes under Wilhelm Furtwangler
(1886-1954), one of the great conductors of the early twentieth century.
Klengel is mostly remembered as a teacher, however, and his etudes and technical studies are still
widely used today. As his pupils, he had some of the most famous names remembered today: Feuermann,
Piatigorsky, Stutschewsky, Kurtz, Suggia, Grummer, and Pleeth. He was much loved by his students, as
attested by Piatigorsky in his autobiography:
Julius Klengel was short and old. His beard was stained around his mouth from smoking cigars.
He smoked one when I met him. His eyes laughed. He did not ask what I would like to play; he
just went to the piano and began the Haydn Concerto [D major – the C major was not discovered
until mid-century]. We went through the entire work and he was pleased to hear me play his
cadenzas...

I moved into the Hartung boardinghouse, where many of Klengel’s students stayed. It was
inexpensive and the landlady, Frau Hartung, didn’t mind our practising at all hours of the day.
Even those students who lived elsewhere came often to Hartung’s. They did so on the advice of
Klengel, who wanted us to learn from each other. His system was simple. He would remark,
‘Schneider’s vibrato is marvelous.’ Everyone would come to “spy” on Schneider’s vibrato. To
Schneider he would say, ‘Auber’s trill is the best.’ It worked. The students, though jealous,
learned from each other and made progress. I marveled at Klengel’s art of teaching by really not
teaching. At lessons one seldom heard suggestions or discourses on music from him. He let a
18
Sourek, Otakar. Antonin Dvorák: Letters and Reminiscences. transl. by Samsour, R.F. Da Capo Press, New York,
1985. p 184.
Cellists - 12
student play a piece to the end and said, ‘Fine’ or in a severe case, ‘Watch your left arm, young
man.’1 9

As part of his regular teaching repertoire he included the Bach Suites (of which he produced an
edition) and the Beethoven sonatas. The inclusion of the Bach suites sheds doubt on the myth that Casals
“rediscovered” them.

William Whitehouse (1859-1935) is considered to be Piatti’s favorite pupil, even though he only
studied with Piatti for one year. Whitehouse taught at the Royal Academy of Music, the Royal College of
Music, and King’s College, Cambridge. Whitehouse was highly regarded for both his solo and chamber
performances, and often deputized for Piatti (under the deputy system, an orchestral player who had
another engagement the night of a performance or rehearsal could send a deputy to take his place). He
played with Joachim, and toured as “The London Trio” with Simonetti and the pianist Amina Goodwin.
His students are recognizable names of the early twentieth century: Salmond, Withers, Evans, Kate Ould,
Beatrice Evelyn, and Beatrice Harrison.

Hugo Becker (1864-1941) began on violin and piano, but fell in love with the cello at the age of
nine and studied under Kanut Kundinger, a musician at Mannheim. Coming from a musical family, like
Klengel, he had considerable experience playing chamber music with his relatives, and even toured with his
father, brother and sister in 1880, as the “Becker Family Quartet.” His father is listed as an “eminent
violin-player” in the 1880 Grove.20 In Frankfurt he was solo cellist of the opera orchestra and first teacher
of cello and chamber music director at the Hochschule there. He toured extensively throughout Europe and
toured the US in 1900-01, and deputized for Piatti in London, eventually replacing him. Becker achieved a
great reputation as a teacher, even though he was often overly pedantic. He played in some famous
chamber ensembles, with such people as Ysaye and Busoni, Dohnanyi and Marteau, and Schnabel and
Flesch.
His playing was considered by one Russian critic to be classic rather than romantic, pointing out his
timing and the ease of his technique. Von Bülow, a close friend, considered Becker’s playing to be
“virile,” which was a considerable turn-around from the general view of the cello as “an instrument of the
soul.” His book, Technique and Aesthetics of Violoncello Playing, written in collaboration with Dr. Dago
Rynar, a physiologist, also uses the term “virile” and states that the cello is flexible in its expression.

19
Piatigorsky, G. Cellist. Doubleday & Company, Inc., New York. 1965. pp 64-65
20
David, P. “Becker, Jean.” A Dictionary of Music and Musicians 1880 (vol. 1, p. 161)
Cellists - 13
Herbert Walenn (1870-1953) was born into a musical family. He started his musical education at
the Royal College of Music, then studied with Edward Howell at the Royal Academy, then with Becker in
Frankfurt. He taught at the Royal Academy for many years, and a number of his pupils became famous:
Nelsova, Hambourg, Cherniavsky, and Barbirolli (who, before his career as the great conductor John
Barbirolli, was known as the mediocre cellist Giovanni). His teaching methods were unorthodox in that he
generally referred his pupils to books rather than teaching them technique. He greatly developed art in
England, encouraging amateur musicians and raising the standards in that area. He founded the London
Violoncello School in 1919, providing important opportunities for solo performances and group cello
works.

William Henry Squire (1871-1963), often forgotten nowadays, was highly regarded in his day.
He studied at the Royal College of Music under Howell, and studied composition with Hubert Parry. He
was principal cellist in many British orchestras, a professor at the Royal College of Music from 1898-1917,
and at the Guildhall School of Music from 1911-1917. He is remarkable mostly for his early recordings,
among which is one of the Elgar Concerto (conducted by Hamilton Harty, 1936). Fauré dedicated his
Sicilienne to Squire. Campbell considers him “a composer of some substance,” although his works are
generally small in length and development.

Cellists - 14
Bibliography

A Dictionary of Music and Musicians, ed G. Grove. vols 1-4. Oxford, 1880.


Campbell, M. The Great Cellists. Victor Golantz Ltd, London, 1988.
De’ak, S. David Popper. Paganiniana Publications. Neptune City, 1980.
Ginsburg, L. History of the Violoncello. ed H. R. Axelrod, transl T. Tchistyakova. Paganinia Publications,
Inc., Neptune City, 1983.
Hill. Antonio Stradivari: His Life and Work (1644-1737). Dover Publications, New York, 1963
Perenyi, E. Liszt:the Artist as Romantic Hero. Little, Brown, & Company, Boston, 1974
Piatigorsky, G. Cellist. Doubleday & Company, Inc., New York, 1965.
Rees, B. Camille Saint-Saens: a life. Chatto & Windus, London, 1999.
Sourek, Otakar. Antonin Dvorák: Letters and Reminiscences. transl R. F. Samsour. Da Capo Press, New
York, 1985.
Tchaikovsky, M. The Life and Letters of Peter Ilich Tchaikovsky. Dodd, Mead & Co., New York, 1924.
The Harvard Biographical Dictionary of Music. ed D.M. Randel. Harvard U. Press, Cambridge, 1996.
van der Straeten, E.S.J. History of the Violoncello. William Reeves, London, 1914.
Walden, V. One Hundred Years of Violoncello: A History of Technique and Performance Practice, 1740-
1840. Cambridge U. Press, Cambridge, 1998.
Wasielewski, W.J. The Violoncello and its History. transl I.S.E. Stigand. Da Capo Press, New York,
1968. (reproduction of first English edition, Novello, Ewer and Co., London and New York, 1894)

Cellists - 15
Alexandra Roedder
Music 199 (Independent Study Project)
Richard Taruskin
UC Berkeley - Spring 2003

The Violoncello and the Romantic Era: 1820-1920


Interlude - A Recital of Early Nineteenth Century Cello Music1

In my first endeavors into performance practice, I purchased, with help from the Music
Department’s Lyons Prize and the Associated Students of the University of California’s Academic
Mini-Grant, a copy of an early Tourte bow. I also strung a cello with gut strings. While the strings
are certainly not exactly what was used then - it is difficult to know exactly what was used - they are
at least closer than modern steel strings. The bow is copied as closely as possible from the model.
In my performance of Beethoven’s Sonata No. 1 for Cello and Piano, Op. 5, No. 1, written
in 1796, I was accompanied by a fortepiano, rather than a modern piano, and the effect amazed me.
What used to be thin and rather weak-sounding with a modern piano was suddenly well-balanced
and full enough with the fortepiano. And the fortepiano, which sounds tinny and rather silly against
a steel-strung modern instrument, became lush.
When first picking up the gut-strung cello, I was using a modern French bow, with modern
bow technique. In order to make a decent sound on the gut strings, however, I had to modify my
attacks and use, in general, a faster bow to keep the sound spinning out. The best way to describe
the modification of the attacks would be that, with gut strings, one cannot “grab” the string with the
bow; one must “persuade” it to sound by digging in gently and releasing. In addition, the
sustained intensity that is possible with steel strings is much harder to produce with gut strings and
a modern bow. Any excess pressure causes gut strings to choke.
In using the Tourte bow, I found things to be quite different. For one, the bow is gripped
differently - further away from the frog, with the pinky just touching the ebony of the frog, the other
three fingers spread out in a similar fashion to today’s grip, the middle (and occasionally ring)
fingers lightly touching the bow hair, if desired, and the thumb resting between the middle and ring
fingers, on the opposite side of the bow stick. The effect of this grip is to essentially move the bow
motion “up” one level anatomically. Instead of a finger motion, use the wrist; instead of the wrist,
1
This (rather disjointed) little essay was written following the performance of April 21, 2003. Included in the
project binder is a CD of that performance and a green program.
Beethoven Experience - 1
use the arm or shoulder, and so forth.
For an example of how this affects technique, take the spiccato stroke. On the modern cello,
this is executed with loose fingers and wrist, using a short horizontal and bouncy stroke. With the
Tourte bow and, this stroke becomes fairly stiff and much more vertical - the wrist is almost
stationery and the arm nudges the bow up and down.
There are several main differences “anatomically,” if you will, between the early Tourte
bow and the modern Tourte bow. Firstly, the weight: the earlier bow is heavier and weighted more
towards the tip (hence the need for a grip further out along the stick). Secondly, when the hair and
wood are tensioned, the stick and hair appear to be almost parallel. Finally, the hair at the frog is
held by the modern mechanism, but lacks the metal plate (ferrule) at the base of the frog which
holds down the horsehair and spreads it out evenly.
The transitional and early modern bows have round sticks of pernambuco, often of the
finest quality, this latter usually of a dark chocolate brown colour. They are in general
slightly shorter than those that are termed Tourte's mature work. Their heads are rather
gentle in contour and fairly rounded (when viewed in profile), but many possess the
tension and statuesque qualities so evident in his mature and late work.2

The bow I obtained is indeed round, made of pernambuco, and of a dark chocolate brown. It is
shorter than all my modern bows.
Because of its lighter and quicker action, the transitional bow creates a quick response to
changes in bow speed and pressure. This makes it easier to “ham it up” on cantilena passages
without needing vibrato. Vibrato is needed on the modern instrument to warm up the sound of the
steel strings. The gut strings, however, are already warm by themselves, and so vibrato serves to
highlight notes or change character, and is not needed as a background. The soupy writing of many
early 19th century composers (Romberg, Servais, and even occasionally Beethoven) becomes
slightly less schmaltzy when changes in tone are much easier to accomplish.
The advantage that the modern setup has over the transitional setup is brilliance and variety.
The modern setup simply can do more in terms of different bow strokes - thrown strokes, certain
bouncing strokes, the fast detaché stroke caused primarily with the forefinger of the right hand
(exemplified by the second movement of the Elgar concerto), strong accents; in short, almost
anything requiring a sharp attack can be done with more consistency on the modern setup. It is
more dependable and a little less finicky about the beginnings of notes. The reward, however, of
2
Childs, P. “Tourte, François Xavier.” Grove Music Online, ed L. Macy. (accessed 5/3/04)
<www.grovemusic.com>
Beethoven Experience - 2
playing with the transitional setup is that, within the range of available bow strokes, greater nuance
is possible.
The above might sound as though no virtuosic playing is possible on the transitional setup.
Yet we know from repertoire and biographies that virtuosity was greatly prized. However, virtuosity
in 1800 must have meant something different than it does today.
From looking at a number of works, including Beethoven, Romberg, Kraft, Ries, and
Onslow, among others, it is clear that quick scales, arpeggios, and fancy bow crossings were
popular in the early nineteenth century Because these can be done with separate bows using the
transitional bow, they sound much more impressive than the slurs used in modern technique. Rapid
scales on separate bows practically play themselves; the scrubby sound that accompanies the bow
changes does not overpower the individual notes. On the modern cello, that scrubbiness is harsher
and very intrusive, and is avoided as best as possible.
Music for the period was written for the instruments of the period; while most people
acknowledge that as fact, it’s always inspiring to see it for yourself, and to experience a period bow
doing something much different than a modern bow does on the sam e piece.

Beethoven Experience - 3
Monday, April 21, 2003, 12 noon
Morrison Hall, Room 125

A Recital of Early Nineteenth Century Violoncello Music


L. van Beethoven: Sonata for Piano and Cello, Op. 5, No. 1 (1770-1827)
1. Andante - Allegro
2. Rondo - Vivace

B. Romberg (1767-1841): Divertimento uber westfalische Thema

Alexandra Roedder, cello


Karen Rosenak, fortepiano

Ludwig van Beethoven, born in 1770 in Bonn, is today regarded as perhaps the most influential composer of
the nineteenth century. His nine symphonies, each exploring a different boundary of the music of his day, were
used by many later composers as justification for their own explorations, and left a long shadow for the next
generation. While his later works are indeed quite novel and otherworldy, his early works, some of them under
the tutelage of Haydn, show clear “classical” tendencies, but hint at his later sound.
The first Sonata for Piano and Cello, Op. 5 No. 1, in F major, is actually the first sonata for cello with
the piano part written out fully, rather than left in figured bass, as was previously done. The piano part is quite
complex and difficult, perhaps (although it is hard to tell how difficult this piece would have been in its day)
more difficult than the cello part. Beethoven takes advantage of the sonorities and capabilities of this early
piano. The lighter action and more transparent sound allow small gestures to still be heard within a thick
texture; combined with the sonority of the gut-strung cello, the music works beautifully.
The single rhythmic idea that is consistent throughout the entire work is that of displacing the
downbeat. The introduction presents this idea with its initial sense of meterless-ness, and the Allegro continues
it not with the first theme, but with the second theme, which places the emphasis on the offbeat. As the
development unwinds, the downbeat is chased by both instruments, who finally arrive in the recapitulation
together on the downbeat.
The main theme of the Rondo, a cheerful melody in 6/8 time, also places the emphasis in the middle of
the measure. This theme is alternated with other melodies (it being a rondo, with the scheme A B A C A ...),
which give each instrument a chance to show off its capabilities. The Rondo is less musically complex than the
first movement; the B, C, and D material do not always act as independent phrases, but often more as filigree
or ornamentation of the original rhythmic idea of downbeat displacement.
The work ends with a traditional Adagio and Coda, allowing the cellist to climb the fingerboard
impressively.

Bernhard Romberg (1767-1841) is remembered as a great cellist and pedagogue of his day, yet his 100+
works - concertos, sonatas, divertimenti, quartets, and other small pieces - lay forgotten. The large-scale
Romantic concertos and sonatas of the latter half of the nineteenth century appear to have left the older,
smaller, more mundane works at the back of the cellist’s music shelf. But they have a certain charm of their
own, despite the almost certain fact that they’re much more fun to play than to listen to!
His Divertimento uber westfalische Lieder, Op. 65, was certainly composed before his death in 1841, perhaps
around 1820 or 1830, although harmonically sounds later. The basic form is that of theme and variations;
each variation is designed to showcase a different cellistic technique. As Romberg himself was a cellist, it does
this very well, managing to sound more difficult than it actually is.
The opening introduction allows the sonority of the instrument to sing out with a Baroque-style andate,
then launches into a display of string crossing technique while the piano has a melody. After the incredibly
simple theme is given, the first variation showcases spiccato technique, and the second uses triplet figures to
clamber up and down arpeggios. The third variation is highly expressive and cantabile, while the fourth is flashy
and jumpy, in sixteenths. The meter changes to 3/4 for a variation reminiscent of a Dotzauer exercise and yet
another singing melody. Back in 4/4, the cello introduces a simplistic variation of the original theme, which
expands organically into numerous virtuosic passages, broken only by a slight ritard. The ending is almost
anti-climactic, allowing the piano to play over the cello’s ponticello arpeggios.
The interesting case in this performance is that the printed version used today is from around 1880,
edited by Friedrich Grutzmacher, who disregards completely the current idea of historical perspective and uses
the most up-to-date fingerings and dynamic markings, as well as specifying which section of the bow should be
used. Because these instructions come from sixty years later, the fingerings are not those that Romberg might
have used himself - he advocated an oblique hand position with the cello much further away from the body, to
the left, and used thumb position frequently in the lower portions of the fingerboard. Many of the virtuosic
passages in this work could be played quite easily with such an arrangement, if the cello were in the proper
position, and minus the endpin. However, this performer chose, on the suggestions of a noted Baroque cellist,
to continue to play with the endpin until the bow grip and general technique of earlier music became more
comfortable. Thus the fingerings used today are highly personal and follow no particular nineteenth century
school of thought.

The bow used today was purchased with the help of the ASUC and the Music Department’s Bernice Lyons
Prize. It was made in 2001 by Andrew Dipper and is a copy of an early Tourte bow, of the same type that J.L.
Duport perhaps used when he gave the first performance of this work. The main differences between the earlier
bow and today’s bow are weight, tension, and ability to grip the strings. Any cellist who wishes to try out the
bow may do so after the performance. The cello is a modern instrument with modern fittings, but has gut
strings and is tuned to A-415 instead of the modern A-440.

Alexandra Roedder is a junior in the music department here at UC Berkeley. She spent the first two and half
years of her time here attempting a double major with music and astrophysics, but had an epiphany last
semester while her broken shoulderblade prevented her from playing cello, and decided to devote her energies to
obtaining a Ph.D. in Musicology. She is a member of the UC Symphony and will be soloing with them next
fall. Her piano trio recently won a Wednesday noon concert for next fall, as did her performance of the Bach G-
Major Unaccompanied Suite on this early-style instrument. Her research project, The Violoncello in the Romantic
Era: 1820-1920, of which this performance is a part, was awarded a Haas Scholarship for next year. She would
like to extend inexpressible gratitude to a number of people: firstly, Ms. Rosenak, for agreeing to assist in this
project; without her, the performance could never have happened. Next, she would like to thank her teacher,
Leighton Fong; the two cellists Elisabeth Reed and Elisabeth LeGuin, for their help with learning to manage the
bow; her advisors, Richard Taruskin and Davitt Moroney; the music department and the ASUC, for assisting
with the bow purchase; and lastly but never least, David Bernhagen, for the unrestricted use of his cello.

Karen Rosenak is a musicianship teacher here at UC Berkeley. In addition to being an excellent pianist, she
is a wonderful musician to work with.
Alexandra Roedder
Music H195 (Honors Project)
Richard Taruskin
UC Berkeley - Summer/Fall 2003

The Violoncello and the Romantic Era: 1820-1920


Part II - A Survey of Current Cello Teachers on Romantic Repertoire and Aesthetics

Introduction
The original purpose of this survey was to discover how much cello teachers applied the
concepts of historical performance to music of the nineteenth century. However, because of fear
that many teachers would answer, “Yes, of course I consider it in my teaching,” the questions were
more subtle. Rather than simply asking about performance practice, they asked about etude books,
repertoire, vibrato and its relation to sound, as well as what “Romantic” repertoire and sound were.
It would perhaps have been better to simply ask directly, because the teachers have strong
enough convictions about what they teach that they would have answered honestly. Nevertheless,
their answers were informative: new trends in teaching, both in method books and pedagogy;
different concertos and the way teachers see them; how the newest generation of teachers is
approaching the cello, not only with regards to method but also to repertoire; and how disconnected
from the early music movement most modern cello teachers are. The survey questions can be
found in Appendix 1.
This paper is organized around the questions. They are not presented in the order they were
asked, but rather in an order to best display the conclusions.

The Concerto
There were a total of one hundred and eight responses to this question, and in the final
analysis, the result was as expected: most teachers thought the Dvorák Cello Concerto was “the”
concerto. The numbers below list all the responses; teachers often listed multiple concertos. A
more extensive analysis is found in Appendix 2. Concertos in bold are from the nineteenth
century.

Survey - 1
Concerto # %

Dvorák, Concerto in b minor, op. 104, 1896 47 44%


Haydn, Concerto in D major, Hob. VIIb: 2, 1783/1804 12 11%
Haydn, Concerto in C major, Hob. VII, n. 1, 1765/ discovered 1961 10 9%
Elgar, Concerto in e minor, op. 85, 1919 8 7%
Saint-Saëns, Concerto No. 1 in a minor, 1873 6 5.5%
Boccherini-Grützmacher, Concerto in B flat major, 1895/19481 6 5.5%
Shostakovich, Concerto No. 1, op. 107, 1959 6 5.5%
Chaikovsky,2 Variations on a Rococo Theme, op. 33, 1876-77 5 4.6%
Schumann, Concerto, op. 129, 1850 5 4.6%
Lalo, Concerto in d minor, op. ?, 1877 5 4.6%
Prokofiev, Symphony Concertante in e minor, op. 125, 1938 5 4.6%
Walton, Cello Concerto, 1956 2 1.8%
Shostakovich, Concerto No. 2, op. 126, 1966 2 1.8%
Vivaldi, concertos in e and a, dates unknown 1 0.9%
Davydov, Concerto No. 1, op. 5, 1859 1 0.9%
Kabalevsky, Concerto No. 1 in g minor, op. 49, 1948-49 1 0.9%
Lloyd, Cello Concerto, 1998 1 0.9%

It is apparent that concertos of the nineteenth century are a fundamental part of current
repertoire. Not surprisingly, though, some concertos that were popular in that time, by Goltermann,
Volkmann, and Romberg,3 have now been relegated to the “student concerto” genre.
Despite the fact that the question explicitly asked teachers the reason for their choice, many
teachers listed their concerto with no justification. Either they didn’t have time to give a reason, or
they felt their choice needed no explanation.
The most common reason listed for a “top of the food chain” concerto was technical
difficulty. Next was personal preference, or variants thereof: “so beautiful,” “grandeur and
beauty,” or other opinions about its sound. Musically challenging or requiring maturity came
1
The well-known Boccherini B-flat major concerto was “composed,” literally “put together,” in 1895, by Wilhem
Friedrich Ludwig Grutzmacher (1832-1903) from other Boccherini cello concertos (there are a total of eleven). An
unaltered B-flat concerto was published in 1948.
2
Interestingly, the work that is published as Chaikovsky’s was edited heavily, almost re-composed, by Karl
Friedrich Wilhelm Fitzenhagen (1848-?), who, without Tchaikovksy’s permission or knowledge, gave the work’s
first performance, in 1877, with the variations switched around for maximum effect on the audience. There is only
one major label recording of the original version that I could find, and that is Steven Isserlis’ 1998 recording on
Virgin Records.
3
Between the three of them, these cellists wrote approximately 15 concertos before 1853.
Survey - 2
next, then ability to teach technique - which also in a way counts as difficulty. Then followed
reasons like popularity (“everyone knows what it should sound like,” “always requested at
auditions”), physical endurance, emotional satisfaction, a sense of reaching a goal or “arriving”
somewhere for the student. Then came a variety of answers, including: reading the music, learning
style, letting the cello reach its full sound potential, how well the orchestra part meshes with the
cello, “heroic” piece, has “it all,” “why not,” and “obviously.” (Not surprisingly, “obviously”
was in conjunction with both the Dvorák and Haydn D major concertos.)
As the experience (and by inference, the age) of a teacher increased, the more likely it
became that “Dvorák” would be listed as the top concerto - and listed alone. This speaks to the
changes occurring as generations pass. Teachers are turning increasingly towards works like the
Elgar Concerto (1919), Shostakovich’s first concerto (1959), and the Prokofiev Sinfonia
Concertante (19514), all written after the Dvorák Concerto (1896). The presence of the Walton
(1968) and George Lloyd (1998) concertos also show the emergence of younger ears and
adventurous performers who don’t flinch at the “risks” of taking on contemporary or non-
traditional works.
Both Haydn concertos are listed - and as the second and third most popular concertos.
Reasons given were along the lines of “demands precision” and “note-reading skills,” though one
mentioned “recognition of style,” which is a step towards historical issues of performance.

Etudes
Approximately 100 different etude books are used across the US. The full list, a mix of
eighteenth, nineteenth, and twentieth century books, can be found in the appendix. Depending on
the kind of teacher (private, public, orchestra), there are exercises ranging from basic (Dotzauer-
Klingenberg, book 1) to very complicated (Popper High School of Cello Playing); cello tutors
designed for group study, beginning with the basics of note-reading (Strictly Strings, Applebaum,
etc.); and, used by about a third of teachers, the Suzuki books and/or the Suzuki method.
The nineteenth century tutors remain popular, although time has distilled the many in
existence to a dozen or so common ones. In order of popularity, these are the nineteenth century
cellists whose methods, etudes, and tutor books are still used (the full list is Appendix 3):
4
In 1938 the original concerto in e was written; the Symphony Concertante, which was composed in 1951, is based
upon this work.
Survey - 3
David Popper 53 entries5
J.J.F. Dotzauer 376
Julius Klengel 20
Sebastian Lee 20
Feuillard 15
W.F. Grützmacher 8
F.A. Kummer 7
Percy Such 7
Alfredo Piatti 6
Carl Schroeder 4
Dotzauer-Klingenberg 4
Bernhard Cossmann 4
K.F. Wilhelm Fitzenhagen 2
Carl Davydov 1
Auguste Franchomme 1
Adrien François Servais 1

Dotzauer remains a favorite in its multiple incarnations (Klingenberg, Grant, and


Schroeder), only two teachers use Bernhard Cossmann, and about a dozen use Lee. Popper is still
very popular; despite their rhythmic monotony, they are among the most interesting etudes available,
and improve ear training as well as hand strength. The etudes by Jean Louis Duport (1749-1819), a
set of 21 pieces (not all composed by Duport), is the only lasting set of etudes from the eighteenth
century.
Among later methods, most popular are books by Alwin Schroeder (1855-1920, brother of
Carl Schroeder). There are two sets of books: first, his Method, in three volumes (1890?); second,
his 170 Foundation Studies (1916), including studies by Buchler, Merk, Piatti, Duport, Cossmann,
Servais, Lee, Schroeder, Grützmacher, Dotzauer, Franchomme, and Berteau. Many teachers use this
book, and, because of its contents, are therefore staying in the nineteenth century. (Some of the
“Schroeder” answers could, however, have been Carl Schroeder, whose method book was
published in 1890. Nevertheless, there enough responses that clearly meant the Alwin Schroeder
5
Though these Popper books were written between 1901 and 1905, they are, in a sense, a culmination of nineteenth
century cello technique.
6
Many of these “Dotzauer” answers could easily be the Dotzauer-Klingenberg version, as it is a fairly cheap edition
and widely available through International Music Company, New York.
Survey - 4
books to indicate a substantial majority.) Early twentieth century tutors include W.H. Squire,
Sevcik, and Stustchevsky. It would be an interesting project to discern the differences, apart from
technical difficulties, between early twentieth century and mid-nineteenth century etude books. As it
is not the point of this paper to summarize modern pedagogy, I will leave the topic of etudes for
later.
The conclusion to draw from these results is that, although cello teachers are slowly using
more modern materials, a good portion of them still rely heavily on nineteenth century cello
methods.

Vibrato
There are a few general camps about teaching vibrato. Some teachers start it almost right
away, as soon as the first position hand is set and the student can play in tune. Some wait two or
three years, or until the student has positions 1 through 4 in good form. Some start “when the
student is ready” or “when the student is playing pieces that could be improved by it.” Whatever
moment is chosen for the beginning of instruction, it is described with remarkable precision.
Many teachers appear to follow the general principles of vibrato instruction as laid out by
Phylis Young (see article in Appendix 4) , but only one respondent actually mentioned the name.
The article, a brief biographical sketch of Young, describes her methods of teaching vibrato.
Though no cello teacher would ever say outright that dynamics and tone color, through bow control
have no effect on the cello’s expressiveness, that is what is implied in this article, as well as in many
responses; this is mildly disturbing.
There are three fundamental opinions about vibrato’s importance: very important or crucial;
just as important as other things or only when used properly; and adds to sound. There is here
again a generational issue, though in this case it comes in “spurts,” rather than a one-way trend.
Most of the teachers who gave vibrato a lower importance (“just as important” or “adds to
sound”) have less than 20 years of experience. In fact, almost all of the teachers with 9-10 years of
experience answered with an “adds,” and those with 15-16 years of experience were split between
the “just as” and “adds” group. There’s a smattering again at 30 years and once more at 40
years of teachers who don’t feel it’s crucial, but the data are so scattered at that point that analysis is
futile. Only two respondents said vibrato was a separate issue from good sound, and they occurred,

Survey - 5
not surprisingly, at 10 and 15 years. Appendices 5 and 6 contain further analyses and extracts.
It would appear that teachers don’t teach what they were taught, if one assumes a 15-20 year
gap between generations of teachers. Disappointingly, there isn’t an obvious correlation between
these answers and the answers to question 13, which questions differences between how they teach
now and what they were taught. A few teachers who consider vibrato important say that “not
much” is different between the way they teach and the way they were taught; unfortunately, there
aren’t enough of these for there to be any discernible trend. Answers to question 13 (discussed
below) usually only mention vibrato when respondents report that they teach it sooner than they
were taught.

Repertoire
The concept of a “standard” repertoire is not a very solid one. In the first place, a person’s
concept of important repertoire will tend to center around what they learned and liked. Their
knowledge of repertoire will only go so far as what they actually know. However, teachers who
replied “...and standard works,” generally left out compositions that most teachers included, which
indicates that there is a body of repertoire that many teachers consider central to the cello, and can
be called “standard.” The reasons for the inclusion of this body of repertoire could be musicality
and capability for teaching technique seem the most probable of reasons, considering the trend of
answers and reasoning found in the “concerto” question.
There is a certain degree of uncertainty in these answers. Many responses were ambiguous
as to which concerto or sonata by a particular composer, or whether they meant both concertos by a
composer, especially when one is much more well-known than the others, as is the case with
Vivaldi, Boccherini, Romberg, Goltermann, Saint-Saëns, Shostakovich, and Kabalevsky. All
answers such as “Mozart quartets,” were assimilated under “Mozart chamber music.” While this
is not as precise as it could have been, this method gives a larger picture of the chamber music
repertoire. The following is a list of responses that received more than five votes each. Items in
bold were composed in the nineteenth century. (Appendix 7 contains the full, unedited list.)

Survey - 6
Piece #

Bach, Unaccompanied Cello Suites (c. 1720) 86


Saint-Saëns, Cello Concerto (presumably No. 1, 1873) 39
Beethoven, sonatas (1796-1815) 37
Dvorák, Cello Concerto (1895) 34
Haydn, cello concertos (dates unknown, D maj. poss. 1772) 32
Brahms, sonatas (1866, 1887) 31
Vivaldi, cello sonatas (1711-1729) 20
Beethoven, chamber music 19
Brahms, Sonata in e minor (1866) 19
Lalo, Cello Concerto (1877) 18
Mozart, chamber music 15
Chaikovsky, Rococo Variations (1876) 15
Elgar, Cello Concerto (1918) 15
Haydn, Cello Concerto in C major (date unknown) 14
Haydn, chamber music 13
Boccherini, cello concertos (1770s) 12
Fauré, Élégie (1896) 12
Saint-Saëns, Le Cygne (1887) 10
Schumann, Cello Concerto (1850) 9
Bach, Sonatas for Viola da Gamba (before 1741) 8
Schubert, “Arpeggione” Sonata (1824) 8
Bruch, Kol Nidrei (1881) 7
Shostakovich, Cello Sonata (1934) 7
Boccherini-Grützmacher, Cello Concerto in B flat (date unknown) 6
Breval, cello sonatas7 (1783-1795) 6
Saint-Saëns, Allegro Appassionato (1875) 6
Brahms, chamber music 5
Goltermann, cello concertos (late nineteenth century) 5
Orchestral excerpts 5
Shostakovich, concertos (1959, 1966) 5
Vivaldi, Concerto for Two Cellos7 (pub. 1711 or 1727) 5

Out of 106 responses, 86 mentioned the Bach Suites - either just #1 in G major, or #1-3, or
all of them, or any other combination. Of the 24 who didn’t include Bach in their lists, 17
7
The popularity of these works can be ascribed to the inclusion of one modified sonata in the Suzuki Cello School
books.
Survey - 7
misunderstood the question in some way and answered with a general answer about genres or
making the piece fit the student, or they didn’t answer it at all. That leaves only seven teachers of
106 who don’t include the Bach Suites for Unaccompanied Cello in their list of essential repertoire.
About half of this repertoire is from the nineteenth century. The rest, with the exception of
Elgar and Shostakovich, is from the eighteenth century. But it will be shown below that, despite
much of standard repertoire being from the nineteenth century, teachers treat the music as though it
were modern.

Show-off Pieces
A “show-off” piece can be defined as a piece of short to moderate length that does not
require much musical thought. Generally, the notes are difficult, often (though not always) fast, and
melodic phrases aren’t particularly unusual or inventive. However, the ones that have lasted, such
as David Popper’s Tarantella, op. 33, Gavotte in D, op. 23, Hungarian Rhapsody, op. 68,
Elfentanz, op. 39; W.H Squire’s Tarantella, op. 23, Danse Rustique, op. 20, No. 5, Bourrée, op.
24; and Saint-Saëns’ Le Cygne (from Carnival of the Animals) and Allegro Appassionato, op. 43,
have some substance to them, and are all from the second half of the nineteenth century or the very
beginning of the twentieth century.
Five teachers answered that they don’t use show-off pieces. One teacher who answered in
this fashion, however, listed pieces used to “develop better technique” which were identical to those
used by other teachers as “show-off” pieces.
Younger teachers (10-20 years of experience) use the small pieces by Squire, while older
teachers use the David Popper pieces. Consequently, while Popper is used by almost all the
teachers, few older teachers use the Squire pieces. Those that do, use Squire’s Tarantella. At all
levels can be found the van Goens Scherzo, op. 12.
While there is considerable variety in these answers, there is also a lot of consistency.
Forty-seven teachers use at least one piece by David Popper; seventeen use pieces by Squire; twelve
use the Bach Unaccompanied Suites, or portions thereof. The Haydn C Major concerto, as shown
below, also topped the list, although only one teacher who listed it as “show-off” also listed it as a
top concerto. The complete results are given in Appendix 8.
The conclusion that can be drawn from these results is the same one that can be drawn from

Survey - 8
the answers about repertoire: we are still in the nineteenth century. While we don’t use, for
example, Adrien Servais’ Souvenir de Spa, which was common as part of a young cellist’s debut
recital in the nineteenth century,8 we still use the works of the latter half and turn of the century to
display technical capabilities.

Differences
There has been no systematic change in teaching methods, though there have been many
changes in the last fifty years. Many teachers try to be more relaxed about teaching their students,
and to focus more on the details of technique. Some say they play more with or for their students,
others say they play less and observe more. Vibrato is taught sooner by some, along with thumb
position and double stops. Students are allowed more freedom in (1) choice of pieces to play, (2)
fingering and bowing choices, and (3) musical interpretation. There are no noticeable generational
trends. Some teachers teach what they were taught, for the most part, but most claim not to. This
claim is corroborated by further evidence below. The list of differences is found in Appendix 9.

Romantic Sound
This question (number eleven), asks for the teacher’s opinion on what “Romantic” sound
is. The answers received fell into several distinct categories. First, there were a handful of answers
that were inapplicable to the question, such as, “Why just romantic? How about classical and
Baroque?” Then there were responses giving a composer or piece (not necessarily from the cello
repertoire): Beethoven, Brahms, and Rachmaninoff were each mentioned twice; also Wagner,
Dvorák, Schumann, Faure, and Shostakovich were named. These were a minority among
responses.
The bulk of the answers had two components: a technical definition and an emotional or
descriptive definition. Technical means answers such as “rich tone, lots of vibrato, heavy,” and
“developed vibrato and controlled shifts using clean slides and ‘expressive’ slides; slower
tempos,” or “big dynamics, expressive, vibrato.” Emotional or descriptive includes
“Turbulance!” and “sweet and longing.” Many answers were, of course, a combination of the
two; some gave a performer as an example.

8
see van der Straeten, E. History of the Violoncello. William Reeves, London, 1914.
Survey - 9
The general consensus was close to the expected result. Romantic sound, to most teachers,
means lots of vibrato - varied in speeds and widths, but plenty of it- , a “thick” or “lush” sound,
often loud, and a high emotional/expressive communicative element. (This is the same sound
students are taught to aim for in practicing, and that they are exposed to on major label recordings.)
A handful of teachers mention using audible shifts, but stress that it should be “tastefully” done;
we know from early recordings, however, that audible shifts were a fundamental part of the
technique and weren’t necessarily what we now consider tasteful.
Approximately half of the responses gave “vibrato” as a part of Romantic sound.
Interestingly, there were those who didn’t list vibrato specifically, but, in their answer to 5b
(importance of vibrato), said that vibrato was essential to a good sound and, in question 11, said that
Romantic sound was a beautiful tone. If we make a basic assumption that cellists today like to have
a “beautiful” sound for whatever they play, and if we are aware that for a majority of teachers,
Romantic sound means beautiful sound, which means vibrato, we can conclude that Romantic
sound is a goal for a majority of teachers, no matter what the music.
There exists a widespread contradiction in the answers to question 11 (romantic sound) and
question 14 (history). The same teachers that place a high importance on a knowledge of music
history for musical context give Romantic sound as a modern creation: “1950s-1970s style - heavy
bow arm - à la Leonard Rose - and vibrato...” and “Jacqueline du Pré - lush, expressive.” One
teacher mentions the use of the Margaret Rowell “scoop” of the bow, a technique designed to
bring more sound out of the instrument using smaller muscles than the shoulders; Margaret Rowell
was a well-known teacher of cello from the 1930s to the 1980s.9
In conclusion, teachers may or may not be aware that the sound they teach for nineteenth
century music is a modern creation; even if they are aware, they give the term “Romantic” two
meanings: one for the historical period and one for the sound we use today for playing the music.
And although most teachers believe strongly in learning music history (see below), the performance
styles they teach are not the same ones that we can infer from the period.

Resources
The most commonly used resource was recordings. The other main resources used were

9
<http://www.cello.org/Newsletter/Articles/mrowell2.html>
Survey - 10
the teacher’s own background knowledge and “musicality;” researching the history of the
piece; working with the score; and breaking the piece down into smaller parts to approach.
The use of recordings tells us that the tradition which teachers are continuing is the one that
began with the advent of widespread recording technology, namely, the 1930s-40s, and not the same
tradition drawn directly from the nineteenth century. Some teachers remark (not incorrectly) the
recording industry has changed cello performance, demanding more accurate intonation and a
cleaner sound.
Teachers who use only their own experiences (there were few) are perhaps the most
connected with “tradition,” whatever that means for cello playing. Because they aren’t listening to
recordings and talking with other musicians, their understanding of a piece or technique ought to
remain the same as what they were taught, although most likely it has changed.
The other resources (scores, smaller parts, and various technical manipulations) simply
show good musicianship and learning techniques. While not applicable to this study, they are
nevertheless interesting to see.
These results show that there has been a break in the tradition of cello playing between the
nineteenth century and today, brought about mainly by the recording industry and changes in
musical taste that inevitably occur over the years.

The History Question


Answers to the question, “When do you think it might be important for a musician to know
music history?” were along several distinct lines. One of these lines can be summed up best by
this response: “As one goes, one should absorb bit by bit.” Two other reasons for learning
history were adding interest to learning a piece, and helping with stylistic issues, primarily
bowing. One extreme answer along the lines of adding to the learning process was, “A little.
Makes it more interesting.” Most teachers, however, believe that a knowledge of music history is
important, and that it is their responsibility to teach it to the students as they go along.
Unfortunately, their answers regarding improvements in cello technique and romantic sound
show that whatever music history they are teaching, it is primarily not regarding performance
practice. Out of a total of 109, there were about 15 answers that labeled history as important for
“stylistic issues.” Their answers can be found in Appendix 10.

Survey - 11
These same teachers’ answers to question 11 about Romantic sound mentioned quite a lot
of vibrato, which simply means that these teachers’ Romantic style is not actually the sound
commonly heard in the nineteenth century, which used considerably less vibrato than we use now,
as well as the technique of sliding (portamento) from one note to the next, not just as a secondary
result of shifting technique, but also as an aesthetic.
In addition, none of these teachers mention slides as part of their answers to question 12
(improvements in cello technique), except for one response, from a teacher with 50 years of
experience, which talks about precision in shifting. Slides were a fundamental part of cello
technique as recently as the 1930s and 40s, evidenced by recordings from that period.
There are two teachers who included the use of slides in their answers to question 11.
Some of their answers are odd enough to note here. The first teacher gives the standard answers
about etude books, vibrato, repertoire, concerto, etc., but unusual answers to questions 8 (resources),
11, 12 (improvements), and 14.

8. “Background info re: composer, time period, style, interpretation. listen recordings; analyze
rhythms, bowings, patterns, key changed.”

11. “developed vibrato and controlled shifts using clean slides and “expressive” slides; slower
tempos”

12. “Students start at an earlier age. improved strings to perform on. Additional technique books
- R. Mooney, etc. Suzuki bks - leveling from 1-10. Listening more to music tapes, esp at
younger age. More strings taught in elem. school.”

14. “From the beginning pieces they play.”

The second teacher, who had completely un-average answers about etude books, repertoire,
concerto (this is the “Lloyd concerto” teacher) answered as follows:

8. “the time period of the piece in both music and world history. Composer bio and motivation.
for the actual piece - break it into small chunks”

11. “to use slides on shifts in an appropriate manner and to use a wide variety of dynamics”

12. “None. Equipt - carbon fiber bows? endpins. Too many players have injuries now than in
the past - even younger kids. Overuse syndrome is rampant. Are we pushing too hard on
practicing quantity over quality time.”

14. “ASAP It is never too early”

Survey - 12
In both cases, the teacher chooses to use his/her knowledge of the sound of the nineteenth
century in creating a “Romantic” sound.
One could say, though, that the other teachers who consider music history important (which
is, essentially, all of them), simply choose not to play Romantic music in a nineteenth century style.
But there are no teachers who list known nineteenth century cello techniques, namely, less vibrato
and the use of portamento, who also have other answers indicating the use of music history to
inform performance.
One of the two teachers who list the non-usage of slides as an improvement answers “Lush
- good use of bow and good vibrato (not nervous, too fast)” for number 11, though there is no
mention of slides. The other teacher’s answer to question 11, “Why just romantic? How about
classical and Baroque?” is offset somewhat by his/her answer to number 5b: “Vibrato is
absolutely a must!” These contradictory answers show that there is confusion among modern
teachers regarding music history and music performance. They may be choosing to play nineteenth
century literature with the Romantic sound of the twentieth century, but, then again, they might not
know about performing styles from the nineteenth century, or, what is most likely, they might not
even realize how much style has changed since then.
It is clear that the use of music history as a resource, not just as additional information used
to add interest to a piece or to give the music more meaning, affects a teacher’s knowledge of
stylistic issues regarding the Romantic era and the choices made in creating a “Romantic” sound.

Conclusions
Cello teachers are not unintelligent people. However, they teach an instrument, not a history
class. As a whole, they seem to consider the nineteenth century a continuation of the twentieth
century, and they play and teach music from that period as if it were written recently. The majority
of music learned by cellists nowadays is taken from the nineteenth and very early twentieth
centuries, a hundred years or more ago, but the techniques used for playing and teaching are, not
surprisingly, the most recent techniques available. Teachers feel that they aren’t that different from
their own teachers, yet, because they are teaching a faster-paced body of students, they teach vibrato
sooner and use more advanced pieces earlier, and they use very recent etude books and methods in
addition to the nineteenth century warhorses. The modern conception of “Romantic” sound is not

Survey - 13
one taken from the nineteenth century - it is a sound taken from mid-century, a sound found on
recordings not from the 1900s, but from the 1940s and 50s. “Romantic” has come to mean, not
the period of music, but the aesthetic of a loud, richly vibrated sound that projects well, which is not
the same sound that cellists used at the time; there is recording evidence for this, as well as the
simple matter of gut strings and no endpins, which both soften and mellow the cello’s sound. In
conclusion, teachers teach nineteenth century music in the twentieth century Romantic style.

Survey - 14
Appendix 1 - Survey Questions

1. How long have you been teaching the cello?

2. In general, what age and level are the students you teach?

3. How many students do you have?

4. What exercise books do you use, and in which order?

5. When do you teach vibrato? 5b. How important do you find it to good sound?

6. What show-off pieces do your most advanced students play?

7. What single concerto, if any, would you consider to be the “top of the food chain?” Why

8. What resources do you draw on when teaching a new piece?

9. What works - concertos, sonatas, unaccompanied pieces, chamber works, anything - are essential to a cellist’s
repertoire?

10. Which of the above would you call “Romantic?”

11. What, to you, is the essential Romantic sound?

12. What improvements do you think we have made in cello technique in the last 50/100/150 years?

13. What is different about the way you teach cello compared to the way your teacher(s) taught you?

14. When would it be important for a musician to know music history?

15. Do you have anything else you’d like to say about the cello, its repertoire, technique, or any other area of
interest? Feel free to add additional sheets of paper if you’d like.

Appendix 2 - Concertos

Listed by order of popularity, with the full answer from each response quoted (some list multiple concertos, so are
listed multiple times). The percentage popularity is given next to the heading of each section.

Dvorák (44%)

1. I feel that once Dvorák has been mastered then a cellist is able to do any other “master” concerti, i.e. Shostakovich,
Schumann, Prokofiev, etc.
2. Dvorák, Schumann, Elgar. To me these are the triplets at the top. The best composition on a large scale that allows the
cello to reach its musical potential and these pieces are what all cellists dream of playing and some do.
3. Dvorák - it is the most demanding technically, physically, musically
4. Dvorák cello concerto - many melodic lines. Technical but still easy to listen to. Orchestra part is substantial
5. Dvorák is difficult and most popular
6. Dvorák concerto - it is a difficult piece that is hard to play correctly.
7. Dvorák cello concerto - it’s a heroic piece and technically musically demanding in every measure.
8. Dvorák or Tchaikovsky. They are well known and have difficult passages that must be well-played.
9. Dvorák - always requested at symphony auditions
10. Dvorák Concerto. It requires tremendous technical and expressive skills.
11. Dvorák! It so fully expresses the range and capability of the instrument and so wonderfully meshes the soloist and orchestra
Appendices to Survey - 1
12. Dvorák. No explanation necessary - it has it all. Technique to burn (?), rich lush melodies, grandiose orchestration, etc.
13. I can’t answer, because I don’t know all of them. I imagine some contemporary concertos will be the most demanding
technically - somehow Dvorák comes to mind as the ultimate successful concerto w/ full orchestra, because it’s so satisfying
musically, emotionally.
14. Dvorák - L.H., R.H., complete use of the body. Interpretation.
15. none, possibly Dvorák
16. Dvorák; popular myth. I prefer Haydn D
17. Dvorák. It’s not the most challenging, but it’s the most revered, and students consider it as their “arrival.”
18. Dvorák, because it takes endurance and technique. big sound.
19. I have 4 that I would hesitate before giving to any of my students: Dvorák, Haydn D, Schumann, and Shostakovich.
(although I am doing the first movement of Shost with a student this summer; he’s exceptional though)
20. Dvorák hardest both technically, and for expressive choices then Haydn D major for control and pitch.
21. Dvorák, current standards
22. Dvorák - so beautiful! But Shostakovich 1 is pretty awesome too. Mendelssohn for violins, Tchaik for pianists.
23. Dvorák - technically challenging - also very passionate and a lot to work on musically
24. Haydn C, Haydn D, Dvorák are at top of my list. <No single opinion here>
25. Dvorák - extensive technical and musical demands. Sheer endurance issues - really shows off the instrument. although - it’s
the Elgar and Shostakovich 1 I love the most.
26. Dvorák
27. Dvorák - the most preferred at all auditions (any level audition)
28. Dvorák - it is massive, long, technically challenging, lyrical - it has “it all”
29. Dvorák - requires a lot of tone and strenth of technique to pull off.
30. Dvorák
31. Dvorák because of its grandeur and beauty.
32. Dvorák - so much beauty and technique included in one piece!
33. Dvorák cello concerto
34. Dvorák cello concerto, because it is so well known
35. Dvorák, for my students, is the piece we aim for
36. Dvorák - Endurance, musicality, popularity, technical level. not the hardest - but everyone knows what it should sound like.
37. Dvorák - technical challenges- 3 independed movements
38. Dvorák, Lalo, Schumann, Shostakovich, Saint-Saens, Boccherini/Grutzmacher, either Haydn. However, I see too many
auditions to the University in which these pieces are worked on without the appropriate student concertos (Romberg,
Golterman, L. Mendelssohn, Davidoff) and many sonatas from the Baroque, Classical, Romantic, and 20th century. Not to
mention all of the salon pieces also from each era.
39. Dvorák because it seems to be so much played.
40. Dvorák Concerto because it is a great piece, very demanding but satisfying to play. It calls for great maturity on the part of
the player.
41. Dvorák and Elgar I suppose. ? the loveliest range of the cello
42. Dvorák. Big sound, heavy drama!
43. Dvorák - haven’t done or used most of the 20/21 Century concertos. (Despite “exploring the frontiers of music” while doing
masters at UCSD)
44. Dvorák, Lalo, Saint-Saens.
45. Dvorák
46. Dvorák - shows good technique and lush sound
47. Prokofiev Symphony concertante. But not one for all students to learn. Obviously - Haydn D major and Dvorák

able to do other concertos complete use of body


allows cello full potential interpretation
most demanding technically revered
most demanding physically students consider it “arrival”
most demanding musically endurance
difficult big sound
popular/well-known so beautiful
heroic piece lyrical
requested at auditions has “it all”
wonderfully meshes solo and orchestra grandeur and beauty
satisfying emotionally, musically requires a lot of tone to pull off
Appendices to Survey - 2
everyone knows what it sounds like big sound, heavy drama
maturity good technique and lush sound
loveliest range of the cello “obviously”

Haydn D (11%)

1. Haydn D - all of the technique found in this piece is applicable to any other piece and the musical elements and phrasing are
indispensable.
2. SS - continuous in form, good for player and audience, 3 movements emphasizing diff qualities, what I know best, can be cut
for 1 mvmt. Or Haydn D M)
3. I have 4 that I would hesitate before giving to any of my students: Haydn D, Schumann, and Shostakovich. (although I am
doing the first movement of Shost with a student this summer; he’s exceptional though)
4. I prefer Haydn D
5. Haydn D major for control and pitch.
6. Haydn D major - Requires highest level of technique, control, poise, and musicianship to perform successfully.
7. Haydn C, Haydn D, are at top of my list.
8. Haydn D - technically challenging and exposed
9. Haydn D, Walton, Shost. #2, Perhaps Haydn D because of demand of exactitude - I mean, the complete D, not truncated.
10. Prokofiev Symphony concertante. But not one for all students to learn. Obviously - Haydn D major and Dvorák
11. Haydn D major - everything is so exposed and must be technically solid.
12. Haydn D. for absolute intonation, tonal clarity and recognition of style Also a challenge musically. technique

phrasing, musicality exactitude


preference tonal clarity
control and pitch recognition of style
exposed

Haydn C (9%)

1. Haydn C. Even if students don’t go on to play professionally they can master this piece and it is really a showy piece.
2. Haydn C major - why not - very few of my students get to this level since they begin lessons very late in high school!
3. Haydn C- it’s beautiful sounding and teaches technique. Bach Suites -
4. I have very few students who reach the Boccherini or Haydn C Concerto level. Those who do are mostly successful at being
able to play it, like it, and learn from it - thumb position, double stops in thumb position, cadenza.
5. Haydn C, Haydn D, are at top of my list.
6. Haydn C. All kids should do the first movement. It looks so impossible to read that it gets them to a higher level of
counting and all up and down the fingerboard.
7. Haydn C maj is top for me. It requires bow styles that change rapidly from legato to all the other styles; shifting must be
elegant, thumb position graceful.
8. Haydn C major
9. Lalo, Schumann, Shostakovich, Saint-Saens, Boccherini/Grutzmacher, either Haydn.
10. Haydn C major is a favorite. some like Lalo, but maturity helps with that concerto

can master even if not professional-bound gets them to a higher level of counting
why not bow styles
beautiful and teaches technique elegance, gracefulness
looks so impossible to read

Elgar (7%)

1. Elgar - I find it to be an incredibly moving piece.


2. Elgar I suppose. ? the loveliest range of the cello
3. Elgar, but that is just personal preference. Rococo Variations are probably the most difficult for technique.
4. lots of variation in concerti so hard to call - rococo technically a bear; Elgar difficult to capture w/ proper emotion
5. it’s the Elgar and Shostakovich 1 I love the most.
6. If “top of the food chain” means the most spiritually nourishing I guess I would say the Elgar

Appendices to Survey - 3
7. This is difficult one - but perhaps Elgar (technique, musicality, style). dangerous to select just one.
8. Dvorák, Schumann, Elgar. To me these are the triplets at the top. The best composition on a large scale that allows the
cello to reach its musical potential and these pieces are what all cellists dream of playing and some do.

moving difficult to capture proper emotion


loveliest range of cello spiritually nourishing
personal preference technique, musicality, style

Shostakovich #1 (5.5%)

1. Schumann - musically and technically very difficult; Davidoff, Shostakovich - technique


2. I have 4 that I would hesitate before giving to any of my students: Haydn D, Schumann, and Shostakovich. (although I am
doing the first movement of Shost with a student this summer; he’s exceptional though)
3. Shostakovich - so many new techniques to master; new varieties of pizz, double stops
4. But Shostakovich 1 is pretty awesome too.
5. it’s the Elgar and Shostakovich 1 I love the most.
6. Dvorak, Lalo, Schumann, Shostakovich, Saint-Saens, Boccherini/Grutzmacher, either Haydn. However, I see too many
auditions to the University in which these pieces are worked on without the appropriate student concertos (Romberg,
Golterman, L. Mendelssohn, Davidoff) and many sonatas from the Baroque, Classical, Romantic, and 20th century. Not to
mention all of the salon pieces also from each era.

love it technically difficult


new techniques to master

Boccherini (5.5%)

1. Boccherini - it involves a lot of technique (especially thumb position) and different tempos - moods - really stretch the artists’
abilities
2. SS (Kabalevsky or a classical gem like Boccherini B flat)
3. Dvorák, Lalo, Schumann, Shostakovich, Saint-Saens, Boccherini/Grutzmacher, either Haydn. However, I see too many
auditions to the University in which these pieces are worked on without the appropriate student concertos (Romberg,
Golterman, L. Mendelssohn, Davidoff) and many sonatas from the Baroque, Classical, Romantic, and 20th century. Not to
mention all of the salon pieces also from each era.
4. I have very few students who reach the Boccherini or Haydn C Concerto level. Those who do are mostly successful at being
able to play it, like it, and learn from it - thumb position, double stops in thumb position, cadenza.
5. Lalo or Boccherini Bb <so many - for my precollege students, perhaps..>
6. SS - This teaches SO many playing techniques, octaves, artificial harmonics, chromatic scales/fingering, double stops all
over the fingerboard, thumb position, several bowing techniques, and it’s SO flashy! Boccherini is also very challenging in
every way!

technique esp thumb classical gem


stretch artists’ abilities learn from it

Saint-Saens (5.5%)

1. SS - has an orchestra accompaniment; can actually be performed with orch.


2. Shostakovich #1 (it’s my favorite); S-S takes 2nd place
3. SS - This teaches SO many playing techniques, octaves, artificial harmonics, chromatic scales/fingering, double stops all
over the fingerboard, thumb position, several bowing techniques, and it’s SO flashy! Boccherini is also very challenging in
every way!
4. SS (Kabalevsky or a classical gem like Boccherini B flat)
5. Dvorák, Lalo, Schumann, Shostakovich, Saint-Saens, Boccherini/Grutzmacher, either Haydn. However, I see too many
auditions to the University in which these pieces are worked on without the appropriate student concertos (Romberg,
Golterman, L. Mendelssohn, Davidoff) and many sonatas from the Baroque, Classical, Romantic, and 20th century. Not to
mention all of the salon pieces also from each era.
6. Lalo, Saint-Saens.

Appendices to Survey - 4
can actually be performed w/ orch teaches technique

Lalo (4.6%)

1. Lalo or Boccherini Bb <so many - for my precollege students, perhaps..>


2. Lalo - not enough room on the paper :)
3. Dvorak, Lalo, Schumann, Shostakovich, Saint-Saens, Boccherini/Grutzmacher, either Haydn. However, I see too many
auditions to the University in which these pieces are worked on without the appropriate student concertos (Romberg,
Golterman, L. Mendelssohn, Davidoff) and many sonatas from the Baroque, Classical, Romantic, and 20th century. Not to
mention all of the salon pieces also from each era.
4. Haydn C major is a favorite. some like Lalo, but maturity helps with that concerto
5. Lalo, Saint-Saens.

Prokofiev Symphony Concertante (4.6%)

1. I would consider Prokofiev’s Symphony Concertante to be the top. I have performed it but never would teach it.
2. Prokofiev Symphony Concertante. technical and endurance demands
3. Prokofiev Symphony Concertante - musically challenging, technically difficult, length!
4. Prokofiev Symphonie Concertante
5. Prokofiev Symphony concertante. But not one for all students to learn. Obviously - Haydn D major

technically demanding musically challenging


endurance

Tchaikovsky Rococo Variations (4.6%)

1. Schumann, or Rococo Variations for the technique required.


2. Tch. Rococo Variations - bow variations
3. Tchaikovsky. They are well known and have difficult passages that must be well-played.
4. rococo variations
5. lots of variation in concerti so hard to call - rococo technically a bear; Elgar difficult to capture w/ proper emotion

technique well-known

Schumann (4.6%)

1. Schumann, or Rococo Variations for the technique required.


2. I have 4 that I would hesitate before giving to any of my students: Haydn D, Schumann, and Shostakovich. (although I am
doing the first movement of Shost with a student this summer; he’s exceptional though)
3. Schumann - musically and technically very difficult; Davidoff, Shostakovich - technique
4. Dvorák, Lalo, Schumann, Shostakovich, Saint-Saens, Boccherini/Grutzmacher, either Haydn. However, I see too many
auditions to the University in which these pieces are worked on without the appropriate student concertos (Romberg,
Golterman, L. Mendelssohn, Davidoff) and many sonatas from the Baroque, Classical, Romantic, and 20th century. Not to
mention all of the salon pieces also from each era.
5. Dvorák, Schumann, Elgar. To me these are the triplets at the top. The best composition on a large scale that allows the
cello to reach its musical potential and these pieces are what all cellists dream of playing and some do.

technically, musically difficult reach musical potential

Walton (1.8%)

1. I am going to be different, as usual, and say the Walton (top up w/ Shostakovich). Reason: I think it takes exhausting
concentration to really convey what the piece is about - the emotional tensions and constant
suspensions throughout.
2. Haydn D, Walton, Shost. #2, Perhaps Haydn D because of demand of exactitude - I mean, the complete D, not truncated.
Appendices to Survey - 5
Shostakovich #2 (1.8%)

1. Shostakovich #2 - amazingly difficult for cellist & orchestra, but a beautiful piece (Prokofiev Symphonie
Concertante is a close second)
2. Haydn D, Walton, Shost. #2, Perhaps Haydn D because of demand of exactitude - I mean, the complete D, not truncated.

Vivaldi concertos (0.9%)

1. Vivaldi Concertos e, a: Technique and intensity of largo mvmts, variations between mvts and tenor clef

Davidoff (0.9%)

1. Davidoff #1 - all kinds of techniques are there

George Lloyd (0.9%)

1. George Lloyd - Concerto (check out David Finkel recording); difficult technical, emotionally, and contemporary. Sounds nice
too!

Kabalevksy (0.9%)

1. SS (Kabalevsky or a classical gem like Boccherini B flat

Appendices to Survey - 6
Appendix 3 - Full listing of Etudes (with possible duplicate listings)

A Rhythm a Week Hans Jorgen Jensen "Fun in Thumb Position"


Advanced Technique (Hal Leonard?) Introducing the Positions
All for Strings Joanne Martin "I Can Read Music"
An Introduction to Thumb Position, vol. 1 Kabalevsky major/minor etudes op. 67
Anderson/Frost "Solos and Etudes" - Strictly Klengel "Technical Studies"
Strings Klengel bk. 2
Applebaum “String Builder” Krane
Applebaum "Building Technique with Beautiful Kreutzer "22 Studies"
Music" Kreutzer-Silva "42 Studies"
Applebaum 1st position etudes Kummer method
Applebaum duets Lee 40 Melodic and Progressive Etudes, op. 31
Applebaum scales Lee, 40 Easy Exercises, op 70
Azari "Twenty Etudes for Two Cellos" Lee Cello Method
Beautiful Music for Two Stringed Instruments Martin "New Perspectives in Position Playing"
Benoy and Sutton "Introduction to Thumb Matesky, R. "Well-Tempered String player"
Position" Matz, R. “The Complete Cellist”
Bunting, C. "A Portfolio of Cello Exercises" Merk, 20 Etudes, op. 11
Schroeder, Karl Minsky, 10 American Cello Etudes
Cello Power exercises Mooney "Double Stops"
Cossmann Mooney "Position Pieces"
Cracknell and Martindale "Enjoy Playing the Mooney "Thumb Position for Cello"
Cello" Mueller Rusch bks. 1, 2, 3
Davidoff Piatti Cello Method
De'ak Piatti, 12 Caprices, op. 25
Dotzauer 62 Popper "15 Easy..."
Dotzauer Exercises for Cello Popper, High School of Cello Playing, op. 73
Dotzauer Method Popper "Studies Preparatory to H.S."
Dotzauer-Grant "Fundamentals" vol. 1, 2, 3 Popper Duets
Dotzauer-Grant "Young Hands" Potter "Art of Cello Playing"
Dotzauer-Klingenberg Rolland "Young Strings in Action"
Dotzauer/Schroeder Method Schroeder
Duport, 21 Etudes (2 vols) Schroeder "170 Foundation Studies"
Essential Elements Servais, Six Caprices, op. 11
Essential Technique (Hal Leonard) Sevcik, 40 Variations, op. 3
Essentials for Strings Sevcik, Changes of Position/Prep. Scale Studies,
Feuillard Method for the Young Cellist: 60 op. 8
Etudes Sevcik “40 Variations,” op. 3 arr. Feuillard
Feuillard Daily Exercises Solo Albums for Cello
Feuillard Method Squire "Twelve Easy Exercises for Cello" op.
Feuillard Scales and Arpeggios 18
Fiddle orchestra Starker's organized method
Fitzenhagen Thumb Studies Strictly Strings
Franchomme (Caprices?) String Power
Fritz Maag, Cello Exercises String Rhythms
Fuchs Stuschevsky (but which? Art of Playing Cello
Grant "Basic Thumb Position Studies for or Etudes?)
Young Cellists" Such, P “New School of Cello Studies”
Grant "Beginner's Guide to the Cello" Suzuki books
Grant duets Werner, Practical Method
Grant, F. "First Position Etudes" Whistler, Introducing the Positions
Grant, F. "Intermediate Solos in the Positions" Whistler/Hummel "Elementary and Intermediate
Grutzmacher Daily Studies op. 67 Scales and Bowings"
Grutzmacher, Technology of Cello Playing Yampolski, Violoncello Technique

Appendices to Survey - 7
Appendix 4 - Article about Phyllis Young

from Strings, April 2003, vol 17, no. 7. pp 28-31

WHEN IT COMES TO MUSICAL INSTRUCTION, Phyllis Young has a way with words. "Let's see if
you can make your arm so relaxed that all that fat on the inside of your upper arm will shake like Jello!" she says
while offering tips on perfecting vibrato on the cello. "Hand loose. Let your left elbow float in imaginary water."
A respected author, former president of the American String Teachers Association, and professor of cello
and string pedagogy at the University of Texas at Austin, Young is a leading authority on cello vibrato. She has
taught in nearly every state and 30 countries. At press time, she was scheduled to teach the teachers about some of
her vibrato-learning methods at this year's ASTA with NSOA conference in Ohio.
No doubt about it, Young has strong feelings about the technique she calls The Beautifier. "The thing that
has handicapped cellists more than just about anything else," she says, during a break from her classroom duties,
"is a lack of a beautiful and expressive vibrato."

SHAKIN' ALL OVER


What is vibrato? It is a wavering effect of tone obtained by rapidly shaking the string that the finger is
stopping, notes the Schirmer Pocket Manual of Musical Terms. The technique is used on notes of longer duration-
notes of shorter duration usually are played without vibrato. When the vibrato is beautiful, the result is a note or a
phrase that exudes emotion. The desired effect, adds Young, is like shaking dice.
Sounds simple enough. But the path to mastering vibrato is fraught with hazards. When learning a
fundamental skill on an instrument, it's better not to rush into it and best to get it right from the start.
In her 1978 book Playing the String Game: Strategies for Teaching Cello and Strings (Shar Publications;
$13.95), Young offers a detailed set of "previbrato conditions" that should be in place before a student tries to
execute the technique.
Many of these conditions are applicable to violin and viola as well.
Her teaching method also uses a wide array of "mini games" and mental images that ask the student to
imagine her body and the fingerboard in a variety of altered states-like the Living Fingerboard-and capable of
eliciting a desired response. Under Young's guidance, the aforementioned shaking Jello makes perfect sense. "The
imagery is a must in my way of thinking," she says. "People usually don't know where the muscles are located and
they don't think anatomically."

THE BEST-NOTE PRINCIPLE


Young suggests that a student who is beginning to use vibrato find the finger and the note that is most
beautiful and use it as a model for the other notes. Her book features hundreds of creative ideas that can assist in
this pursuit. Young doesn't believe that exercises found in standard etude books are always suitable for developing
vibrato since most etudes were not designed for that purpose. "It's much more useful to stay on a single note while
trying to find a beautiful balance in the hand and arm centered on the playing finger," she says. "Find the most
beautiful note in the world. I call that the Best-Note Principle. When you find the best note on the cello, then watch
the gorgeous vibrato, and then notice how you are balanced on the pad of your finger, and you'll have your own
model right there in the practice room. Then switch to a different finger or try dragging it over to a nearby string.
But first, Young recommends that you and your teacher assess your readiness by gauging these important
previbrato conditions:

Does the student play with good intonation and have a good knowledge of the fingerboard?
These basic points, Young stresses, are essential before moving on. After all, a student will feel
insecure about vibrating on a note if he or she is unsure of its location.
Is the left thumb free of any kind of tension and not pushing up against the cello’s neck? A
tight thumb can produce tension in other parts of the hand and inhibit the production of perfect
vibrato. The single biggest obstacle preventing the player from executing perfect vibrato is tension.
"If you have tight joints, even a single tight joint, then you can hear the result in the vibrato," Young
warns. "Never push up with the thumb-that's an important lesson and one that's not easy to relearn.
The thumb should just barely touch the neck."
Is the power line between the player's back and through-not from-the left arm and hand and
on through to the fingerboard, completely free and unobstructed? If the live weight does not reach
the finger pad so the string sinks easily into the fingerboard, the player will feel insecure when he
starts to shake his hand in the vibrato motion, Young coaches. His fingers will start to grab or push,
Appendices to Survey - 8
actions that are harmful because they tighten the finger joints. The larger the motion, the more
suction is required (see "Do the fingers feel sticky?"); thus, the flow of energy from the player's
back must not be restricted.
Is the cello positioned so that the player's left elbow does not feel tight? If the arm is folded
up at a sharp angle so that the forearm is cramped against the upper arm, Young observes, it is
impossible for the student to execute the vibrato action freely. The left elbow should "float" as if on
water.
Is the left hand positioned so that the base of the knuckles forms a line that runs almost
parallel to the strings (in the lower positions)? This is important because the shaking of the hand
will follow the line formed by the base of the knuckles. If the hand is not parallel to the fingerboard
then the motion will be wasted and the vibrato on the fourth finger will be restricted, she cautions.
Do the fingers feet "sticky," creating a feeling of suction between the skin and the
fingerboard? Players possess two basic touches: One is when they are tapping their fingers, Young
says, and the other is when they feel as though there are little suction cups-or sticky wet glue-on
their fingers. "These are two completely different ways of sensing touch. When we play fast
passages and we're tapping, then we feel as though the fingerboard is made of wood," she points
out. "But I want my students to have that suction-cup feeling even more than the tapping at the
beginning stages. It's sort of a clinging, sticky feel, and it's out of that that the vibrato grows so
beautifully-if we just emphasize dropping the finger as a separate unit, it doesn't seem to invite a
beautiful vibrato later."
Is the student able to produce big, vibrant tones? Young recommends that students begin
with "wide and free" motions in which every part of the forearm shakes. "When we play loudly, the
amplitude of the vibrating string is wide," she says. "I want them all to start with a wide vibrato. If
you start with a wide vibrato it's easy to refine it later to a smaller vibrato, but the reverse is very
difficult and causes tightness."

A BALANCING ACT
In the final analysis, it's all about balance. "The whole concept of vibrato is based on balance and making of
tension-free motions," she concludes, "which are guided by the aural dream of a beautiful tone."
To help achieve the feeling of balance on the playing finger, Young also suggests that beginning students
take a "spring check-up." In this exercise, the student should play single notes using those metaphorical suction-
cup fingers to adhere to the strings while the teacher tugs lightly on the student's left elbow. While this playful tug-
of-war is taking place, the student should imagine a spring in every joint-sort of like the spring on a kitchen screen
door-allowing the fingers to remain limber and to spring back to their original position.
She also cautions against thinking that the weight should be distributed evenly among all fingers on the
fingerboard. Instead, assign one of the fingers to be the chairman of the committee. It will be the finger that
determines the pitch.
"So if all four fingers are on the fingerboard," she adds, "the fourth finger is the designated spokesperson
and carries all the weight. If the third finger is making the pitch then three, two, and one are all there but one and
two are just like little specks of dust. The balance is always on the playing finger unless one is playing a very fast
passage."
For Young, the introduction of vibrato is an extremely rewarding experience, for student and teacher alike.
It is "the high point" of a player's training and marks "the transformation of the straight tone so characteristic of the
rookie player into the rich, warm tone usually associated with the instrument," she says.
"Vibrato is the thing that makes the cello a very expressive instrument."

Appendices to Survey - 9
Appendix 5 - Answers for 5b

The answers are given in order of teaching experience. The letters:

c stands for “very important/crucial/judicious use”


j stands for “just as important as other things/only when used properly”
a stands for “adds to plain sound”

2c Vibrato is critical. --edited-- It is, in my opinion, one of the most crucial elements in developing an
individual style.

3j Vibrato is just as important to good sound as bow technique and left hand technique

3a I find it relatively important to good sound - probably more important to hand relaxation - I try to make
sure students know that good sound really comes from the bow arm, and that vibrato enhances it.

3j I feel vibrato is very important to good sound, but only when used properly

4c Vibrato is extremely important for a good sound & it helps boost confidence levels in students

4c It’s important providing the student has a good sense of hand position and intonation.

4c It is crucial to the student and our interpretation of art music today so it is important to acquire the skills of
strong tone and solid pitch first.

5c Vibrato is very important for producing good tone.

5c very important to good sound

6c It is essential, later on, to good sound.

6c students need to use it judiciously

7j I think at first they need to develop intonation and a proper bow hold.

8c It adds a lot to the quality of sound.

9a not as important as bow technique - straight bow, legato motion

10 c Of course, it is eventually essential to a great sound!

10 a not too - in some ways it is a distraction from good bow technique and easily becomes a crutch - see L.
Mozart, Casals, etc.

10 a Don’t do it if it doesn’t sound good!

10 a It is important to a good sound but bow control is more important to that.

10 a/c Vibrato is the icing on the cake that entices a listener to want more or decide that he’s had enough

10 good sound (bow) is a separate issue

10 c It’s very important to sound depending on the level of the student.

11 c Important enough to dissect mechanics monthly

12 c Essential to teach vibrato as a device of expression and emotion


Appendices to Survey - 10
12 c extremely important!

13 c VITAL to a good sound - it “rounds out” the sound

15 j A.S.A.P., as it is the 2nd step, good sound being the first step

15 a I consider vibrato a bonus, but it is the bow that makes good sound.

15 Vibrato is a separate issue.

15 j In earlier stages, I find pitch more important than vibrato

15 a Vibrato is the icing on the cake. First, the cake itself (tone, intonation) must be solid

15 a You can have a good sound with vibrato. In fact you have to have a good sound before vibrato.

16 j I think vib is important - although I think it goes hand in hand with a good bow arm.

17 c Vibrato is essential to a mature sound.

18 c It is extremely important to be able to vary the width and speed. Without vibrato, expression and left hand
technique is severely limited.

18 c I find it very important

18 c I find it helps to loosed tight thumbs. Yes, it is very important to beautiful sound.

20 c A good sound is vital - from the first use of the bow!

20 a It is very important if it is begun when it ADDS to the plain tone - if it interferes and is too frustrating we
wait for a while.

20 c very important

20 a The bow sound is what is essential to a beautiful sound; the vibrato enhances the bow sound.

22 c Important See my article in The Strad May 2003 p. 480

25 a/c great enhancer of sound!

25 a/c important to expression but can make a good sound (tone) without it.

25 a good tone depends on vibrato; good sound is a balance between bow and left hand.

25 c Vibrato is essential and a must to good tone production.

25 c It is one of the basics - others being LH contact and bow control

25 j The goal is always good sound, but I focus on the right arm and hand technique first.

25 j Good sound to me means having a palette of timbres available which includes non-vibrato and an infinity of
vibratos - speeds and widths.

25 c extremely important

25 c Extremely important
Appendices to Survey - 11
27 c very important

27 j It is essential to cello playing, but perhaps second to use of the bow for “good sound” production.

30 c I feel that good vibrato is essential to a good sound.

30 c extremely important for beautiful tone.

30 a It adds to their sound which I try to instill in the student a good sound through a good bow arm and
placement of the bow on the string.

30 c Vibrato is absolutely a must!

30 a Getting to the core of the instrument is good sound, finding weight balance with both left and right
arms/hand set to the core. Vibrato enhances sense of balance and weight. Eventually it leads to maturity of
sound. But, first form, weight, and balance.

30 c It is essential to sound. Must be taught step by step because it becomes a reflex action.

32 c Vibrato is essential to a lovely sound!

32 a/c Good vibrato is very important for enhancing an already good tone.

35 c I find it’s necessary for good sound

35 c It is essential to a good sound and tone and expression

35 c very important

36 j I don’t dwell on it at the expense of other technique development

36 c very

38 c very important

39 c Very important - it is part of good sound production

40 c very!

40 a Considering that non-stop vibrato is an advent only of the last century, I do not push vibrato in all music.
There is nothing worse than a bad vibrato. I also do not feel that avoiding an open string is bad style.

40 a I like a good sense of sound (or tone) established so the student doesn’t mistakenly think that vibrato
means good tone production. I think it is like icing or decoration on the cake; the cake has to be ready for
decoration.

45 c totally!

45 a It is essential to coloring the sound, good sound must first be produced by the bow and the correct
articulation from the left hand.

45 c It is extremely important for good sound

50 c I find a well developed controlled vibrato is essential to having a “good” sound which can be more
expressive as well as having a warmer singing tone

Appendices to Survey - 12
50 j very important - but also must be able to play without it!

50 c Most important for good sound - bow well in the string and a centered vibrato

50 c Students usually notice their tone is not good until they learn to vibrato.

55 c It’s very important for a good sound

60 j good sound follows

63 ? As expressive tool I get into matched sostenuto then how to for special effects (incl. senza)

Appendix 6 - Color-Coded listings of Vibrato Answers

This list is useful for seeing the general trends more easily.

2 c 15 s 30 a
3 j 15 j 30 c
3 a 15 a 30 a
3 j 15 a 30 c
4 c 16 j 32 c
4 c 17 c 32 a/c
4 c 18 c 35 c
5 c 18 c 35 c
5 c 18 c 35 c
6 c 20 c 36 j
6 c 20 a 36 c
7 j 20 c 38 c
8 c 20 a 39 c
9 a 22 c 40 c
10 c 25 a/c 40 a
10 a 25 a/c 40 a
10 a 25 a 45 c
10 a 25 c 45 a
10 a/c 25 c 45 c
10 s 25 j 50 c
10 c 25 j 50 j
11 c 25 c 50 c
12 c 25 c 50 c
12 c 27 c 55 c
13 c 27 j 60 j
15 j 30 c
15 a 30 c

Appendices to Survey - 13
Appendix 7 - Repertoire

Listed in order of popularity. The boldface indicates more than ten votes. There are a total of 178 listings; some
could easily be duplicates.

Bach Suites 82 contemporary music 3


Saint-Saens, Concerto 39 corelli sonatas 3
Beethoven sonatas 37 Dvorak chamber 3
Dvorák 34 Eccles sonata 3
Haydn Concertos 32 handel sonatas 3
Brahms sonatas 31 Kabalevsky 3
vivaldi sonatas 20 Mendelssohn Sonatas 3
Beethoven chamber 19 Mendelssohn Song w/o words 3
Brahms e minor 19 Mendelssohn trios 3
Lalo 18 Popper etudes 3
Elgar concerto 15 Prokofiev (what?) 3
Mozart Chamber 15 Prokofiev sonata 3
Rococo 15 Sammartini G sonata 3
Haydn C 14 Shostakovich chamber 3
Haydn Chamber 13 Barber concerto 2
Boccherini concertos 12 Bartok 2
Faure Elegie 12 Bartok chamber 2
Saint-Saens, Swan 10 Bazelaire Suite Francais 2
Schumann Concerto 9 Beethoven Variations 2
bach sonatas 8 Beethoven Variations Judas Macc. 2
Schubert arpeggione 8 Bloch, Prayer 2
Kol Nidre 7 Bloch, Schelomo 2
Shostakovich sonata 7 Boccherini sonata(s) 2
Boccherini B flat concerto 6 Britten 2
Breval Sonatas 6 Faure Sicilienne 2
Saint-Saens, Allegro Appassionato 6 Grieg 2
Brahms chamber 5 Haydn 2
Goltermann Concerto(s) 5 Haydn D 2
Orchestral excerpts 5 Kummer duets 2
Shostakovich concerto(s) 5 Lee duets 2
Vivaldi double cello 5 Mendelssohn Chamber 2
Beethoven A major 4 Popper Gavotte in D 2
Boccherini 4 Rachmaninoff sonata 2
Chamber music of any kind 4 Rachmaninoff Vocalise 2
Debussy sonata 4 Sammartini sonatas 2
Hindemith unaccompanied sonata 4 Schumann 5 Folk pieces 2
Marcello sonatas 4 Schumann pieces for cello and piano 2
Popper H.S. 4 Shostakovich 2
Popper misc. 4 Squire 2
Romberg Sonatas op. 38, 43 4 Squire Danse Rustique 2
Schubert cello quintet 4 Squire easy pieces 2
Schubert chamber 4 Strauss sonata 2
Schumann Fantasy pieces 4 Vivaldi (but what?) 2
Squire Tarantella 4 44 duos for cello 1
vivaldi concertos 4 Aller Gavotte in G 1
Barber 3 Bach, J.C. concerto in C 1
Barber sonata 3 Bartok duos 1
baroque sonatas/concertos 3 Bartok roumanian dances 1
Boccherini A major sonata 3 Beethoven (not just sonatas?) 1
Boccherini chamber 3 Beethoven Grosse Fuge 1
Chopin sonata 3 Beethoven op. 69 1
Appendices to Survey - 14
Beethoven Variations Magic Flute 1 Kodaly op. 8 1
Bloch 1 Kodaly Sonata 1
Bloch Songs from Jewish life 1 Lee 1
Brahms double concerto 1 Locatelli D sonata 1
Brahms F major 1 Maske 1
Brahms piano concerto 1 Mendelssohn Sonata no. 2 1
Breval concerto in D 1 Mendelssohn Variations 1
Breval G major concerto 1 Offenbach duets 1
Britten solo suites 1 piatti caprices 1
Bruch 1 Popper preparatory studies 1
Carter 1 Prokofiev Symphonie Concertante 1
Carter sonata 1 Romberg B flat 1
Casals song of the birds 1 romberg concertos 1
cello ensemble music 1 Saint-Saens 1
Chant du Ministrel 1 Saint-Saens, Sicilienne 1
Corelli concertos 1 Scarlatti sonatas 1
Corelli D 1 Schroeder 1
Corelli quartets 1 Schubert 1
Davidoff Concerto 1 Schubert "trout" 1
Debussy 1 Schubert trios 1
Dotzauer 1 Schumann 1
Downey unaccompanied 1 Sevcik 1
Dvorák short pieces 1 Shostakovich op. 40 1
Fortner unaccompanied 1 Squire Bouree 1
Gabrielli Ricercars 1 Squire Neapolitan Dance 1
Geminiani sonatas 1 Stamitz concerto 1
Goltermann concerto #4 1 standard 19th c. rep 1
Goltermann Concertos #4, 5 1 standard concertos 1
Goltermann sonatas 1 standard quartet literature 1
Grutzmacher 1 standard sonatas 1
Haydn Divertimento 1 Symphonic variations 1
Hindemith 1 Tarantella (popper or squire?) 1
Hindemith 3 easy pieces 1 vivaldi a minor sonata 1
Jaumann 1 vivaldi chamber 1
Klengel concertino in C, op. 7 1 vivaldi duets 1
Klengel concertos 1 Walton 1
Kodaly 1 webern 1
Kodaly anything 1

Appendices to Survey - 15
Appendix 8 - Show-Off Pieces, in order of popularity

van Goens Scherzo 21 Bazalaire Suite Populaire 1


Popper Hungarian Rhapsody 18 Beethoven Variations on Judas Maccabeus 1
Saint-Saens Allegro Appassionato 18 Bloch Prayer 1
Popper Gavotte No. 2 13 Boccherini Concertos (original) 1
Popper Tarantella 13 Boellmann Symphonic Variations 1
Haydn C Major 11 Bolling Suite for Cello and Jazz Trio 1
Squire Tarantella 10 Brahms sonata 1
Popper various 8 Brahms sonatas 1
Saint-Saens Concerto No. 1 7 Breval Sonata in D 1
Breval Sonata in C 6 Britten 1
Davidoff At the Fountain 6 Cassado Requibros (?) 1
Frescobaldi Toccata 6 Celtic Cello Suite 1
Boccherini Rondo in C Major 5 Chopin 1
Faure Elegy 5 Chopin/Popper Nocturne in E flat 1
Goltermann Concerto No. 4 (G major?) 5 Crossing to Scotland 1
Lalo Concerto 5 Davis Elegy 1
Bach Suites 4 De'ak Suite 1
Flight of the Bumblebee 4 Debussy 1
Saint-Saens The Swan 4 Dvorák Concerto 1
Tchaikovsky Rococo Variations 4 Eccles Sonata 1
Bach Suite #1 3 Faure Apres un Reve 1
Beethoven sonatas 3 Francoeur Sonata in E 1
Boccherini Concerto 3 Glazunov Song of the Minstrel 1
Elgar Concerto 3 Granadas Orientale 1
Kodaly Unaccompanied 3 Haydn 1
Paganini Variations (on 1 string) 3 Haydn Divertimento 1
Squire Bouree 3 Haydn Sonatina 1
Squire Danse Rustique 3 Jacobson Hip Hip Bouree 1
Vivaldi sonatas 3 Kabalevsky 1
Bach, J.C. c minor concerto 2 Klengel Concertino in C major 1
Boccherini B flat 2 Klengel Concerto 1
Brahms e minor 2 Marie La Cinquantaine 1
Chopin Polonaise Brillante 2 Meditation (Thais) 1
Foss Capriccio 2 Mendelssohn Song without Words 1
Ginastera Pampeana #2 2 Monti Csardas 1
Goltermann Concertos 2 PDQ Bach 1
Goltermann Etude Caprice 2 Piazzolla Grand Tango 1
Haydn D 2 Popper Elfentanz 1
Haydn Divertimento Mvt. III 2 Popper Etudes 1
Kol Nidre 2 Popper vito 1
Popper Chanson Villageoise 2 Prokofiev Sonata 1
Popper Spinning Song 2 Prokofiev/Piatigorsky March 1
Schumann Fantasy Pieces 2 Romberg Concerto 1
Squire various 2 Romberg Sonatas (esp. B flat) 1
Sumner Julie O 2 Saint-Saens Concerto No. 1, first page 1
Webster Scherzo 2 Sammartini Sonata III 1
Bach Arioso 1 Schubert Arpeggione 1
Bach dance movements 1 Seitz Concerto No. 5 1
Bach sonatas 1 Shostakovich 1
Bach Suite #1 - Prelude 1 Shostakovich Sonata 1
Bach Suite #2 1 Tchaikovsky Pezzo Capriccioso 1
Bach Suite #5 1 Vivaldi Concertos 1-6 1
Bach Suites #5, 6 1 Vivaldi Double 1
Bach Suites 1, 2 1 Weber Adagio and Rondo 1
Barber Sonata 1 Weber Scherzo 1
Appendices to Survey - 16
Appendix 9 - Differences

A summary of the differences in teaching techniques.

let students choose pieces


tailor style to individual needs
more theory
aural skills/musicianship
teach how to practice
play more with student
play less with student/observe more
more systematic with technique
teach technique before pieces
improvisation
balance of cello - playing without pain
give whys
more detailed in presentation
younger students
focus on “fun”
nicer, more respectful of student
teach thumb position sooner
teach vibrato sooner
more informal
Suzuki method
working with parents
let students choose fingerings
Bonnie Hampton, Margaret Rowell, Irene Sharp
more emphasis on rote scales, technique

Appendix 10 - Questions 11 and 12

These are the complete answers to questions 11 and 12 of those teachers who mentioned “stylistic issues” in their
response to question 14.

Answers to question 11

1. “each note melting into the next. lots of vibrato, virtuosic melodies”
2. “beautiful sound/tone with singing vibrato”
3. “A vibrato that varies in speed, long lyrical phrasing, and large desperate changes in dynamics”
4. “big solo sound, vibrato, large dynamic range”
5. “A warm, tension-free bow sound and wide variety of vibrato colors and width/speeds also wide dynamic
range. Bow must be smoothly connected with sustained sound. Must also have a variety of shift styles (audible
shifts - and what type and how much - vs. inaudible shifts)”
6. “Fluency in technique - esp. shifting. Wide dynamic range and large timbral palette - vibrato, bow
placement, etc.”
7. “lots of vibrato at varying speeds and widths. depth to tone.”
8. “Lush, rich, warm, very musical, lots of interpretation, draws the listener in, more difficult to achieve than
baroque, classical - lots of bow”
9. “warm tone, full vibrato”
10. “emotional, chromatic passages, folk-like”
11. “rich vibrato and dynamics”
12. “full, resonant tone with well-developed vibrato”
13. “warm expressive tone”

Appendices to Survey - 17
Answers to question 12

1. “I don’t know a lot about early cello technique, but a relaxed posture and shoulder loose has great benefit. Not
only while playing but I find myself sitting up straight even away from the cello.”
2. “I don’t know”
3. “I don’t know much about the history of cello technique. Perhaps the biggest change would be the endpin, the
creation of an endpin that bends in the middle, and the quality of new strings on the market. This doesn’t really
relate to technique though.”
4. “wider variety of sounds are acceptable (ponticello, col legno, tasto, Bartok pizz, etc.)”
5. “150 - printed music and easier/greater travel so information/teaching/ performing styles could be spread more
easily and over greater distances.
100- recording technology (see above) also contributing to popularity of instrument. Also spread of endpin
use!
50 - New string technology (new low strings speak faster - huge help to cellists when playing w/ other strings).
Also spread of more affordable good quality instruments and small scale instruments. Also “revolution” on all
string instruments to play (and teach) in a body-friendly manner. (Ergonomically thoughtful playing)”
6. “Relaxation above brute strength. More natural positioning of upper arms, shoulders, emphasis on tone
production.”
7. “no idea”
8. “modern instruments are easier to play - especially for young students with sizing, better quality, fine tuners,
caspari pegs, etc. Allow all aspects or technique more ease and development at all levels”
9. “more agility on the instrument”
10. “More relaxation. More awareness of avoiding injury”
11. “Casals was the master”
12. “Good scale fingering, development of facile technique”
13. “In the last 100 years Pablo Casals probably made the greatest improvement in cello technique. He freed up
the left hand introducing extensions as well as more comfortable fingerings and freed up the bow arm as well.
Many of the techniques we use today originated with him. In the last 50 years I do not think the cello
techniques have changed that much - but greater precision in finger articulation and shifting has become the
“norm.” What might be considered improvements in cello technique could be considered refinements, and
different styles of teaching might lead one to believe these are improvements. In the last 50 years of my
teaching, however, the basic techniques have remained pretty much the same - the essentials remain the same -
good body balance, playing with ease and having the least amount of tension when playing.”

Appendices to Survey - 18
Alexandra Roedder
Music H195 (Honors Project)
Richard Taruskin
UC Berkeley - Fall 2003

The Violoncello and the Romantic Era: 1820-1920


Part II, Supplement: Portamento in Violoncello Technique: A Study of Early Recordings
or, When Did It Go Out of Fashion, and Why?

This paper is based upon recordings on The Recorded Cello: The History of the Cello on Record, vols 1-2, issued by
Pearl Records, 1992.

Portamento is the effect produced on a stringed instrument when, in shifting from one note
to the next, a finger is left on the fingerboard, producing a slide between notes. Depending on the
speed with which the finger is moved and the acceleration used, as well as whether or not the cellist
slides only partway and extends the hand the rest of the way, or vice versa, the entire sound and
musical effect of the portamento is changed.
The use of portamento can be associated mostly with the cellist’s sense of taste, which is a
hard thing to define, and even harder to follow from one generation to the next. Students won’t
necessarily have the same taste as their former teachers, and aren’t guaranteed of passing on their
own taste to their students, especially considering that cello teachers tend to try to improve on what
they were taught1 .
So what does define good taste? One part will come from what the performer learned.
Another part will come from what contemporaries are doing, and yet another from the performers’
own musical sense, which is quite an abstract concept: what kind of sound, what aesthetic makes the
music most interesting, most captivating? What makes the music “sound good?” Because these
kinds of questions have highly individualized answers and depend on so many different variables, it
is nearly impossible to predict them.
My theory is that it was improvements in recording technology - improvements in accurate
reproduction of sound - that encouraged cellists to use less and less portamento.
Early recordings were made acoustically, meaning that the soloist sat in front of a large horn
which channelled the sound to a diaphram that ran a stylus which engraved the record (usually a
wax disc or cylinder), and the recording was done instantaneously. It was a completely mechanical

1
I surveyed cello teachers over the summer of 2003, and that was one of my discoveries.
Portamento - 1
system, using no electricity whatsoever. Proximity to the signal-gathering device, the horn, would
determine the volume of the recording and the quality of the sound.

May Harrison recording the Elgar Cello Concerto. Notice how close she is to the horn.

In 1926 the first electrical systems emerged, and with them, higher fidelity. (Fidelity is
defined as “the accuracy with which the original sound is reproduced by recording and playback,
and depends on the range of frequencies reproduced and on the degree of distortion caused by the
recording, pressing, and playback processes.”2 ) In an electrical recording, the sound was picked
up by a microphone, turned into an electrical signal, and that signal was then used to engrave the
soft disc of wax or acetate. The use of electricity assisted mostly with amplification, so the sound
of the instrument could be made louder electronically, rather than by placing the instrument closer
to the pickup mechanism (though even today microphones are placed fairly close to the soloist - a
persistent practice that records an almost unreal sound from the instrument). In addition, filtering
the sound and equalizing it, or balancing the different frequencies, was also possible.
Portamento came in many different styles. The German tradition seemed to favor a slide
with a fairly constant speed which used up all the fingerboard space between the two notes. The
French tended to slide on one finger and put another finger down to play the note (or the other way
around), resulting in a gap in the slide. Perhaps these are the foundations of what is still taught
today as “French” and “German” shifting. Other, less nation-specific, performers were much

2
Mumma, Gordon. “Recording,” §I, 1. Grove Music Online (Jazz), ed. Macy, L. (Accessed 12/07/2003)
<http://www.grovemusic.com>
Portamento - 2
more mixed in their slides. They tended to slide through the complete space, rather like the
Germans, but with a varying speed, sometimes accelerating or decelerating as they reached their
final destination.
The decline of portamento was initially quite rapid and then tapered off into a rather erratic,
individualized change. At first, it was simply the amount of sliding that decreased, and then there
was a noticeable change in the proportion of upwards slides versus downwards slides - there were
many more slides on downwards shifts than on upwards shifts.
The most profound change in the use of portamento occurred between the earliest
recordings (here, 1905) and around 1925. Specifically, recordings from between 1905 and 1915
have much more portamento of all kinds - technical or expressive - than those from the early 20s,
and especially those from the later 20s. The earliest recordings usually have slides on almost every
shift, even on those that don’t warrant it technically, such as those down to an open string. Later
recordings have a sense of “Just passing through here;” while it would be possible to completely
hide the shift, the cellist doesn’t feel the need to.
Between about 1926 and 1940, the decline of portamento became much more gradual and
individualized. Many German players had their own stubborn sense of style (especially Julius
Klengel, who, in 1927, recorded the Sarabande from Bach’s sixth Suite for Unaccompanied Cello,
with slides between almost every note) that did not waver throughout their lives. The French school
was quite uniform in its playing during this time - recordings from around 1930 do not use that
much more portamento than very “expressive” recordings of the early 1940s. The American and
English traditions experienced a fairly steady decline of the usage of portamento, and by about
1940 sounded much the same as recordings from the 1970s and 80s. English players had, by
1930, almost completely dispensed with portamento used for technical purposes, and were using it
judiciously for “expression.”
These declines seem to support the hypothesis that it was at least partly due to recording
technology that portamento went into disfavor in the first half of the 20th century. With the advent
of affordable recording technology in about 1900, a handful of cellists made recordings of short
salon pieces. By listening to these recordings, they surely experienced what portamento sounded
like outside the instrument - that it often completely obliterates the notes, especially when used in
fast passages3. Perhaps also audiences who heard the same recording over and over again became

3
ex. Alfred Newberry: Popper’s Spinnelied (1908)
Portamento - 3
disinterested in the affectation, and public taste swayed towards less portamento and more vibrato.
For whatever reason, though, by the time the newer electrical recording systems were in use, a wider
vibrato was in use and portamento was used much more sparingly than in the past. And during the
period of electrical recording, from 1926 until 1947, when the tape recorder became available
commercially, portamento continued to decline. Perhaps this was a result of even higher fidelity, or
perhaps it was due to the emergence of large record labels, which swam or sank according to public
taste.
So was portamento popular for a few only decades during the early ages of recording, or
was it a large part of cello technique in the years beforehand? If it was merely a passing fancy, then
perhaps the recording industry is not to blame; but if it was a standard part of technique in the pre-
vinyl era, then a good portion of the fault must lie with recording technology. The answer lies with
method books, old editions, and with Julius Klengel’s rendition of the Sarabande from Bach’s
sixth suite.
By 1927, portamento was distinctly on its way out. It had become an afterthough except
where great expressivity was desired. But, in 1927, Julius Klengel (1859-1933) made a very
portamento-filled recording of the Sarabande from the sixth suite. He must have been disregarding
public taste in order to do what he wanted to. Klengel was born in 1859, and we can presume that
his taste in 1927 was not just coincidentally opposite that of his peers - he had probably been
playing that way for several decades. He was widely respected as a teacher; many students came
from different countries specifically to study with the man. Though he was acknowledged as not
being the greatest player, he no doubt had to have good taste (for the time) in order to produce so
many successful pupils. In conclusion, the style of playing in the late 19th century, before the
recording industry began, must have included smooth slides from one note to the next.
Older editions also indicate fingerings that encourage portamento. For example, the Peters
Edition (1928, ed. Klengel) of Brahms’ Sonata in e minor (1862) uses the opening fingering of 1
4 -2 on the C string, rather than the same-position fingering of 1 4 1, which switches strings and
is much simpler. The entire Sonata is permeated with similar instances. The Popper High School
of Cello Playing (c. 1905) uses fingerings that encourage 4-4 and 1-1 shifts that, unless special
attention is paid to them, produce portamento; the same is found in the Grützmacher Etudes, op. 38
(prior to 1900).
Clearly, portamento was a popular effect until about 1920, and the only thing that can
Portamento - 4
account for its decline, apart from a rapid change in taste, is the advent of recording technology. It
not only allowed the performer to hear from a different perspective, but also changed the way
consumers viewed music. A performance was no longer a single event; it could be copied and
distributed and reproduced decades - in some cases almost a century - after its initial performance.
Just like music designed for mechanical instruments, like music boxes and clock tower chimes, a
different style was needed, one that would still be pleasant to listen to after a dozen repetitions. And
it seems that portamento was not part of that style.

Portamento - 5
Alexandra Roedder
Music H195 (Honors Project)
Richard Taruskin
UC Berkeley - Spring 2004

The Violoncello and the Romantic Era: 1820-1920


Part III - The Composer-Performer Relationship

This paper, third in this sequence, will discuss composers of the nineteenth century and their
relationship to the cello and its performers. It will not discuss cellist-composers, composers who,
although they may have written music for other instruments besides the cello, made their living
performing on the cello. (Because these musicians were already intimately familiar with the abilities
and limitations of the instrument, there was no need to either seek out a cellist or peruse an
instrumentation text to learn about the cello.)
This paper hopes to sketch out answers to the following questions: What repertoire exists
by major nineteenth century composers, and what demands does it make upon the cello? How did
these demands change during the nineteenth century? How did the changing demands of the music,
the composers, and the audience affect technique? How did the changing aesthetics of music in the
nineteenth century affect the role of the cello? How was improvisation, including the creation of
cadenzas, affected by this aesthetic?
Supplemented to this paper is a list of romantic compositions for violoncello, written
between 1820 and 1920: solo works, sonatas, so-called “character pieces,” chamber music, and
orchestral pieces, not including opera. Also included are two tables: first, a table of composers, the
instrument they played, their works for cello, and the cellists with whom they worked; second, an
extensive timeline of composers and works, from 1820 to 1920.

I. Changing Roles and Aesthetics


Contemplation of music as a unified concept leads to the consideration of creativity in
music in comparison to other arts. Among professional musicians and music-lovers,
musical creation is customarily divided into composition and performance, with
improvisation perhaps an intermediate stage. But in musical scholarship, far more
attention has been given to composition than to the others, and the notion of music as a
group of finished works dominates; ... The importance of innovation in content (e.g. the
nature of themes) but even more in style (e.g. the abstract style characteristics or ‘rules’
Composer-Performer Relationship - 1
by which one composes) is essential in modern Western culture. (For an extreme
statement of the position: one must not only compose something not previously heard,
but also something in a style not previously known.) Performance, though appreciated
and rewarded, is not as respected as composition, and members of Western society do not
think of music as a large conglomeration of performances. The world's greatest
musicians are composers far more often than performers.1

The idea that composition is more important than performance is a relatively new one. Just
a few centuries ago, it was unthinkable for musicians who composed not to also perform music.
Palestrina sang, Bach played organ, harpsichord, violin, viola, and who knows what else besides,
Vivaldi played the violin, and Boccherini played the cello. In the nineteenth century, however, an
increasing number of musicians turned to composition because they could not (or did not wish to)
pursue a performing career. Schumann had overworked himself young, injuring himself, and could
not continue his career as a pianist; Berlioz, it could be said, played the orchestra.
Music’s role in society was also becoming more formalized and inflexible. Music was
conceived by a composer, written down by the composer, rehearsed by musicians, and then
performed in a public hall for an audience that was actually listening, rather than wandering around,
talking and visiting, as was customary in the eighteenth century. Art music was no longer a
background activity for noble doings or an amusement to distract a weary traveler, it was a distinct
object, separate from its surroundings and its performances. Over the course of a half-century or
more of gradually changing tastes and philosophies, art music was stripped, by critics, composers,
performers, and the public, of its temporally-dependent existence in courts, pubs, streets, etc., and
given a temporally-independent status as a collection in the concert hall. This collection has come
to be called, by Lydia Goehr and others, as the “imaginary museum of musical works.”2

i. Our Museum
Cello repertoire from the nineteenth century is still the standard repertoire for most cellists
today, as shown in Part II of this project. In order to draw attention to the dramatically changing
repertoire produced by major romantic composers, the following paragraphs describe, in order of
the composer’s date of birth, works for the cello written in the nineteenth and early twentieth
centuries.

1
Nettl, Bruno. “Music, §III: The concept in scholarship,” Grove Music Online, ed L. Macy. accessed 4/25/04.
<www.grovemusic.com>
2
Goehr, Lydia. The Imaginary Museum of Musical Works. Clarendon Press, Oxford. 1992.
Composer-Performer Relationship - 2
Ludwig van Beethoven (1770-1827) wrote five sonatas for pianoforte and cello: op. 5 nos
1-2 (1796); op. 69 (1808), and op. 102, nos 1-2 (1815). The first two sonatas and the two sets of
variations on opera tunes were probably written for Jean Louis Duport (1749-1819), whom a young
Beethoven befriended in the 1790s. Op. 69 was played by Anton Kraft (1749-1820), and the op.
102 sonatas by Josef Linke (1783-1837). Beethoven also published in 1807 a triple concerto for
cello, violin, and piano, op. 56, which is not performed often these days.3 Beethoven’s late chamber
music is also challenging, especially as he treats the cello line not simply as a bass instrument,
carrying the harmony, but as an equal member of the quartet.
Franz Schubert (1797-1828) wrote a beautiful sonata for an obscure instrument called the
arpeggione, essentially a nineteenth-century version of the bass viol; it has 24 fixed metal frets on
its six strings and is bowed like a cello. This sonata (D821, 1824) is today part of the cello
repertoire, even though some portions of it are very difficult to play because they were written for an
instrument tuned in thirds and fourths, rather than in fifths. Schubert’s other contributions to the
literature lie in his chamber works (specifically, the double cello quintet in C major, D956, c. 1828)
and in his symphonies, which often employ the cello for singing melodies in the loudest and
sweetest range of the instrument - the region on the D and A strings around middle C. Though
Schubert was friendly with Josef Linke, no concertos or sonatas came of this relationship; then
again, Linke, according to Hanslick, “was an accomplished artist in quartet playing,” not a brilliant
soloist.4
Felix Mendelssohn’s (1809-1847) chamber music is his most lasting contribution to the
cello repertoire; his two sonatas (1838, 1842), are not particularly interesting, though the melodies
are nice. Ginsburg says, though:
The outstanding thing about them is the classical harmony, nobility and expressive
melodiousness, poetry and romanticism, but unlike the sonatas by Schumann and Liszt,
for example, they lack dramatism and passionate impulses. More characteristic of the
sonatas is the elegiac, dreamy and softly lyrical character.5

The first one is rarely performed nowadays; it is the second sonata in D major that is played more
3
It is not commonly known that Beethoven wanted to write a cello concerto - the only reason it does not exist,
according to legend, is that when he approached Bernhard Romberg (another friend, and one of the foremost German
cellists of the day) about it, Romberg declined the offer, saying that he only played his own music.
4
E. Hanslick, Geschichte des Concerwesens in Wien. Vienna, 1869. quoted in Ginsburg, The History of the
Violoncello, transl Tanya Tchistyakov. Paganiniana Publications, 1983. (p. 73)
5
Ginsburg, History of the Violoncello. ed H. R. Axelrod, transl T. Tchistyakova. Paganinia Publications, Inc.,
Neptune City, 1983. (p. 127)
Composer-Performer Relationship - 3
often. Although Mendelssohn also wrote a Variations concertantes (1829) an Assai tranquillo
(1835) for the cellist Julius Reitz (1812-1877), and a Lied ohne Worte (1845) dedicated to Louisa
Christiani (1827-1853), all for cello and piano, they are no longer popular.
Robert Schumann’s (1810-1856) most obvious contribution to cello literature is his
concerto, written in 1850.6 In addition to this concerto, Schumann also composed Fantasiestücke
for cello (or clarinet or violin) and piano (1849); Fünf Stücke im Volkston, for cello (or violin) and
piano (also 1849); a piano accompaniment to the Bach Suites for Unaccompanied Cello (1853) and
Fünf Romanzen for cello and piano (also 1853). The Fantasiestücke and Fünf Stücke im Volkston
are still popular among cellists. All of these cello works were written during his time at the asylum
in Endenach (??).
Frederic Chopin (1810-1849), who is much better remembered for his solo piano works,
wrote one sonata (1845), a Grand Duo Concertant sur des Thêmes de Robert le Diable7 (1831),
collaborating with the cellist August Franchomme, and a Polonaise Brillante (1830), dedicated to
Josef Merk (1795-1852), all for cello and piano. The sonata is a magnificent work, although, as
with many pieces composed by pianists, most of the technical difficulties are in the piano part,
rather than the cello part. The Grand Duo, by contrast, is a very brilliant, challenging work for both
parts; it was presumably performed by Chopin and Franchomme, both great virtuosos of their day.
César Franck (1822-1890) wrote a sonata in A major for violin (1886) towards the end of
his life; shortly after its publication, it was transcribed by Jules Delsart (1844-1900) for cello. It
has its difficulties, the most important one being that a lot of the piece is written loud - large chords
in the piano, half notes in the instrumental part that are to be held long and passionately. The real
challenge, then, lies not in learning the notes, but in working with the pianist to give the piece an
overall dynamic shape.
Edouard Lalo’s (1823-1892) best-remembered cello piece is his Concerto in D minor
6
This concerto has a special place in the literature for many reasons: it is the first romantic-style cello concerto
composed by a major composer who didn’t play the instrument (although he had played cello for a while in his
childhood, his main instrument was the piano), and the first by a major composer that was not written with a
specific cellist in mind; it has also not been very popular until just the last few decades, which have seen a general
increasing interest in Schumann’s music. It still has the feeling of “unknown concerto” about it because of this. It
wasn’t performed until ten years after its composition, during a posthumous fiftieth birthday celebration for
Schumann; Ludwig Ebert (1834-1908), who was the principal cellist of the Oldenburg Court Chapel in Leipzig,
played the solo. The concerto was not immediately accepted into the repertoire even after this performance - its
slightly jumpy texture and considerable technical difficulties were effective barriers to its popularization.
7
Robert le Diable (1831) was an immensely popular opera by Giacomo Meyerbeer (1791-1864)
Composer-Performer Relationship - 4
(1877), which was premiered by and dedicated to the cellist Adolf Fischer (1847-1891); it is now
played frequently by students. Lalo also wrote several smaller pieces for cello and piano: Arlequin
(1848), Chanson Villeagoise (1854, op. 14) and Allegro (1856, op. 16), a cello sonata in 1856, and
an Allegro Appassionato in 1876. His smaller compositions for cello might be the result of his
having studied cello at the Lille Conservatoire until the age of sixteen.
Johannes Brahms (1833-1897) wrote two sonatas for the cello (op. 39, 1865 and op. 99,
1886), the second of which was composed for Robert Hausmann. Both sonatas are very advanced
works, but still more difficult musically than technically. Brahms’ chamber music, though, has
plenty of technical difficulties in its rhythmic and musical complexity. Brahms also wrote the
Double Concerto for violin and cello (op. 102, 1887) for Hausmann and the violinist Joseph
Joachim (1831-1907); it is the only truly virtuosic piece Brahms wrote for the instrument. Perhaps
if he had lived longer past the publication of Dvorák’s cello concerto (1896), which he admired, he
would have written a cello concerto as well.
Camille Saint-Saëns (1835-1921) published a Suite in d minor for cello and piano or
orchestra (1862), two cello concertos (1872, 1902), an Allegro appassionato (1873), two sonatas
(1873, 1905), and a Chant saphique (1892). The first concerto, dedicated to the French cellist
August Tolbecque (1830-1908), is highly popular and is one of the first major pieces that students
learn; however, most cellists aren’t even aware of the second concerto, which is very difficult and
was dedicated to Joseph Hollmann. Saint-Saëns’ sonatas have also fallen into obscurity, as have
the Chant saphique and the Suite. However, the Allegro appassionato, which was written only a
few years before Lalo’s piece of the same name, has gained wide popularity due to its inclusion in
the Suzuki Cello Method books. Saint-Saëns’ output also includes Le Carnaval des Animaux,
from which “Le Cygne,” the solo cello work, was published separately for cello and piano less
than a year after Carnaval appeared. It has become one of the most famous pieces of music of all
time (it is commonly included in such CD collections as Relax with the Classics).
Piotr Chaikovsky’s (1840-1893) Variations on a Rococo Theme, written in 1876, is not
exactly a concerto, but is an extremely fine example of the standard theme-and-variations work of
the time. Unfortunately, the work as we know it today is Wilhelm Fitzenhagen’s version (see Part I
for details). Chaikovsky’s original version, which has recently been recorded by Steven Isserlis,8

8
released on Virgin Records, #61490 (1998)
Composer-Performer Relationship - 5
gives less of a virtuosic impression; possibly this is why Franz Liszt, a great proponent of
virtuosity, enjoyed Fitzenhagen’s version more. Chaikovsky’s other major piece for cello and
orchestra is the Pezzo Capriccioso of 1887, dedicated to another cellist friend of his, Anatoly
Brandoukov (1856-1930).9 The rest of Chaikovsky’s output for cello is chamber music and
orchestral pieces, which vary greatly in technical and musical demands.
Antonín Dvorák (1841-1904) wrote a long, difficult, and thickly orchestrated cello concerto
in 1896; most modern cellists consider it the “top of the food chain” (see Part II). The cello parts
in Dvorák’s chamber and symphonic music are enjoyable to play and exploit the cello well, perhaps
due to Dvorák’s long friendship with the cellist Hanus Wihan, who was the dedicatee, though not
the first public performer, of the Dvorák concerto. (Wihan had a schedule conflict, so the first
public performance was given in London by Leo Stern (1862-1904).10 ) There are two smaller
pieces of Dvorák’s that are still used regularly today in recitals, the Rondo and Klid (Silent Woods)
from 1894, which were written for his farewell tour of Czechoslovakia before coming to work in the
United States. These smaller pieces are moderately difficult, and, while not an essential part of the
cellist’s repertoire, are useful to know.
Sir Edward Elgar’s (1857-1934) cello concerto, written in 1919, just falls within the time
range of this paper. With its sweeping melodies and grand tonal gestures, it follows in the same
vein as Dvorák’s concerto of twenty years before, and is still widely performed; in fact, it is the
fourth most popular concerto among modern cello teachers, just behind Dvorák and the two Haydn
concertos.
There is just a handful of works for cello and orchestra composed by non-cellists before the
1850s: a concerto in C major (c. 1840-1850) by Nikolay Afanas'yev (1821-1898), a successful
Russian violinist, a concertino by Leopold Aiman (1779-1866); five cello concertos (1800-1810) by
Daniel Auber (1782-1871), who was trained as a cellist at a young age but mostly wrote vocal
music; a Concertino (1836) by Sir George Macfarren (1813-1887); a concerto (1817) by Johann
Nepomuk Poissl (1783-1865), a minor composer of opera; and several concertos written between
1785 and 1820 by Antoine Reicha (1770-1836).11 The rest of the concertos written before 1850,
9
Chaikovsky once asked Brandukov, when he was visiting, to bring along a score of the Saint-Saëns cello concerto -
perhaps he studied it when writing his Variations. (Holden, A., Tchaikovsky: A Biography. Random House, New
York, 1995. (p. 347))
10
van der Straeten, E. History of the Violoncello. William Reeves, London, 1914. (p. 522)
11
Grove Music Online ed L. Macy. (accessed 4/2004) <www.grovemusic.com>
Composer-Performer Relationship - 6
with the exception of the Haydn and Vivaldi concertos, were written by cellists.12 After 1850 and
Schumann’s concerto, however, more and more composers attempted to write works for cello and
piano, cello and orchestra, cello and string quartet, and whatever ensemble worked.
As part of their income, many composers supplemented their repertoire of large-scale works
with smaller pieces more suitable for amateurs and a popular public.13 There are some of these
pieces for cello by non-cellists: Rossini’s Une larme, theme and variations (date unknown);
Schumann’s above-mentioned Fantasiestücke; Chopin’s two duos for cello and piano . There are
some by minor composers as well: Woldemar Bargiel’s (1828-1897) Adagio in G for cello and
orchestra, op. 38; an Elegie (1829) and Serenade (1834) for multiple cellos by Franz Paul Lachner
(1803-1890), for example. However, the majority of cellists still wrote their own music: Bernhard
Romberg (1767-1841) and Adrien Servais in particular wrote dozens of concertos, “souvenirs,”
variations on popular opera tunes, and fantasies, for their own performances and concert tours.

ii. Composers and the Work-Concept

[Hector] Berlioz [(1803-1869)]was a considerable prose writer and as such responsible for
a great deal of the essential mythology of the romantic age. The great composer, it
seemed to him, is inevitably misunderstood and neglected, inevitably condemned to defend
himself against the attacks of philistines and ignorant obscurantists; he is inevitably
lonely because the world cannot understand originality.1 4

In the nineteenth century, music became heavily commercialized. Beethoven and some of
his contemporaries had shown the world that it was possible to be a successful composer without
being attached to a court or municipal position, and many were eager to follow in their wake. In the
late eighteenth and early nineteenth century, revolutions and revolts across Europe destroyed many
long-standing court positions, making it simply impossible for composers to rely upon the state for
their support. They had to earn from other means, either teaching at a conservatory or by relying
upon the paying public, which could, as the middle-class swelled, wages rose, and concert halls got
bigger, now afford to hear performances.
Their tastes, according to Raynor, were not particularly avant-garde:
The new audience consisted of self-made business men and members of the professions
12
This statement is based upon a study of the entries and works lists of the 1,794 nineteenth century composers
listed in Grove Music Online.
13
Raynor, H. Music and Society Since 1815. Taplinger, New York, 1978. (pp 15-35)
14
Raynor, H. op. cit. (p. 23)
Composer-Performer Relationship - 7
who found themselves at last with time for amusement and the money to pay for it.
Many of them lacked any extensive education; they wanted their eyes pleased and their
ears tickled.1 5

Raynor is discussing opera here, but he might as well be talking about any form of music.
Although the elite still continued to patronize concert halls, they were joined in the first half of the
century by a portion of the general public who wanted something enjoyable to listen to at the end of
a long week. They were not ready to have their ears challenged by new music (i.e. late Beethoven),
and because music was more than ever enslaved to the tastes of its audience, orchestras had to play
what this audience wanted. Although they were now free to write what they wanted, no longer
commanded by the aristocracy to produce, composers still had to write at least some music to
satisfy people’s tastes if they wanted income.
But at the same time, composers insisted that their Art was evolving. They claimed that
music was something heavenly and insubstantial, yet also fully tangible and the ideal of human
expression. This led to a number of extreme viewpoints concerning the role of the composer in
music. Schumann, in his “Aphorisms: House-Rules and Maxims for Young Musicians,”16 writes:
Do not let yourself be led astray by the applause bestowed on great virtuosos. The
applause of an artist ought to be dearer to you than that of the majority.

When you begin to compose, do it mentally. Do not try the piece at the instrument until
it is finished. If your music comes out of your inner self [emphasis added], if you feel it,
it will be sure to affect others similarly...

People say, “It pleased;” or “It failed to please.” As though there were nothing more
important than the art of pleasing the public!...

Music is the latest of the arts to have developed; her beginnings were the simple moods
of joy and sorrow (major and minor). Indeed, the less cultivated man can scarcely believe
that there exist more specialized emotions, whence his difficulty in understanding the
more individual masters such as Beethoven and Schubert. We have learned to express the
more delicate nuances of feeling by penetrating more deeply into the mysteries of
harmony.17,

15
Raynor, H. op. cit. (p. 71)
16
originally published in connection with his Album für die Jugend, op. 68 (1854)
17
Schumann, On Music and Musicians. ed K. Wolff, transl P. Rosenfeld. Stratford Press, New York, 1946. (pp
33-37, 45)
Composer-Performer Relationship - 8
Schumann’s views,18 published in 1854, reflect not only the changing role of the composer,
but also the changing philosophies and aesthetics behind the production of music.
In the first few decades of the nineteenth century, a lot of music was still attached to an
external function - a mass, a court event, an opera - which gave it social meaning. It wasn’t until
about 1820-1830 that a new concept began to take hold - romanticism.19 Lydia Goehr describes it:
Under the new aesthetic, here broadly and collectively being called the romantic aesthetic,
many new doctrines of a more or less romantic, formalist, and idealist inclination were
put forward. In several of these, despite the particular inclination, a basic argument was
put forward. It was a very complicated argument, however, for it rested upon an interplay
between two claims which we nowadays separate more sharply than theorists originally
did. The first claim concerns the transcendent move from the worldly and particular to the
spiritual and universal; the second concerns the formalist move which brought meaning
from music’s outside into its inside....

First, theorists claimed, the significance of fine art lies not in its service to particularized
goals of a moral or religious sort, or in its ability to inspire particular feelings or to
imitate worldly phenomena. It lies, rather, in its ability to probe and reveal the higher
world of universal, eternal truth. This ability originates, according to Gustav Schilling,
in ‘man’s attempt to transcend the sphere of cognition, to experience higher, more
spiritual things, and to sense the presence of the ineffable.’

[But] the move towards transcendence had proved itself insufficient as yet to give music
the purely musical meaning it desired. In other words, though freed of constraints of
social functions determined by church and court, though freed from service to a text, the
transcendent move had not freed music of its obligation to be meaningful in extra-
musical, spiritual, and metaphysical ways. Formalists subsequently came forward to
provide the necessary, next step. Music, they argued, is intelligible not because it refers
to something outside of itself, but because it has an internal, structural coherence. It
consists, in an internal and dynamic stream of purely musical elements, in Hegel’s terms,
in an ‘abstract interiority of pure sound.’2 0

Greatly simplified, the new argument was that music is self-contained, and its existence is
rationalized, not from outside validation, but by internal references and formal cohesiveness.
Aesthetics aside, composers also had to deal with the practical manner of money and steady
18
The elitism of Schumann in regards to virtuosos is no different than that held by some artists today, who criticize
successful performers whom they see as being empty of artistry. In every age there are those who feel that the
masses do not understand or appreciate true art (or beauty, or philosophy - choose your discipline), so there has
always been a separation of popular art versus high art. The only reason we don’t know about it from the middle
ages is because popular music was not recorded in any fashion. And the big difference nowadays is that there are
many, many forms of popular music - Chaikovsky’s Fourth Symphony, for instance, versus a Shostakovich string
quartet, or any piece of classical music versus the latest Mariah Carey. And then there’s the latest Mariah Carey or
<insert big-name Coca-Cola sponsored artist here> versus any up-and-coming young bands who haven’t been signed
to any label, who have just privately recorded a few songs, and still have their day jobs. There are just so many
different types of music nowadays that it’s very complicated to define popular. In a way, young classical musicians
are doing the same thing as “indie” bands.
19
Goehr, L. op. cit.
20
ibid. pp 153-155
Composer-Performer Relationship - 9
income. It took a long time to write a large, internally coherent piece. The time spent, for example,
on a four-movement, major symphony was time not spent on money-earning pieces that sold
quickly to all the young ladies who played piano, nor was it time spent giving piano and
composition lessons, or writing articles. Berlioz apparently woke one morning, remembering
clearly an entire first movement to a Symphony in A, and was about to write it down:
I suddenly thought: ‘If I do, I shall be led on to compose the rest. My ideas tend to
expand nowadays, so this symphony could well be on an enormous scale. I shall spend
three or four months on the work (I took seven to write Romeo and Juliet), during which
I shall do no articles, or very few, and my income will diminish accordingly. When the
Symphony is written I shall be weak enough to be persuaded by my copyist to have it
copied, which will immediately put me a thousand or twelve hundred francs in debt. Once
the parts exist, I shall be plagued by the temptation to have the work performed. I shall
give a concert, the receipts of which will hardly cover the costs - that is inevitable these
days. I shall lose what I haven’t got, and be short of money to provide for the poor
invalid [his wife was dying], and no longer able to meet my personal expenses or pay my
son’s allowance on the ship he will shortly be joining.’ These thoughts made me shudder
and I threw down my pen, thinking: ‘What of it? I shall have forgotten it by
tomorrow.’2 1

Though Berlioz is perhaps not entirely serious here, his train of thought clearly shows that
composers couldn’t follow all their musical ideas through to completion if they wanted to pay rent.
And yet, while major composers still had to write articles and small, popular works, they
wrote nowhere near as many as did the minor composers whose symphonies were not as successful
and who didn’t have teaching jobs or enthusiastic publishers waiting for their next work. Even
more of these little pieces were written, especially between 1820 and 1860, by cellists who either
had objections to playing another person’s works, or found the pieces unsuitable to their
performing styles.22
However, the new concept of musical aesthetics would have made larger, denser works
much more admirable in a composer’s output. Thus, major composers wouldn’t want to have been
known for their character pieces for cello and piano, and so they wrote fewer of these brilliant,
virtuosic, and bland pieces, instead focussing on larger-scale works, like concertos. Hence there are
more and more concertos in the last half of the century, while the showy pieces tend to be
composed by cellists.
21
Berlioz, Memoirs. quoted in Raynor, H. op. cit. (pp 25-26)
22
Performers writing their own compositions goes against the romantic idea of music being separate from any
external functions. A showy piece written by Servais was written not for its own sake, but in order for Servais to
have something to play at his concerts. Though the piece might use the same harmonic language as romantic
music, it does not fall under the romantic aesthetic of transcendence and internal coherence.
Composer-Performer Relationship - 10
High-profile composers wrote very few works for cello, especially larger orchestral works,
until after 1850. For example, both Mendelssohn’s and Chopin’s sonatas come later in life than
their smaller, showier works written for or with the aid of a cellist friend, as though they were
waiting to see how the genre fared.
One could argue that a composer would obviously want to try to write a successful smaller
work for the instrument before embarking on a large-scale work. But Brahms had no such
compunctions about starting in the genre immediately with his cello sonatas in 1865, a few years
after the appearance of the Schumann and Volkmann concertos, and the Mendelssohn and Chopin
sonatas. Brahms had been known to destroy music he didn’t feel was up to his standards, so by
the time he began composing for the instrument, its role must have been settled enough that he felt
confident he could compose for it.
Unfortunately, it was not the case of one single composer suddenly realizing that the genre
of solo works for cello remained wide open to major composers. Schumann’s concerto was not
published until 1854, and Robert Volkmann’s concerto was published in 1853. Neither was
performed until the 1860s, and both fall marginally within the category of “concertos composed by
cellists,” even if Schumann’s concerto wasn’t composed with a particular cellist in mind.
Saint-Saëns, though, was not a cellist. His concerto (1872) was actually the first concerto of
the 19th century written by a prolific, high-profile composer. It is an oddly appropriate choice for
such a role: the work is not very difficult, yet manages to exploit many of the cello’s possibilities.
It is equally valuable as a first concerto for cello students as it is for composers of cello concertos,
since it reads rather like an exercise in effects. The first few measures, for example, show the
cello’s extraordinary range, jumping down to the C string as an echo, then climbing higher and
higher to the end of the first phrase. The piece uses all manner of bow strokes from legato and
detaché to spiccato and martélé; and false harmonics are to be found in several places throughout
the piece. It covers many playing styles possible on the cello, from sweeping melodies to brilliant
fast notes and octaves.
Somehow, by 1872, the cello had accumulated enough of a reputation among “serious”
composers, not just virtuosos, for being appropriate for solo work with orchestra, and began
accumulating a new repertoire of works on all scales by major and minor composers.

Composer-Performer Relationship - 11
II. Increasing Difficulties
Music became more difficult as the century progressed. Much of the music before 1820,
excepting the showy works composed by virtuosos for their own usage, can be sight-read relatively
well by a cellist with solid technique. It is complicated musically, because musicians today are not
immersed in the same musical culture as those composers.
By mid-century, however, music was more difficult. It would take an extremely talented
cellist to sight-read Schumann’s chamber music or Brahms’ sonatas. The passage work is simply
too complicated and the interplay between cello and other parts too intricate. Even works written by
cellists for their own use, which usually sound much more difficult than they actually are, such as
Popper’s or Davydov’s concertos, require some study before being ready for performance.

i. Technique
Valerie Walden insists that technique had stabilized by 1840:
The generation of violoncellists who followed J.L. Duport and Romberg were bequeathed
a technical structure having little need of improvement. What followed was an
amalgamation of playing techniques, players individually choosing those elements...2 3

but I disagree. Players may have chosen individual elements from the various “schools” of
playing begun by Jean-Louis Duport (1749-1819) and Bernhard Romberg, but the gradual
acceptance of wire-wound strings in the latter half of the century and the evolution of the bow from
the early Tourte model to its present form necessarily required some adjustments to technique. The
role of the cello was also gradually changing from its octave-above-the-double-bass role to the
much more independent status it holds today.24 Unfortunately, there is no place here to fully
discuss nineteenth century cello technique. Instead, the changes that must have taken place during
the nineteenth century in order for technique to be what it is now will be carefully outlined.
Today’s advanced technique includes five components that are distinctly different from
eighteenth century technique: (1) “spidery” fingerings and shifts, where the hand is allowed to
change its shape when shifting or extending to a new position; (2) equally weighted bowings so the
down bow and the up bow have the same emphasis; (3) a big, loud, resonant sound with plenty of
23
Walden, One Hundred Years of Violoncello, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, 1998. (p. 143)
24
In playing Shostakovich’s 11th Symphony with the University Symphony this semester, I realized that the cellos
didn’t “double” the bass, they played with the basses on occasion. This is, essentially, the modern role of the cello.
It can act as either a bass, a melodic instrument an octave below the violin, or as a brass instrument. What a diverse
instrument (speaking as one of its players, of course)!
Composer-Performer Relationship - 12
vibrato; (4) a vibrato that is, ideally, flexible and can be fast, slow, tight or wide; and, (5) clean
shifts.25
In Part II of this project, it was shown that (5) clean shifts are a development of the early
twentieth century, and that before recording technology, slides were popular as a means of
expression.
The twentieth-century cellist Pablo Casals (1876-1973) is usually credited with the
dissemination of (1) “spidery” fingerings, and that may be correct. In 1806, J.L. Duport (1749-
1819) published his method, Essai sur le doigté du violoncelle, et sur la conduite de l’archet, in
which he laid the foundation for modern fingering patterns and codified positions.26 If audible
shifts are allowed between positions, then almost all nineteenth century music is perfectly playable
using fixed hand positions. The left hand gets little stiff, but, according to De’ak (see part I, page
9), technique was stiff. However, we also know that in the eighteenth century, cellists tried to
incorporate a violin-like fingering pattern into their playing (whole steps covered by the first four
fingers, rather than half-steps), which would have inevitably resulted in spidery fingerings, to reach
all the notes of the first position. Though twentieth century technique still adheres to half-steps, the
fingerings used today in, for example, Bach’s Fourth Suite for Solo Cello, are similar to what
Bach’s contemporaries might have used: rather than shifting between positions, as is marked in
some nineteenth century editions, the hand stretches to reach the notes in extended position - E-flat,
A-flat, D-flat, and C-sharp. Perhaps “spidery” fingerings never fully disappeared between the
18th and 20th centuries, and were just not as widely accepted during the 19th century.
In contrast to the unequal up- and down-bows of the eighteenth century, (2) equally
weighted bowings were already part of early nineteenth century technique.27 What has changed
since then is the way they are produced. With the slackening of bodily tension in the early
twentieth century, the right hand, rather than the entire arm, must have been used more. Also, the
bow grip was drifting downwards throughout the nineteenth century, partly because of the changing
weight balance of the bow. The Tourte bow, heavier at the tip than the baroque bow, permitted more
attack on the note and an evener tone throughout bow stroke. It was excellent for long, sustained

25
For the non-string-players, shifting occurs when the left hand moves along the length of the fingerboard, from one
fixed position to another.
26
Walden, op. cit. (p. 17)
27
ibid.
Composer-Performer Relationship - 13
melodies, and rapid flying bow strokes of the slurred staccato type (multiple but distinct fast notes
played under one bow).
The (3) “big sound” of the instrument can probably be attributed to the cellist Hugo
Becker and the conductor Hans von Bülow (1830-1894), who together publicized the idea of the
cello as “virile,” not just sentimental and soulful.28 This quality of the instrument probably came
late in the century, but it must have been present by the time Dvorák wrote his concerto; that
concerto requires a big sound simply to cut through the orchestral texture (even on period
instruments, with softer wind and brass instruments, the orchestra would be overpowering).
Vibrato (4) is always a difficult question to address. It is a highly subjective matter, and
even when a critic complains or praises a performer’s vibrato, it is impossible to know what “too
much” is. Judging from early recordings, however, vibrato was a lot tighter and faster in the
nineteenth century than it is today. (Maybe the fast vibrato is the inspiration for Bernard Shaw’s
comparison of the sound of the cello to a “bee buzzing in a stone jug.”29)

ii. Difficulty and Audience Expectations


Especially in orchestral and chamber music, very few composers pushed the limits of the
cello’s technical possibilities. Solo works, though difficult and demanding, rarely required more
than a professional cellist could actually do with a few weeks’ practice. The few exceptions (the
Dvorák concerto, the Schumann concerto) owe much of their difficulty not to technical demands,
but to endurance and musicality.
The difficulty of music can be measured by six main criteria: (1) the demands on the left
hand’s agility, flexibility, and sureness; (2) the technique of the right hand and arm on the bow; (3)
the complexity of the rhythms; (4) the oddities/ of the harmonies, especially in cases of sight-
reading; (5) the requirements of the dynamics, which call not only on right arm control, but also on
the ear to understand them before playing them; and, (6) the endurance of the musician, either for
concentration or physical exertion.
For example, the cello part in Beethoven’s Sixth Symphony (1808) is difficult for reasons
of the left hand - there are fast notes, especially in the final movement - and for endurance, because
the “flowing” notes of the river in the second movement go on for several painful pages. The bow
28
Ginsburg, op. cit. (p. 79)
29
Campbell, M. The Great Cellists. Victor Golantz Ltd, London, 1988. (p. 86)
Composer-Performer Relationship - 14
strokes remain simple: legato, detaché, spiccato, and accents. The rhythms are only slightly
complicated, and stay within what have now become standard expectations. Harmonically, there is
nothing that would throw off a good sight-reader, though the dynamics require some concentration.
In Mahler’s Fourth Symphony (1901), though, we see not only difficult notes, various bow strokes,
including slurred staccato, and complicated rhythms, including cross-rhythms, but we also see
tricky and counterintuitive dynamics, rapid jumping of the left hand to strange registers,
chromaticism, and a need for endurance, especially in keeping the fourth movement quiet enough
for the singer.
In addition to the increasing difficulties of music itself, the audience’s expectations of good
performances were rising, influencing how orchestras were run and organized.
In the early part of the century, orchestra concerts were still being directed by a “leader,” a
violinist or keyboardist who played along with everyone else, but tried to give cues and tempi at the
same time. This method works for groups up to about twenty, and for music that is not too
complicated rhythmically or too thickly orchestrated. But when music became more complex,
orchestras did not immediately realize that they needed an external person to keep the beat and give
cues, interpretation notwithstanding. In 1830, Wagner heard a performance of Beethoven’s Ninth
where the first three movements were done with just a leader; a choral conductor joined for the
fourth movement, but to no great effect. The result was “chaos and uncoordinated sound.”30
Gradually, musicians realized that a conductor who didn’t play with the orchestra was
essential for post-Beethoven works:
The difficulties and innovations in the orchestral music of Beethoven and the early
Romantics, and the increased number and diversity of the instruments in the orchestra,
made directing from the first violin desk or from behind a keyboard in the opera pit
unsatisfactory. The need for a central figure visually in charge of the ensemble became
widely accepted. The codification of visual signals as the sole systematic means of
guiding a performance quickly followed. The evolution of the art of conducting from
auditory directives, including clapping, tapping (although tapping the stand at the start
lingered on through the century), foot-stamping and shouting, and most of all playing
along, coincided with the decline in amateur participation in public performance and the
rise in spectator expectations. By the mid-1830s, the greatly expanded urban audience for
music demanded higher standards as a consequence of the astonishing and widely travelled
virtuosity of Spohr, Paganini, Liszt and Thalberg3 1 . More accurate orchestral ensemble,
intonation and balance were responses to advances in dexterity and brilliance in solo
instrumental playing.3 2
30
Raynor, H. op. cit. (p. 44)
31
Presumably audiences were also astonished by the virtuosity of Adrien Servais, the “Paganini of the cello.”
32
Botstein, L. “Conducting” Grove Music Online ed L. Macy. accessed 4/29/04. <www.grovemusic.com>
Composer-Performer Relationship - 15
The new audiences expected an orchestra that could play together, get through a piece
without stopping, and play “musically.” The demand for musicality and interpretation was
especially pronounced after 1860, when Schumann’s, Schubert’s, Mendelssohn’s, and
Beethoven’s compositions were being played regularly, and the general audience was starting to
know the pieces by ear. In an era before recording technology, before great music became a
background noise in malls, audiences and, especially, critics wouldn’t have wanted to hear the exact
same symphony over and over again.

iii. Effects on the Cellists


Because of the demands of music and the audience, a new tendency arose in professional
cello playing. The specialization of the composer away from the instrument had its counterpart in
performance - the specialization of the cellist away from theory and composition. It was quite
difficult to be both a successful composer and a successful performer in the nineteenth century -
either one alone could easily require the dedication of all your time.
Only a few cellists managed to have a reputation as both an excellent performer and
composer; for example, Piatti, Grützmacher, and Davydov. These three had steady jobs at major
Conservatories: the Royal Academy of Music in London, the Leipzig Conservatory, and the St.
Petersburg Conservatory, respectively. They had the free time to write non-pedagogical works
(concertos, fantasies, variations, etc.) that remain to this day. But the works of other great cellists,
who did not have conservatory positions, have faded quickly. If the cellist was a professional
orchestral player, he was too busy to spend much time composing anything but etudes.

Composer-Performer Relationship - 16
III. Performer’s Role
The performer was now a medium of transmission from the composer to audience. But
were performers submissive to the demands of the music, or did they put themselves forward, as
virtuosos?

i. Interpretation as a Concept
Until about 1850, many well-known performers, such as Servais, Batta, and Franchomme,
still wrote their own music, only occasionally playing other composers’ music. When composers
no longer performed their own music, though, they needed an artist to interpret it for the audience.
Schumann writes:
A drama without a living representation will always appear dead, foreign to the public,
like a musical tone poem, deprived of the hand which realizes it. But when the performer
comes to the help of the creator, half the battle is won....3 3

Though he is probably talking about opera, Schumann outlines the important point that the balance
of effort in the collaboration of music was swaying, from being heavily weighted on the
performer’s side to being weighted on the composer’s side. Performers now found that they
existed to play the composer’s music for the audience, giving as little of themselves as possible, as
their personalities could only get in the way of the composer’s true expression of humanity.
Though charged with the task of interpreting the work, they had to suppress their own expressivity
in favor of the work’s innate emotions.
The Oxford English Dictionary (Second Edition) defines “interpret” four ways:
a. trans. To expound the meaning of (something abstruse or mysterious); to render
(words, writings, an author, etc.) clear or explicit; to elucidate; to explain. Formerly,
also, To translate (now only contextually, as included in the general sense).

b. To make out the meaning of, explain to oneself.

c. In recent use: To bring out the meaning of (a dramatic or musical composition, a


landscape, etc.) by artistic representation or performance; to give one's own interpretation
of; to render.

d. To obtain significant information from (a photograph), used esp. of aerial photographs


taken for military purposes.3 4

The definition applicable to music, (c), is still ambiguous. The New Grove Dictionary talks about
33
Schumann, op. cit. (44)
34
“interpret.” Oxford English Dictionary Online, Second Edition. accessed 4/27/04. <www.bartleby.com/61/>
Composer-Performer Relationship - 17
interpretation as well:
The notion of interpretation is relatively recent, and has acquired increasing importance
because of the possibilities of comparison made available through recordings. It had no
currency before 1800, largely because of its dependence on the idea of a canonical
repertory that is performed by different artists; no such repertory developed until the early
years of the 19th century, the period of travelling artists, large commercial centres with
concert halls and opera houses, and the aesthetic changes that led to the rise in the status
of the composer and in turn to the idea of ‘great works’ that needed to be explained,
elucidated and ‘understood’...The idea of personal interpretation was especially fostered and
encouraged by Richard Wagner and his view of Beethoven's music.3 5

But this “personal interpretation” was not the realm of the cellist as the century progressed. In the
latter half of the century, cellists were praised according to how faithful they were to the composer’s
intentions. Prestige and attention went more and more towards the composer, not the performer.

ii. Orchestral Music


The assortment of players whose coming together constitutes an orchestra could be
regarded as its strings, tubes, chests and surfaces, made of wood or metal - machines
bearing intelligence but subordinate to the action of an immense keyboard played by the
conductor following the directions of the composer.3 6

Written by Berlioz in 1844, this describes quite succinctly the role the performer was expected to
take within symphonic music. An orchestral (or opera pit) cellist in the nineteenth century was part
of a section of anywhere from two to twenty players (if Berlioz were directing, possibly forty-five,
scattered around the orchestra37 ) subject to the conductor’s directions.
Berlioz’s description of a cello section, though evocative, is not completely positive:
A cello section of eight or ten players is, essentially, a body of singers. Their sound on
the top two strings is one of the most expressive in the orchestra. Nothing is so
voluptuous and melancholy, nothing is better for tender, languorous themes than a group
of cellos playing in unison. They are also excellent for melodies of a religious character.
The composer must then indicate which strings the phrase must be played on. The
bottom two strings, C and G, especially in keys which give many opportunities for them
to be played open, have a deep, unctuous quality very well suited to such things, but their
very lowness scarcely allows them to be given anything but bass lines, however melodic,
the true singing phrases being reserved for their upper strings...

Although our cellists today are very skilled and can perform all kinds of intricacies
without difficulty, it is very rare for fast passages in the low register of the cello not to
sound messy. As for passages with high notes in thumb positions, one should expect
35
Davies S. and Sadie, S. “Interpretation,” Grove Music Online, ed. L. Macy. accessed 4/26/04.
<www.grovemusic.com>
36
MacDonald, Hugh. Berlioz’ Orchestration Treatise: A Translation and Commentary. Cambridge U Press, 2002.
(p. 319)
37
ibid. (p. 329)
Composer-Performer Relationship - 18
even less. They are not very sonorous and always hard to play in tune...In the better-off
modern orchestras which have plenty of cellos, the section is often divided into firsts and
seconds, the firsts playing a special part either melodic or harmonic, while the seconds
double the double basses either at the octave or in unison.3 8

Daniel Koury, in Orchestral Performance Practices in the Nineteenth Century, writes, much less
enthusiastically:
There is not much to say about the cello in the nineteenth century. Gassner3 9 described it
as having four gut strings, the lowest two covered with silver wire. He recognized it as
“extremely effective as a solo instrument,” but “its true character is noble song rather than
brilliant passages.” He was also aware that in “recent” works, the cello appeared often as
other than a foundation with the contrabass, acting often as a middle or melody-carrying
part.4 0

When Wagner discusses orchestras in his 1854 reminiscences41, he often talks about violinists,
double bassists, oboists, pianists, and singers, but of the orchestral players, he never mentions
cellists. At the time he was writing, the cello in orchestral music still served as an upper octave to
the double basses, not worthy of independent thought. According to Czerny:
Although the Violoncello usually plays with the Double-Bass, and thus forms the bass of
the orchestra, yet sometimes a melody or moving figure in the tenor part of the scale is
given to it, in which case the Double-Bass alone performs the bass.42

An in-depth study of orchestral music of the period is not within the scope of this paper,
unfortunately. However, such a study would probably reveal that with later composers (Brahms,
Chaikovsky, Dvorák), the cello spent more and more time playing a different line than the double
basses, and joined more often with the violas and the winds and brass.
There is evidence for orchestral playing being of limited expression. Dotzauer, describing
the appropriateness of portamento in his 1832 Violoncellschule, writes:
[portamento] makes it easier for singers and instrumentalists surely to find the subsequent
note, and the slide, when carried out in such a way as not to resemble a wail, can make a
very agreeable effect. Naturally, this ornament, like all the others, belongs not in
orchestral playing but in a concerto or Solo where the player may allow himself to
submit to his own expression.43
38
ibid. (pp 51-52)
39
referring here to Ferdinand Gassner, Partitur kenntnis (Karlsruhe, 1838, 1842)
40
Koury, Orchestral Performance Practices in the Nineteenth Century: Size, Proportions, and Seating. UMI
Research Press, Ann Arbor, 1986. (pp 108-109)
41
Wagner, My Life. ed M. Whittall, transl A. Gray. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, 1983.
42
Czerny, Carl. School of Practical Composition, vol. 3. transl J. Bishop. Robert Cocks & Co, London, 1848.
(p. 3)
43
Dotzauer, Violoncellschule. Mainz, c. 1825. (pp 45-6) quoted in Watkins, D. “Beethoven and the Cello.”
Performing Beethoven, ed R. Stowell. Cambridge University Press, 1994. (p. 114)
Composer-Performer Relationship - 19
This little excerpt reveals many things. First of all, as was discussed in Part II, portamento was a
popular effect in cello playing of the nineteenth century. Secondly, orchestral and soloistic playing
were completely different kinds of playing, and were probably also different from chamber music
playing. Thirdly, that other embellishments, apart from portamento, in cello parts were not good
taste in orchestral playing, but in solo music, and possibly even melodic lines in chamber music. If
embellishments belong to melodic lines, and Dotzauer is admonishing cellists not to use
embellishments in orchestral music, then orchestral music probably contained few melodic lines.
The final thing the quote says is the most relevant to this portion of this paper: Dotzauer believed
that, in a solo work, “the player may allow himself to submit to his own expression.”
Thus we have a contradiction here with the performer’s role. Which was it? According to
the performers, cellists were supposed to interpret the composers’ works, explaining them to the
audiences in their own terms. But according to the composers and the conductors, the performers
were supposed to do what they were told, without adding any personal expression.
For orchestral music, this is not such a problem: in a thick orchestral texture, especially with
more than four or five cellos (and sections were distinctly increasing in size throughout the century
- from one or two in 1820, to commonly eight to twelve by 192044), if all the cellists followed their
own interpretive ideas, the result would be muddled and senseless. If they simply laid back and
followed the conductor or principal cellist (who was next in line on the leadership of the cello
section, and could also effect, in seemingly small but discernible ways, an interpretation), things
might be boring, but will make more sense to the listener.
But in chamber music, the cello is on its own (usually), subject to no conductor, only
worrying about staying together with the other members of the group. How did the smaller, more
flexible chamber group respond to the demand for interpretation?

iii. Chamber Music


In chamber music, the cello’s role is twofold. Often, when the other instruments are
playing, it will simply provide a bass line for the melodic material played by the treble instruments.
44
The first “modern” sized professional (as opposed to festival, or single-performance) orchestra of the nineteenth
century appears in 1828, at the Société des Concerts du Conservatoire, in Paris. Founded in 1828, it had 15 first
violins, 16 seconds, 8 violas, 12 cellos, 8 double basses, 4 flutes, 4 clarinets, four bassoons, 2 trumpets, 4 horns, 4
trombones, a timpanist and a harpist. (Raynor, 49-50)
Composer-Performer Relationship - 20
When the cello is given a melodic line, it is usually playing completely alone or accompanied
sparsely, with just piano, or viola, or a single violin. Schubert’s Cello Quintet in C major (c. 1828)
provides an excellent example of both these qualities: while the first cello, who is the “odd one
out” in this piece, often has melodic material or harmonic filler, the second cello provides the stable
bass line during complex passages (the end of the first movement, for example). In the second
movement the second cello breaks out of this role slightly to give rhythmic propulsion underneath
the melodies of the second violin, viola, first cello, and, eventually, first violin. When the second
cello is given a melodic line, it is usually in a duet with another instrument or alone. The first cello,
however, was obviously written with a powerful cellist in mind, because its melodies and important
lines are buried within the texture, and must be played out in order to be heard. (This is not to say
that the second cello part is boring - on the contrary, it is more interesting than the first part, which
is cantilena for most of the piece, with much less rhythmic and textural variety.)
Later chamber music of the century, including late Beethoven, breaks out of the bass line
mold slightly, though cello melodies are still to be found in sparse textures. Even in Dvorák’s
Dumky piano trio (more accurately, a cello piece with piano and violin accompaniment), written in
1891 for the cellist Hanus Wihan, the cello lines are still treated as special and “bracketed” in such
a way as to announce plainly the arrival of a cello moment; this implies that the audience only heard
melodies that were in high registers, unless lower register lines were made obvious through
instrumentation.
Interpretation of chamber music, therefore, must have been somewhere between solo playing
and orchestral playing,45 with more liberties given to the cellist in terms of rhythmic and dynamic
flexibility than in orchestral music, because of the lack of a conductor as middleman between the
musicians and the composer; but at the same time, the composer (even when dead) exerts pressure
on the performers to give an accurate reading of the Work, not just play the piece, a pressure which
restricts experimentation.

iv. Solo Playing


It was in solo playing that the performer was permitted personal interpretation (though the
composer, if alive, had final say; and if the composer were dead, tradition has a very influential say).
45
Notable chamber players of the nineteenth century were Jules de Swert, Bernhard Cossmann, Robert Hausmann,
and William Whitehouse (see part I for further information).
Composer-Performer Relationship - 21
In the extreme case of Fitzenhagen and the Chaikovsky Rococo Variations, interpretation meant
changing the order of the variations to greater virtuosic effect.
Hugo Becker’s relationship with Richard Strauss was a little more normal: when Becker,
one of the foremost performers of Don Quixote, sent a copy of his performing analysis46 of the
work to Strauss around 1900, the composer wrote back:
Dear friend! Your valuable work about Don Quixote gave me the greatest joy. If I
unfortunately no longer have the chance of seeing the ideal interpreter [Strauss means
Becker, of course] of Don Quixote, who is a true master of the violoncello himself,
standing in front of the orchestra, his analyzing and teaching work left for his pupils and
colleagues is the best legacy that the author of this curious piece could wish for...But of
course, all the beautiful analyses are unable to replace the wonderful original
interpretation which I always remember with gratitude and delight.47

This tells us that the composer expected the cellist to interpret a solo work. It wasn’t a one-sided
tendency on the part of the performers; the composers were also hooking into the multipart
production of music - concept-composer-rehearsal-performer-audience-repeat.
The tendency of biographers to record who gave first performances of major pieces points
to an overarching concept of the nineteenth century, and that is the ownership of performers by
composers: Hanus Wihan was “Dvorák’s cellist;” Robert Hausmann was “Brahms’ cellist.”
Because Auguste Franchomme collaborated with Chopin, and was the dedicatee of the Sonata, he
was “Chopin’s cellist.”
The biggest change that occurred in interpretation of solo works during the century was the
rise of the composer: when the composer and performer were the same cellist, interpretation didn’t
exist - it was simply a performance of the cellist’s piece. And when the composers of the
nineteenth century died, their works remained, preserved in socio-musical formaldehyde for all
subsequent generations to admire, wondering whether their interpretation is correct, musical, new,
innovative, or wrong.

46
As far as I can tell, a “performing analysis” was essentially a written-down lesson on the piece: what parts to bring
out, and how, based upon the musical demands of the piece. For Don Quixote, this meant the plot of the piece and
the role the cello played in the story. Becker also wrote these analyses for the Haydn D major, the Saint-Saëns, and
the Dvorák concertos.
47
quoted in Ginsburg, op. cit. (p. 81)
Composer-Performer Relationship - 22
IV. The Decline of Improvisation
There were several forms of improvisation for cellists through the eighteenth century:
variations over a ground bass (also known as divisions on a ground), embellishing a written melody,
playing continuo from a figured or un-figured bass, and creating a cadenza ad libitum within a
concerto. The decline of improvisation clearly highlights not only philosophical and aesthetic
changes, but also changes in the cultural status accorded the various art forms of improvisation.

i. Divisions on a Ground
To improvise over a ground bass, cellists must know not only the bass line, but also the
chords which they are to outline with divisions. These chords can be indicated by figured bass on a
score, or they can be stock harmonies that listeners came to expect by the nineteenth century. The
better the cellist knows harmonies, the easier it is to create, from essentially nothing but a mental list
of expectations, a piece of music.
For example, take the bass line C-B-A-G, a descending tetrachord. Over these four notes it
is possible to put any number of different figures. The most basic set would be 5-3, 6-3, 5-3, 5-3,
meaning C major, G major (first inversion), A minor, and G major again. The same progression
can be done in minor, or with 7-6 suspensions, or with a dominant seventh chord at the end, or with
other prepared dissonances throughout the short progression. If cellists know this progression, and
know their instruments well enough to play notes within those chords, they can create multiple-
variation chaconnes on the spot, using their ears to guide them through the harmonies expected.
In the nineteenth century, though, this mental list of expectations became so large and varied
that it ceased to exist. Composers were discarding old restrictions on chordal movement and
instead competing to be the best rule-breaker of them all.
The notion that harmony at any one point was in a single ‘general state of evolution’ is a
19th-century idea that has been applied retrospectively to earlier times. Theatrical style
was in reality sustained by criteria different from those applicable to ecclesiastical or
chamber style, and the harmony of a recitative or of a fantasia was hardly comparable with
that of an aria or a sonata movement. In contrast to this, it is possible (as shown by
Kurth, c. 1920) to describe the history of harmony in the 19th century as a totally
interconnected development, propelled by the conviction that every striking dissonance
and every unusual chromatic nuance was another step forward in musical progress,
towards freedom, provided that the discovery could somehow be successfully integrated
into a musical structure.4 8

48
Dahlhaus, Carl: “Harmony.” Grove Music Online ed. L. Macy (accessed 4/27/04) <www.grovemusic.com>
Composer-Performer Relationship - 23
Music was about expression, and expression could not be attained by following set rules. The new
and unexpected was required for a composition to be interesting and meaningful. Schumann told
his students they must “invent new and bold melodies.”49 Both melodies and harmonic
progressions were expected to be innovative and unusual, but at the same time accessible and
immediately understandable. Czerny writes:
An harmonious, pleasing, and melodious composition, has nearly always the good
fortune of being immediately liked: but an artful, profound, or unusually original one,
naturally requires a longer time for this purpose. Where however, all these properties are
combined, we may expect both a ready and long continued acknowledgment.50

Because harmonies had to be inventive to keep the audience awake, improvisations using set
harmonies had gone out of fashion.
Another part of the problem with variations over a ground was that figured bass as a
harmonic system had broken down in the mid-eighteenth century for several reasons: first, the
modulations became so complex and drawn-out that figuring everything in relation to the bass
would have required three numbers per note rather than the usual one or two, making it difficult to
read easily; second, the advent of Rameau’s Traite de l’harmonie in 1722 introduced the concept of
fundamental bass, in which harmony was not described from the actual bass, but from the root of
the chord.51 With these changes, figured bass became unwieldy and fell out of favor.
The entire genre of theme and variations, of which divisions on a ground is one type, was
suffering from a decline in popularity amongst the elite. In describing piano variations, Schumann
writes:
For surely in no genre of our art has more bungling mediocrity been perpetrated - and it is
still going on. One could scarcely imagine such wretchedness springing up on every side,
such vulgarity that no longer knows any shame. Before, at least, we had good, boring
German themes. But now one has to swallow the most hackneyed Italian tunes in five or
six successive states of watery decomposition. And the best are the ones that stop there.
But just let them come from the provinces - the Strohmillers, Genserts, or whatever their
names happen to be. Ten variations, with double reprises. And even that would be all
right. But the minore and the finale in 3/8 time - gad! One shouldn’t waste his breath
over it - snip, snap, into the fire!5 2

Improvisation had essentially died out in the first half of the century, but gained more momentum as

49
Schumann, op. cit. (p. 37)
50
Czerny, Carl. op. cit. (p. 163)
51
Williams, P and Ledbetter, D: “Continuo.” Grove Music Online, ed L. Macy. accessed 4/27/04
<www.grovemusic.com>
52
quoted in Platinga, L. Schumann as Critic. Yale University Press, New Haven, 1967. (p. 197)
Composer-Performer Relationship - 24
a virtuosic effect for pianists in the mid-century. There are accounts of virtuoso pianist-composers,
like Chopin and Liszt, improvising melodic ideas within a formal structure in public,53 but if there
are any accounts of cellists doing the same after 1820, they have remained obscure.

ii. Embellishments
Adding embellishments to a written melody still existed as a form of improvisation into the
late nineteenth century; Berlioz at one concert became thoroughly upset over an oboist who insisted
on ornamenting everything he played.54 For many decades already, composers of varying
nationalities had been arguing about the notation of embellishments and what constituted too much.
However, to romantic composers, regardless of nationality, melody was an overriding concern, and
ornaments added by the performer merely got in the way of their intentions. Carl Czerny, in his
School of Practical Composition (1848), writes that good effects in composition are best ensured
when one has “a noble a well conceived melody, which requires no embellishments to render it
interesting.”55
Composers had become more controlling about their music as far back as the eighteenth
century, when Couperin, in the Preface to his third book of harpsichord pieces, instructs the
performer to play exactly what has been written for embellishments:
Je suis toujours surpris (apres les soins que je me suis donné pour marquer les agrémens
qui conviennent à mes Piéces, dont j’ay donné, à part, une explication assés intelligible
dans une Méthode particuliere, connüe sous les titre de L’art de toucher le Clavecin)
d’entendre des personnes qui les ont aprises sans s’y assujétir. C’est une négligence qui
n’est pas pardonnable, d’autant qui n’est point arbitraire d’y mettre tels agrémens qu’ont
veut. Je déclare donc que mes piéces doivent être exécutées comme je les ay marquées: et
qu’elles ne feront jamais une certaine impression sur les personnes qui ont le goût vray,
tant qu’on n’observa pas à las lettre, tout ce que j’y ay marqué, sans augmentation ni
diminution.5 6

Embellishments were instead written into the parts, rather than leaving them to the performer to
53
Rink, J. “Improvisation.” Grove Music Online ed L. Macy. (accessed 5/2/2004) <www.grovemusic.com>
54
Raynor, op. cit. p. 46
55
Czerny, Carl. op. cit. (p. 23)
56
Couperin, F. Pieces de Clavecin, 3ieme livre. 1722. (facsimile J.M. Fuzeau, 1988) Preface.
Translation: I am always suprised (after having gone to such efforts in marking the ornaments appropriate to my
pieces, an intelligent enough explanation of which I have given, in part, in a particular Method known under the title
“L'art de toucher le Clavecin”) to hear of people who learn these pieces without including the ornaments. It is an
unpardonable negligence, more so because it is not arbitrary to put in whatever ornaments one wishes. I therefore
declare that my pieces must be executed as they are written; and they will never make a proper impression on persons
of good taste unless one observes to the letter all the ornaments I have marked, without adding to or taking away
from them.
Composer-Performer Relationship - 25
provide.
In Beethoven’s Sonata for Piano and Cello in A major (1805), there are moments in the first
and third movements where a little flourish is inserted in the cello part. These flourishes, idiomatic
for the instrument and simple harmonically, are reminiscent of what might have once been
improvised in its place. Also, in Mendelssohn’s early chamber music (String Quartets No. 1 and
Piano Quartets 1-3 - all written before 1825), there are such ornaments for the violin and piano
quite frequently. The cello doesn’t have any sort of flourishes in its part, however, which suggests
that those sort of flourishes were not expected from cellists in chamber music - or, possible but
much less likely, that cellists were still assumed to be capable of inventing them themselves. Most
likely, however, embellishments had become the job of the composer to provide, and were only
added to melodic lines, in contrast to seventeenth and eighteenth century music, where
embellishments can be found in any part - treble or bass.

iii. Creating Parts


Perhaps the most difficult of all improvisations, creating a part from a figured bass was
central to ensemble work in the eighteenth century. By knowing the harmonies implied by a bass
note and its figures, cellists could play notes that weren’t written down, forming a musical line of
their own, either as a countermelody, a rhythmic addition, or chords. Similar to this, but much
easier, was creating your own part from another written part, for example, a keyboard part. The left
hand of a keyboard part is rarely written such that it is fully playable by a cellist - chords, arpeggios,
and the limitations of the five-fingered hand all make keyboard left-hand parts rather jumpy if
they’re to be read as a single line. The improvisation part of reading the music comes from seeing
the keyboard part, understanding the underlying harmonies, and creating a bass line that underpins
those harmonies.
This technique would not work for much nineteenth century music, as the harmonic
rhythms tend to be less regular and are harder to internalize quickly (with the obvious exception of
pieces with slower harmonic rhythms and simple harmonies). Arrangements would certainly be
possible for complex music, but it would probably require effort ahead of the performance. More
importantly, the new romantic aesthetic frowned upon a performance that was not true to the work,
which meant that cellists were discouraged from playing anything but what was already written

Composer-Performer Relationship - 26
down. Music was, again, not something thrown together for an evening’s entertainment, it was Art.

iv. Cadenzas
Cadenzas are traditionally opportunities for the performer to show off, to astound the
audience with effects not already displayed during the concerto or aria. The New Grove defines
“cadenza” as
A virtuoso passage inserted near the end of a concerto movement or aria, usually indicated
by the appearance of a fermata over an inconclusive chord such as the tonic 6-4.57

Boccherini’s and Haydn’s concertos of the latter half of the eighteenth century all have this form of
cadenza, with a fermata written in the part to indicate the cadenza. It was obviously expected that
performers would either prepare their own cadenzas or improvise them in the course of the
performance, using melodies and harmonies from the preceding movement. The construction of a
cadenza extempore depends on knowledge of the forms of improvisation mentioned above. Even if
one writes down a bass line with figures, one still must know the harmonies well enough to create a
coherent passage using both the harmonies and the melodic fragments desired.
A particular difficulty of improvising cadenzas on the cello is that the instrument cannot
arpeggiate chords the way a keyboard can, and is restricted to four-note chords within a limited
range. The melodic, singing region of the instrument is effectively restricted to the D and A strings,
whereas the full chords require the use of the C-string. And, although cello technique had
essentially reached its modern stage during the nineteenth century, harmony was not taught so
rigorously to the instrumental students at conservatories as it was to the composition students.58
Thus, cellists did not come out of their basic training with the knowledge to jump easily from one
range to another, sustaining a melody and a series of chords, with no music in front of them, and
have the result mean anything within the context of a concerto.
Composers (non-cellists) began either to write their own cadenzas for the piece, or simply
leave them out. In Schumann’s Cello Concerto (1850), the cadenza (which, incidentally, is not
preceded by a 6-4 chord) was written by the composer; in Dvorák’s concerto (1896), there is no

57
Badura-Skoda, E. and Jones, A. “Cadenza.” Grove Music Online, ed L. Macy. (accessed 4/25/2004)
<www.grovemusic.com>
58
This is made plain by reading performers’ biographies and comparing them with composers’ biographies: all too
often, the performer is only listed as studying with an instrumentalist, whereas composers studied piano and
composition with separate teachers. This could, of course, be an oversight of the biographers.
Composer-Performer Relationship - 27
cadenza, despite Hanus Wihan arguing with the composer to insert one (see Part I). Robert
Volkmann’s concerto (1853) does not contain a cadenza per se, but rather several occurrences of
improvisatory wanderings. Elgar’s concerto (1919) has a recitative-like introduction to the concerto
and cadenza-like flourishes at the beginning of the second and fourth movements, but no real
moment when the performer can step outside the piece and simply show off. Accompanied
cadenzas, sparsely-accompanied virtuoso passages only slightly related to the thematic material,
were popular. The solo cadenza had all but disappeared from cello literature by 1920, replaced by
accompanied recitative-like passages and short flourishes.59 There were some cellists, like Klengel,
who wrote their own cadenzas to classical works; however, this was not an act of improvisation, but
of composition.

v. Recitative
The only surviving form of cello improvisation during the nineteenth century was that of
fleshing out chords for recitative accompaniment, a holdover of continuo playing in the eighteenth
century.60 Being able to accompany properly at the opera meant a steady job. Early nineteenth
century methods, like Bernard Stiasny’s (c. 1820) and Charles Nicolas Baudiot’s (1826, 1828)
included instructions on accompanied recitative.61 When Robert Lindley (1776-1855), who sat for
many years as principal cellist with the London Philharmonic Society, would accompany singers, he
“gave the full chord, and frequently the note on which the singers were to commence.”62

vi. Aesthetics
Aesthetically, the entire concept of improvisation is self-contradictory in romanticism. The
romantic aesthetic is, by definition, irrational, working outside the rules.63 Thus using a set of
harmonic rules to produce, rationally, variations over a ground bass, is contrary to this aesthetic.
Ironically, the performers, by having their rules taken away from them, are now even more restricted
59
Later in the twentieth century, cadenzas came back with a relish. Shostakovich’s Cello Concerto No. 1 (1959)
includes an 8-minute whole movement as a cadenza (followed by another 12 minutes of virtuosity); Barber’s Cello
Concerto (1945) has a lovely traditional cadenza in the first movement, and then an incredibly virtuosic ending, akin
to the nineteenth century accompanied cadenza.
60
Williams, P and Ledbetter, D. op. cit.
61
Walden, op. cit. (pp 260-269)
62
Gassner, Partitur kenntnis. quoted in Koury, D. op. cit. (p. 109)
63
Goehr, L. op. cit.
Composer-Performer Relationship - 28
to the written notes. To make a rather strange analogy, they can no longer use their own crayons to
color within the lines, but must paint an entire masterpiece by number.
The atmosphere of any period presents musicians with a certain language and a certain set
of musical expectations regarding form, harmony, melody, and rhythm. When performers
improvise, they choose the rules they wish to follow and then go off on their own path, staying
within the expectations set by the period in which they live. If they do not follow rules, their
improvisation makes no sense. When the romantic aesthetic did away with rationality and changed
audience expectations to the unexpected, composers began giving performers completed works.
The performers then had to use the expectations of their time to flesh out another person’s musical
ideas. By having the rules of form, harmony, melody, and rhythm so completely shattered in the
nineteenth century, the performer had nothing to work with anymore except what was prewritten by
composers.
Schumann advises:
Look upon alterations or omissions, or the introduction of modern embellishments in the
works of good composers as something detestable. They are possibly the greatest insults
that can be offered art.6 4

Again, the entire notion of the performer adding anything to a piece of music conflicted at the most
fundamental level with the new work-concept and the awe that was accorded composers. If any
musician could change a melody and possibly improve it by adding embellishments, then
composers were no longer unique. The composers, reveling in their newfound status as demigods,
might have felt threatened by artists who could create music on the spot, without having to agonize
over melody, texture, form, and program for weeks, even years. (Whether they actually did feel
threatened or not remains to be seen, of course.) It is, however, another way of looking at the way
in which the art of improvisation became merely the craft of improvisation, and the craft of
composition became the art of composition.

V. Conclusion
The composer-performer relationship in the nineteenth century was strained. Composers
and performers alike became more and more specialized in their jobs, knowing a lot more about
their own subject and a lot less about others’. If composers wanted to write a playable piece for
64
Schumann, op. cit. (p. 32)
Composer-Performer Relationship - 29
cello, they either had to collaborate with a performer, as Chopin did when he worked with
Franchomme, or consult an instrumentation textbook such as Czerny’s or Berlioz’.
The disadvantages of working with instrumentation textbooks are clear: the composer
knows only what the textbook says about cellos, which is usually limited and conservative regarding
the technical abilities of cellists. For example, Czerny’s treatise gives the range of the cello as
extending from the open C string to a high a’, the octave above the top string, which is only fourth
position.65 The treatises don’t explain much beyond the general sound of the cello and the
forbidden fingering patterns; they don’t describe different effects and bow strokes peculiar to the
cello; instead, they describe violin bowings and inform the reader that the cello is not much
different.66 But violin and cello bowings are quite different, because cellos work with gravity in a
different way. Though adequate for orchestral writing and possibly chamber music, an
instrumentation treatise falls short of the needs for solo writing.
As performers stretched the abilities of the cello and proved its value as a solo instrument,
there came a need for more music written by professional composers (the majority of performers
had stopped writing their own concertos by 1820). The composer-performer relationship then
became a substitute for the instrumentation treatise. It wasn’t until the second half of the nineteenth
century, when composers began working much more closely on a personal level with cellists, that
large-scale works appear by major composers. In order to write a decent concerto, it is essential to
know what showy effects are possible on the cello, what sounds difficult but isn’t, and what little
details of performance have been left out of the treatises. Perhaps the lack of information in
instrumental treatises, and the knowledge that the cello wasn’t simply a bass version of the violin, is
why many composers stayed away from cello concertos in the early nineteenth century, leaving the
writing of virtuoso works to the professional cellists. However, in order for performers to
continually improve, and stretch the boundaries of cello playing, they had to practice more, which
meant less time spent composing, leaving an open niche for composers.
The bulk of cello music in the nineteenth century is orchestral and chamber music. Of the
other genres - concertos, cello/piano pieces, and other cello solo works - the majority written in the
period were by minor composers. (Of course, the bulk of music written in any period is by minor
composers - only a few composers are ever considered “major.”) The major (non-cellist)
65
Czerny, C. op. cit. (p. 3)
66
MacDonald, H. and Czerny, C. opp. cit.
Composer-Performer Relationship - 30
composers of the period who wrote memorably for the cello are Beethoven, Brahms, Chopin,
Dvorák, Franck, Elgar, Lalo, Mendelssohn, Saint-Saëns, Schubert, Schumann, Chaikovsky, and
Volkmann. Volkmann, Lalo, and Schumann all played cello at one time during their life, so it is not
surprising that they wrote concertos for the instrument. However, it is odd that these concertos,
although they’ve lasted, are nowhere near as popular as those by Saint-Saëns, Dvorák, and Elgar,
none of whom ever played the cello. The Saint-Saëns, Dvorák, and Elgar concertos are all from the
second half of the investigated century, when the composer-performer relationship was closer to
what it is now - the cellist as consultant, but subservient, to the composer’s ideas.
Further research into this area would include: a detailed study of nineteenth century cello
methods, such as those by Baudiot, Romberg, and Becker, including etude books, of which there are
dozens; an investigation of orchestral and chamber parts, especially those edited by cellists of the
period, to see how these methods were put into use. It would also include a closer look at strings,
bows, and other cello fittings, because it is unthinkable that whenever something new came out, all
cellists immediately began using it; even today, when things like carbon fiber bows or plastic
tailpieces appear, people are reluctant to change from what they feel most comfortable using. It
would also be instructive to compile together a comprehensive bibliography of articles and books
that discuss the nineteenth century cello and cellists, including performance reviews. Using these
resources, it should be possible to put together a useful book on technical aspects of cello playing
as well as the changing aesthetics and social structure of the nineteenth century.

Composer-Performer Relationship - 31
“Romantic” REPERTOIRE with a VIOLONCELLO part, 1820-1920
by date (composer)

works lists from composer biographies, various authors: Grove Music Online ed. L. Macy
(Accessed Jan-April 2004), <http://www.grovemusic.com>

B = Brahms DA = Davidoff L = Lalo SB = Schubert


BR = Bruch DV = Dvorak M = Mendelssohn SM = Schumann
BV = Beethoven E = Elgar P = Popper SS = Saint-Saëns
C = Chopin F = Franck PI = Piatti T = Tchaikovsky

1821: Piano Quartet, d (M)

1822: Piano Quartet no.1, c (M)


Symphony [no.7] no.8, b, ‘Unfinished’ (SB)

1823: String Quartet, E; Piano Quartet no.2, f (M)

1824: Symphony No. 1; Sextet, D, vn, 2 va, vc, db, pf (M)


Octet, F; String Quartet, a; String Quartet, d, ‘Der Tod und das Mädchen’; Sonata, a,
‘Arpeggione’ (SB)

1825: Piano Quartet no.3, b; Octet, E, 4 vn, 2 va, 2 vc (M)

1826: Symphony no.9, d; String Quartet, B; String Quartet, a; String Quartet, E; Grosse Fuge, B, str
qt; String Quartet, c; String Quartet, F (BV)
Quintet no.1, A, 2 vn, 2 va, vc (1st version) (M)
String Quartet, G (SB)

1827: Fugue, D, str qnt (BV)


String Quartet no.2, a; Fugue, E, str qt (M)
Piano Trio, E flat (SB)

1828: Piano Trio, g (C)


Symphony [no.8] no.9, C, ‘Great’; Piano Trio, B; String Quintet, C (cello) (SB)

1829: Variations concertantes, D, vc, pf; String Quartet no.1, E flat (M)

1830: Introduction and Polonaise brillante, C, vc, pf (C)


Die Hebriden; Symphony No. 5 (M)

1831: Grand Duo, E, on themes from Meyerbeer’s Robert le diable, vc, pf (C)

1832: Quintet no.1, A, 2 vn, 2 va, vc (2nd version) (M)

1833: Symphony No. 4 (M)

1834: Grand trio, pf, vn, vc (F)

1835: Assai tranquillo, b, vc, pf (for J. Rietz) (M)

Repertoire - 1
1836:

1837:

1838: Cello Sonata no.1, B flat (M)

1839: String Quartets nos.3–5; Piano Trio no.1, d (M)

1840: Symphony No. 2 (M)

1841: Symphony no.1, B (‘Spring’) (SM)

1842: 3 trios concertants: f#, B flat (Trio de salon), b; pf, vn, vc, 1839–42 (F)
Symphony No. 3 (M)
3 string quartets, a, F, A; Quintet, E, 2 vn, va, vc, pf; Quartet, E, vn, va, vc, pf;
Phantasiestücke, vn, vc, pf (SM)

1843: Quatrième trio concertant, b, vn, vc, pf (F)


Cello Sonata no.2, D; Capriccio, e, str qt (M)
Andante and variations, 2 pf, 2 vc, hn (SM)

1845: Sonata, g, vc (C)


Piano Trio no.2, c; Quintet no.2, B, 2 vn, 2 va, vc; Lied ohne Worte, D, vc, pf (?) (M)

1846: Symphony no.2, C (SM)

1847: String Quartet no.6, f; Andante sostenuto and Variations, E, str qt; Scherzo, a, str qt (M)
Trio no.1, d, vn, vc, pf; Trio no.2, F, vn, vc, pf (SM)

1848: Arlequin, esquisse caractéristique, vn/vc, pf (L)


Symphony, inc., B flat (SS)

1849: Adagio and Allegro, A, hn/(vn/vc), pf; Fantasiestücke, cl/(vn/vc), pf; Fünf Stücke im
Volkston, vc/vn, pf (SM)
Septet, E flat (BR)

1850: Piano Trio No. 1, c (L)


Symphony, inc., D; Scherzo, small orch, A; Serenata, D; Symphony, A (SS)
Symphony no.3, E (‘Rhenish’); Cello Concerto, a (SM)

1851: Symphony no.4, d; Trio no.3, g, vn, vc, pf (SM)

1852: Piano Trio No. 2, b (L)

1853: Symphony no.1, E flat; Piano Quartet, E (SS)


Pf acc. to 6 vc suites by Bach; 5 Romanzen, vc, pf (SM)
Volkmann Cello Concerto, a minor

1854: Piano Trio no.1, B (B)


Chanson Villageoise, Sérénade, vn/vc, pf (L)

1855: Piano Quintet, a (SS)


Repertoire - 2
1856: Allegro, op. 16; Cello Sonata (L)
Symphony ‘Urbs Roma’, F (SS)

1857: Serenade no.1, D (B)

1858: Pf Trio, c, op. 5 (BR)

1859: Serenade no.2, A (B)


vc conc. no.1, b (DA)
String Quartet, E flat (L)
Symphony no.2, a (SS)
2 str qts, c, op. 9, E op. 10 (BR)

1860: Sextet no. 1, B, 2 vn, 2 va, 2 vc (B)


Fantasie über russische Lieder (DA)

1861: Piano Quartet No. 1, g; Piano Quartet No. 2, A (B)


String Quintet, a, 2 vn, 2 va, vc (DV)

1862: Piano Quintet, f (B)


Allegro de concert, op.11 (DA)
String Quartet no.1, A (DV)
Suite, d (solo vc) (SS)

1863: vc conc. no.2, a (DA)


Suite, D; Spartacus, ov., E (SS)
concertino, vc, orch, op. 18 (PI)

1864: Sextet no.2, G, 2 vn, 2 va, 2 vc (B)


Pamponette, G; Piano Trio no.1, F (SS)
Allegro ma non tanto, G, str; Andante ma non troppo, A, small orch; Agitato and allegro, e,
small orch; Allegro vivo, c (T)

1865: Cello Sonata no.1, e; Trio, E, vn, hn/vc, p (B)


Symphony No. 1, c; Symphony No. 2, B; Cello Cto, A (DV)
Sérénade, E, pf, org, vn, va/vc (SS)

1866: Overture, F (second version); Concert Overture, c; Symphony no.1, g (‘Winter


Daydreams’) (1st) (T)

1867:

1868: vc conc. no.3, D (DA)

1869:

1870: String Quartet no.2, B; String Quartet no.3, D; String Quartet no.4, e (DV)
Marche héroïque, E flat (SS)
Symphony No. 1, E flat, op. 28, Symphony No. 2, f, op. 36 (BR)

1871: Concerto, d (P)


Repertoire - 3
Le rouet d'Omphale, A (SS)
Romeo and Juliet (2nd); String Quartet no.1, D (T)

1872: The Gifts of the Terek, sym. picture (DA)


Piano Quintet, A (DV)
Cello Concerto no.1, a (SS)
Symphony no.2, c (‘Little Russian’) (1st) (T)

1873: Variations on a Theme by J. Haydn, B; Two String Quartets, c, a (B)


String Quartet No. 5, f; String Quartet No. 6, a; Symphony No. 3, E (DV)
Phaéton, C; Allegro appassionato, b; Sonata, c (SS)

1874: String Quartet No. 7, a; Symphony No. 4, d (DV)


Danse macabre, g (SS)
Symphony no.1, g (‘Winter Daydreams’) (2nd); String Quartet no.2, F (T)
Concerto No. 1, op. 24 (PI)

1875: Piano Quartet no.3, c; String Quartet no.3, B flat (B)


Ballade, op.25 (Da)
String Quintet, G, 2 vn, va, vc, db; Serenade, E, str; Symphony No. 5, F; Piano Trio, B flat;
Piano Quartet, D (DV)
Piano Quartet, B flat (SS)

1876: Symphony no.1, c (B)


String Quartet No. 8, E (D)
Allegro appassionato, op.27, vc, orch (L)
Suite for 2 vc (P)
Variations on a Rococo Theme, A, vc, orch (T)

1877: Symphony no.2, D (B)


String Quartet No. 9, d (DV)
Cello Concerto, d (L)
La jeunesse d'Hercule, E; Romance, D (SS)
The Tempest; Symphony no.3, D ‘Polish’; String Quartet no.3, e (T)
Concerto No. 2, op. 26 (PI)

1878: vc conc. no.4, e (DA)


Bagatelles, 2 vn, vc, hmn; Serenade, cl, 2 ob, 2 cl, 2 bn, dbn, 3 hn, vc, db; Slavonic Rhapsodies,
1 D, 2 g, 3 A; String Sextet, A, 2 vn, 2 va, 2 vc (DV)
Francesca da Rimini (T)

1879: Str Sextet (DA)


String Quartet no.10, E flat; Polonaise, A, vc, pf (DV)
Suite no.1, D (T)

1880: Akademische Festouverture, c; Tragische Ouverture, d (B)


Symphony No. 6, D (DV)
Piano Trio No. 3, a (L)
concerto, e; concerto, G; Andante Serioso (P)
Suite algérienne, C; Une nuit à Lisbonne, E; Jota aragonese, D; Septet, E (tpt) (SS)
Symphony no.2, c (‘Little Russian’) (2nd); Slavonic March; Symphony no.4, f; Capriccio
Italien, A (T)
Repertoire - 4
1881: String Quartet No. 11, C (DV)
Quintette, f, pf, 2 vn, va, vc (F)
Elfentanz (P)
Romeo and Juliet (3rd); Serenade, C; Piano trio, a (T)
Kol Nidrei, op. 47 (BR)

1882: Piano Trio no.2, C; Quintet no.1, F, 2 vn, 2 va, vc (B)


Str Qt (DA)
Nocturne et Scherzo; Intermezzo, vc, orch; Le triomphe de Bacchus (orch) (DB)
Im Walde (DV)
1812, festival ov., E (T)

1883: Symphony no.3, F (B)


Pf Qnt (DA)
Piano Trio, f; Scherzo capriccioso (DV)

1884: Suite no.2, C (T)

1885: Symphony no.4, e (B)


Symphony No. 7, d (DV)
Suite no.3, G (T)

1886: Cello Sonata no.2, F; Piano Trio no.3, c (B)


Suite (for orch.), op.37 (DA)
Sonate, A, pf, vn (transcr. cello) (F)
Symphony, g (L)
Symphony no.3, c; Le carnaval des animaux (SS)
Manfred, sym. after Byron, b (T)
Pf Quartet, g, (BR)

1887: Concerto, a, vn, vc (B)


"Echo of Songs," 2 vn, va, vc; Slavonic Dances, 2nd ser. (DV)
Le Cygne (SS)
Pezzo capriccioso, b, vc, orch; Suite no.4, G (‘Mozartiana’) (T)
Symphony No. 3, E, op. 51 (BR)

1888: Symphonie, d (F)


Symphony no.5, e (T)

1889: Symphony No. 8, G (DV)


Quatuor, D, 2 vn, va, vc (F)
Rococo published, Fitzenhagen edition (T)

1890: Quintet no.2, G, 2 vn, 2 va, vc (B)


Hamlet, fantasy ov. after Shakespeare, f; Souvenir de Florence, str sextet, D (T)

1891: Trio, a, cl/va, vc, pf; Quintet, b, cl/va, str qt (B)


Dumky Piano Trio (DV)
concerto, b (P)
Rapsodie bretonne (SS)
Voyevoda, sym. ballad, after A. Mickiewicz, a (T)
Repertoire - 5
Canzone, op. 47 and Adagio nach keltischen Melodien, vc solo (op. 56) (BR)

1892: Requiem (3 vc); Schoner'n Tage (P)


Sarabande et rigaudon, E; Chant saphique (pf, vc); Piano Trio no.2, e (SS)
The Nutcracker (T)
Ave Maria, vc solo, op. 61

1893: String Quartet no.12, F; String Quintet, E, 2 vn, 2 va, vc; Symphony No. 9, e; Rondo, g, vc;
Klid [Silent woods], vc (DV)
Symphony no.6, b (‘Pathétique’) (T)

1894: Prélude à l'après-midi d'un faune (DB)


Hungarian Rhapsody (P)

1895: String Quartet no.13, G; String Quartet no.14, A (DV)

1896: Cello Concerto, b; The Water Goblin; The Noon Witch; The Golden Spinning-Wheel; The
Wild Dove (DV)
by now, 4 published sonatas (PI)

1897: A Hero’s Song (DV)


Barcarolle, D, vn, vc, org, pf (SS)
4 pieces, vc, pf, op. 70 (BR)

1898: Barcarolle, F, vn, vc, org, pf (SS)

1899: Enigma Variations (E)


String Quartet, e (SS)

1900:

1901:

1902: Cello Concerto no.2, d; Marche du couronnement, E (SS)

1903:

1904:

1905:String Quartet; 10 etudes, op. 76; 15 Easy Etudes (P)


Cello Sonata no.2, F (SS)
Suite nach russischen Volksmelodien, op. 79b

1906:

1907:

1908: Symphony No. 1, A flat (E)

1909:

1910: Ouverture de fête, F (SS)


Repertoire - 6
8 pieces, cl va/vc, pf, op. 83 (BR)

1911: Symphony No. 2, E flat (E)

1912:

1913:

1914: Hail! California (SS)

1915:

1916:

1917:

1918: String Quartet, G (SS)


Quartet, a, (BR)

1919: Cello Concerto, e (E)


Prière, G, org, vc (SS)

1920: Str Octet, B flat (BR)

I tried to include “lesser” composers, like Volkmann, but his works are not listed with their dates.
They include, however, 2 syms.; 4 ovs.; 3 serenades, str; Vc Conc. (1853), 6 str qts; 2 pf trios.

Repertoire - 7
Timeline of Romantic Composers and Works, 1820-1920

Beethoven (1770-1827) Brahms (1833-1897) Chopin (1810-1849) Davidoff (1838-1889) Dvorak (1841-1904) Elgar (1857-1934) Franck (1822-1890) Lalo (1823-1892) Mendelssohn (1809-1847) Popper (1843-1913) Romberg (1767-1841) Saint-Saens (1835-1921) Schubert (1797-1828) Schumann (1810-1856) Tchaikovsky (1840-1893) Volkmann (1815-1883)
1820 1820 1820 1820 1820
1821 1821 1821 Piano Quartet, d 1821 1821
1822 1822 1822 Piano Quartet no.1, c 1822 Symphony [no.7] no.8, b, ‘Unfinished’ 1822
1823 1823 String Quartet, E flatflat 1823 1823
1823
Piano Quartet no.2, f
1824 1824 1824 Octet, F 1824
Symphony No. 1 String Quartet, a
1824
Sextet, D, vn, 2 va, vc, db, pf String Quartet, d, ‘Der Tod und das Mädchen’
Sonata, a, ‘Arpeggione’
1825 1825 Piano Quartet no.3, b 1825 1825
1825
Octet, E flat, 4 vn, 2 va, 2 vc
Symphony no.9, d 1826 1826 1826 1826
String Quartet, B flat
String Quartet, a
1826 String Quartet, E flat Quintet no.1, A, 2 vn, 2 va, vc (1st version) String Quartet, G
Grosse Fuge, B flat, str qt
String Quartet, c sharp
String Quartet, F
1827 1827 String Quartet no.2, a 1827 1827
1827 Fugue, D, str qnt Piano Trio, E flat
Fugue, E flat, str qt
1828 1828 1828 Symphony [no.8] no.9, C, ‘Great’ 1828
1828 Piano Trio, g Piano Trio, B flat
String Quintet, C (cello)
1829 1829 Variations concertantes, D, vc, pf 1829 1829
1829
String Quartet no.1, E flat
Introduction and Polonaise brillante, C, vc, 1830 1830 Die Hebriden 1830 1830
1830
pf Symphony No. 5
Grand Duo, E, on themes from Meyerbeer’s 1831 1831 1831 1831
1831
Robert le diable, vc, pf
1832 1832 Quintet no.1, A, 2 vn, 2 va, vc (2nd 1832 1832
1832
version)
1833 1833 1833 Symphony No. 4 1833 1833
1834 1834 Grand trio, pf, vn, vc 1834 1834 1834
1835 1835 1835 Assai tranquillo, b, vc, pf (for J. Rietz) 1835 1835
1836 1836 1836 1836 1836
1837 1837 1837 1837 1837
1838 1838 1838 Cello Sonata no.1, B flat 1838 1838
1839 1839 String Quartets nos.3–5 1839 1839
1839 completes Method
Piano Trio no.1, d
1840 1840 1840 Symphony No. 2 1840 1840
Beethoven (1770-1827) Brahms (1833-1897) Chopin (1810-1849) Davidoff (1838-1889) Dvorak (1841-1904) Elgar (1857-1934) Franck (1822-1890) Lalo (1823-1892) Mendelssohn (1809-1847) Popper (1843-1913) Romberg (1767-1841) Saint-Saens (1835-1921) Schubert (1797-1828) Schumann (1810-1856) Tchaikovsky (1840-1893) Volkmann (1815-1883)
1841 1841 1841 many undated compositions 1841 Symphony no.1, B flat (‘Spring’) 1841 moved to Budapest
1842 1842 1842 3 string quartets, a, F, A 1842
3 trios concertants:
Quintet, E flat, 2 vn, va, vc, pf
1842 f sharp, B flat (Trio de salon), b; pf, vn, vc, 1839– Symphony No. 3
Quartet, E flat, vn, va, vc, pf
42
Phantasiestücke, vn, vc, pf
1843 1843 Cello Sonata no.2, D 1843 1843
1843 Quatrième trio concertant, b, vn, vc, pf Andante and variations, 2 pf, 2 vc, hn
Capriccio, e, str qt
1844 1844 1844 1844 1844
1845 1845 Piano Trio no.2, c 1845 1845
1845 Sonata, g, vc Quintet no.2, B flat, 2 vn, 2 va, vc
Lied ohne Worte, D, vc, pf (?)
1846 1846 1846 1846 Symphony no.2, C 1846
1847 1847 String Quartet no.6, f 1847 1847
Trio no.1, d, vn, vc, pf
1847 Andante sostenuto and Variations, E, str qt
Trio no.2, F, vn, vc, pf
Scherzo, a, str qt
1848 1848 1848 Arlequin, esquisse caractéristique, vn/vc, pf 1848 Symphony, inc., B flat 1848
1849 1849 1849 Adagio and Allegro, A flat, hn/(vn/vc), pf 1849
1849 Fantasiestücke, cl/(vn/vc), pf
Fünf Stücke im Volkston, vc/vn, pf
1850 1850 1850 Symphony, inc., D 1850
Scherzo, small orch, A Symphony no.3, E flat (‘Rhenish’)
1850 Piano Trio No. 1, c
Serenata, D Cello Concerto, a
Symphony, A
1851 1851 1851 Symphony no.4, d 1851
1851
Trio no.3, g, vn, vc, pf
1852 1852 1852 Piano Trio No. 2, b 1852 1852
1853 1853 1853 Symphony no.1, E flat Pf acc. to 6 vc suites by Bach 1853
1853 cello concerto in a, op 33
Piano Quartet, E 5 Romanzen, vc, pf
1854 Piano Trio no.1, B 1854 1854 Chanson Villageoise, Sérénade, vn/vc, pf 1854 1854
1855 1855 1855 1855 Piano Quintet, a 1855
1856 1856 Allegro, op. 16 1856 1856
1856 Symphony ‘Urbs Roma’, F
Cello Sonata
1857 Serenade no.1, D 1857 1857 1857 1857
1858 graduated from Moscow U, degree in maths 1858 1858 1858 1858
vc conc. no.1, b 1859 1859 1859 1859
1859 Serenade no.2, A joins Gewandhaus as principal String Quartet, E flat Symphony no.2, a
cello professor at Leipzig
1860 Sextet no. 1, B flat, 2 vn, 2 va, 2 vc Fantasie über russische Lieder 1860 1860 1860 1860
Beethoven (1770-1827) Brahms (1833-1897) Chopin (1810-1849) Davidoff (1838-1889) Dvorak (1841-1904) Elgar (1857-1934) Franck (1822-1890) Lalo (1823-1892) Mendelssohn (1809-1847) Popper (1843-1913) Romberg (1767-1841) Saint-Saens (1835-1921) Schubert (1797-1828) Schumann (1810-1856) Tchaikovsky (1840-1893) Volkmann (1815-1883)
Piano Quartet No. 1, g 1861 1861 1861 1861
1861 String Quintet, a, 2 vn, 2 va, vc
Piano Quartet No. 2, A
return to Russia 1862 1862 1862 1862
1862 Piano Quintet, f String Quartet no.1, A Suite, d (solo vc)
Allegro de concert, op.11
appointed professor to St. Petersburg Conservatory 1863 1863 1863 1863
principal cellist of the Imperial Italian Opera Suite, D
1863
member of the Russian Musical Society's Quartet Spartacus, ov., E flat
vc conc. no.2, a
1864 1864 1864 Allegro ma non tanto, G, str 1864
Pamponette, G Andante ma non troppo, A, small orch
1864 Sextet no.2, G, 2 vn, 2 va, 2 vc
Piano Trio no.1, F Agitato and allegro, e, small orch
Allegro vivo, c
1865 Symphony No. 1, c 1865 1865 1865
Cello Sonata no.1, e Sérénade, E flat, pf, org, vn, va/
1865 Symphony No. 2, B flat
Trio, E flat, vn, hn/vc, p vc
Cello Cto, A
1866 1866 1866 Overture, F (second version) 1866
1866 Concert Overture, c
Symphony no.1, g (‘Winter Daydreams’) (1st)
1867 1867 1867 1867 1867
1868 vc conc. no.3, D 1868 1868 Lied ohne Worte, D, vc, pf (published) 1868 1868
1869 1869 1869 1869 1869
1870 String Quartet no.2, B flat 1870 1870 1870
1870 String Quartet no.3, D Marche héroïque, E flat
String Quartet no.4, e
1871 1871 1871 Romeo and Juliet (2nd) 1871
1871 Concerto, d Le rouet d'Omphale, A
String Quartet no.1, D
1872 The Gifts of the Terek, sym. picture 1872 Piano Quintet, A 1872 1872 Cello Concerto no.1, a Symphony no.2, c (‘Little Russian’) (1st) 1872
1873 String Quartet No. 5, f 1873 1873 Phaéton, C 1873
Variations on a Theme by J. Haydn, B flat
1873 String Quartet No. 6, a Allegro appassionato, b
Two String Quartets, c, a
Symphony No. 3, E flat Sonata, c
1874 String Quartet No. 7, a 1874 1874 Symphony no.1, g (‘Winter Daydreams’) (2nd) 1874
1874 Danse macabre, g
Symphony No. 4, d String Quartet no.2, F
1875 String Quintet, G, 2 vn, va, vc, db 1875 1875 1875
Serenade, E, str
Piano Quartet no.3, c
1875 Ballade, op.25 Symphony No. 5, F Piano Quartet, B flat appointed to new National Hungarian Royal Academy of Music
String Quartet no.3, B flat
Piano Trio, B flat
Piano Quartet, D
1876 Symphony no.1, c 1876 String Quartet No. 8, E 1876 Allegro appassionato, op.27, vc, orch Suite for 2 vc 1876 Variations on a Rococo Theme, A, vc, orch 1876
1877 1877 1877 The Tempest 1877
La jeunesse d'Hercule, E flat
1877 Symphony no.2, D String Quartet No. 9, d Cello Concerto, d Symphony no.3, D (‘Polish’)
Romance, D
String Quartet no.3, e flat
1878 Bagatelles, 2 vn, vc, hmn 1878 1878 1878
Serenade, cl, 2 ob, 2 cl, 2 bn, dbn, 3 hn, vc, db
1878 vc conc. no.4, e Francesca da Rimini
Slavonic Rhapsodies, 1 D, 2 g, 3 A flat
String Sextet, A, 2 vn, 2 va, 2 vc
1879 String Quartet no.10, E flat 1879 1879 1879
1879 Str Sextet Suite no.1, D
Polonaise, A, vc, pf
1880 1880 1880 Suite algérienne, C Symphony no.2, c (‘Little Russian’) (2nd) 1880
concerto, e
Akademische Festouverture, c Une nuit à Lisbonne, E Slavonic March
1880 Symphony No. 6, D Piano Trio No. 3, a concerto, G
Tragische Ouverture, d Jota aragonese, D Symphony no.4, f
Andante Serioso
Septet, E flat (tpt) Capriccio Italien, A
Beethoven (1770-1827) Brahms (1833-1897) Chopin (1810-1849) Davidoff (1838-1889) Dvorak (1841-1904) Elgar (1857-1934) Franck (1822-1890) Lalo (1823-1892) Mendelssohn (1809-1847) Popper (1843-1913) Romberg (1767-1841) Saint-Saens (1835-1921) Schubert (1797-1828) Schumann (1810-1856) Tchaikovsky (1840-1893) Volkmann (1815-1883)
1881 1881 Romeo and Juliet (3rd) 1881
1881 String Quartet No. 11, C Quintette, f, pf, 2 vn, va, vc Elfentanz Serenade, C
Piano trio, a
Piano Trio no.2, C 1882 1882 1882
1882 Str Qt Im Walde 1812, festival ov., E flat
Quintet no.1, F, 2 vn, 2 va, vc
1883 Piano Trio, f 1883 1883
1883 Symphony no.3, F Pf Qnt
Scherzo capriccioso
1884 1884 1884 Suite no.2, C 1884
1885 Symphony no.4, e 1885 Symphony No. 7, d 1885 Suite no.3, G 1885
Cello Sonata no.2, F 1886 1886 Symphony no.3, c 1886
1886 Suite (for orch.), op.37 Sonate, A, pf, vn (transcr. cello) Symphony, g Manfred, sym. after Byron, b
Piano Trio no.3, c Le carnaval des animaux
maneuvered out of conservatory (Rubinstein) 1887 "Echo of Songs," 2 vn, va, vc 1887 Pezzo capriccioso, b, vc, orch 1887
1887 Concerto, a, vn, vc Le Cygne
moves to Moscow Slavonic Dances, 2nd ser. Suite no.4, G (‘Mozartiana’)
1888 Violoncell-Schule 1888 Symphonie, d 1888 Symphony no.5, e 1888
1889 1889 Symphony No. 8, G Quatuor, D, 2 vn, va, vc 1889 Rococo published, Fitzenhagen edition 1889
1890 1890 1890 Hamlet, fantasy ov. after Shakespeare, f 1890
1890 Quintet no.2, G, 2 vn, 2 va, vc
Souvenir de Florence, str sextet, D
Trio, a, cl/va, vc, pf 1891 1891 1891 Voyevoda, sym. ballad, after A. Mickiewicz, 1891
1891 Dumky Piano Trio concerto, b Rapsodie bretonne
Quintet, b, cl/va, str qt a
1892 1892 1892 Sarabande et rigaudon, E 1892
Requiem (3 vc)
1892 (goes to America) Chant saphique (pf, vc) The Nutcracker
Schoner'n Tage
Piano Trio no.2, e
1893 String Quartet no.12, F 1893 1893 1893
String Quintet, E flat, 2 vn, 2 va, vc
1893 Symphony No. 9, e Symphony no.6, b (‘Pathétique’)
Rondo, g, vc
Klid [Silent woods], vc
1894 1894 1894 Hungarian Rhapsody 1894 1894
1895 String Quartet no.13, G 1895 1895 1895
1895 String Quartet no.14, A flat
(leaves America)
1896 Cello Concerto, b 1896 1896 1896
The Water Goblin
1896 The Noon Witch
The Golden Spinning-Wheel
The Wild Dove
1897 1897 A Hero’s Song 1897 1897 Barcarolle, D, vn, vc, org, pf 1897
1898 1898 1898 1898 Barcarolle, F, vn, vc, org, pf 1898
1899 1899 Enigma Variations 1899 1899 String Quartet, e 1899
1900 1900 1900 1900 1900
Beethoven (1770-1827) Brahms (1833-1897) Chopin (1810-1849) Davidoff (1838-1889) Dvorak (1841-1904) Elgar (1857-1934) Franck (1822-1890) Lalo (1823-1892) Mendelssohn (1809-1847) Popper (1843-1913) Romberg (1767-1841) Saint-Saens (1835-1921) Schubert (1797-1828) Schumann (1810-1856) Tchaikovsky (1840-1893) Volkmann (1815-1883)
1901 1901 High School 1901
1902 1902 Cello Concerto no.2, d
1902 High School
Marche du couronnement, E flat
1903 1903 High School 1903
1904 1904 High School 1904
1905 High School 1905
String Quartet
1905 Cello Sonata no.2, F
10 etudes, op. 76
15 Easy Etudes
1906 1906 1906
1907 1907 1907
1908 Symphony No. 1, A 1908
1908
flat
1909 1909 1909
1910 1910 1910 1910 Ouverture de fête, F 1910
1911 Symphony No. 2, E 1911
1911
flat
1912 1912 1912
1913 1913 1913
1914 1914 1914
1915 1915 1915 Hail! California, F
1916 1916 1916
1917 1917 1917
1918 1918 1918 String Quartet, G
1919 1919 Cello Concerto, e 1919 Prière, G, org, vc
1920 1920 1920 1920 1920
Beethoven (1770-1827) Brahms (1833-1897) Chopin (1810-1849) Davidoff (1838-1889) Dvorak (1841-1904) Elgar (1857-1934) Franck (1822-1890) Lalo (1823-1892) Mendelssohn (1809-1847) Popper (1843-1913) Romberg (1767-1841) Saint-Saens (1835-1921) Schubert (1797-1828) Schumann (1810-1856) Tchaikovsky (1840-1893) Volkmann (1815-1883)

file:///Users/alexandra/Documents/Cello%20Project/Final%20Copy/HTML/timeline.html18-09-2004 22:33:12
Composers and their Cellists, 1820-1920

Composer Instrument Pieces for Cello Cellist


Beethoven piano sonatas: op.5, Two Cello Sonatas, F, g, Duport, Romberg
1796 (Vienna, 1797) ded. Friedrich
Wilhelm II of Prussia
op.69, Cello Sonata, A, 1807–8 (Leipzig,
1809) ded Baron Ignaz von Gleichenstein
op.102, Two Cello Sonatas, C, D, 1815
(Bonn, 1817) ded. Countess Erdödy.
variations: woo45: Variations, G, on ‘See
the conqu’ring hero comes’ from Judas
Maccabaeus, pf, vc, 1796 (Vienna, 1797)
ded. Princess Christiane von Lichnowsky
op.66, Variations, F, on ‘Ein Mädchen
oder Weibchen’ from Die Zauberflöte, pf,
vc, ?1796 (Vienna, 1798).
chamber: tons!.
orchestral: symphonies
op.56, Concerto (‘Triple Concerto’), C,
pf, vn, vc, orch (Vienna, 1807)
Composition, First performance: 1804–7,
May 1808; Dedication, Remarks: Prince
Lobkowitz.
Brahms piano op. 38, Cello Sonata no.1, e, 1862–5, pub. Wasielewski, Hausmann
1866 (perf. Leipzig, 14 Jan 1871) ded. J.
Gänsbacher
op. 99, Cello Sonata no.2, F, 1886, pub.
1887 (perf. Vienna, 24 Nov 1886).
Chopin piano Grand Duo (Berlin, Paris and London, Franchomme, Merk
1833; ded. Adèle Forest; collab. Auguste
Franchomme)
Polonaise Brilliante (Vienna, 1831;
Berlin, 1832; Paris, 1835; London, 1836;
ded. Joseph Merk)
Sonata (Leipzig, 1847; Paris, 1848; ded.
Auguste Franchomme)
Davidoff cello Vc concs.: no.1, b, op.5, 1859; no.2, a, himself
op.14, 1863; no.3, D, op.18, 1868; no.4, e,
op.31, 1878
Other vc and orch: Fantasie über
russische Lieder, op.7, ?1860
Allegro de concert, op.11, 1862
Ballade, op.25, 1875
Pieces for vc and pf: "Apres un reve,"
"At the Fountain", songs
Dvorak violin, viola, organ, piano I Cello Concerto, A, completed 30 June Hans Wihan
assume 1865, with pf acc.; ? 1st perf. Prague, 26
April 1929; rev. G. Raphael (Leipzig,
1929); orchd J. Burghauser (Prague,
1977).
op. 94, Rondo, g, vc, 16 – 22 Oct 1893
(Berlin, 1894), arr. from b171
op. 68/5, Klid [Silent woods], vc, 28 Oct
1893 (Berlin, 1894) arr. from b133/5
op. 104 Cello Concerto, b, 8 Nov 1894 – 9
Feb 1895 (Berlin, 1896) rev., completed
11 June 1895; 1st perf. London, 19 March
1896
Elgar organ, violin, bassoon, piano op. 85, Cello Concerto, e, 1918–19; F. Felix Salmond, Beatrice Harrison
Salmond, cond. Elgar, Queen's Hall, 27
Oct 1919; arr. as va conc. by L. Tertis,
1929; Tertis, cond. Elgar, Queen's Hall,
21 March 1930
Franck piano, organ op. 8 Sonate, A, pf, vn, 1886 (1886); unknown
Société Nationale, 31 Dec 1887 {who
transposed it?}
Lalo violin, cello, viola op. 16, Allegro, vc, pf (?1856); arr. vc, Fischer {who?}
orch as op.27, and again as Allegro
symphonique (n.d.)
Cello Sonata, 1856 (n.d.)
Valse, vc, pf
Cello Concerto, d, 1877 (Berlin, 1877)
Mendelssohn piano, organ op. 45, Cello Sonata no.1, B, 13 Oct 1838 knew Offenbach, met Piatti
(1839)
op. 58, Cello Sonata no.2, D, c June 1843,
perf. Leipzig, 18 Nov 1843 (1843)
op. 109, Lied ohne Worte, D, vc, pf, ? c
Oct 1845 (1868)
Popper cello 4 concertos, vc, orch: d, op.8 (Offenbach, himself
1871); e, op.24 (Leipzig, 1880); G, op.59
(Hamburg, 1880); b, op.72 (Leipzig,
1900) Requiem, 3 vc, orch, op.66
(Hamburg, 1892)
String Quartet, c, op.74, ed. B. Schmidt
(Leipzig, 1905)
Suite, 2 vc, op.16 (Leipzig, 1876);
Andante serioso, vc, op.27 (Leipzig, 1880)
Cadenzas for vc concs.: Haydn, D; Saint-
Saëns, op.35; Volkmann, op.33;
Schumann, op.129; Molique, op.45: ed.
G. von Vikar (Vienna, 1924)
68 character- and salon pieces, mostly vc,
pf, incl.: Elfentanz, op.39 (Leipzig, 1881);
Im Walde, suite, op.50 (Hamburg, 1882);
Wie einst in schöner’n Tagen, op.64
(Leipzig, 1892); Ungarischer Rhapsodie,
op.68 (Leipzig, 1894)
Hohe Schule des Violoncello-Spiels, op.73
(Leipzig, 1901–5)
10 mittelschwere grosse Etüden, op.76
(Leipzig, c1905)
15 leichte Etüden in der ersten Lage,
op.76a (Leipzig, c1905)
Romberg cello 10 vc concs., op.2, op.3, op.6, op.7, op.30, himself
op.31 (‘Military’), op.44 (‘Swiss’), op.48
(‘Brillante’), op.56 (‘Grand’), op.75
(‘Brillante’); 6 concertinos, vc, orch; Fl
Conc., op.30; Concertino, 2 hn, orch,
op.41; Double conc., vn, vc, orch
c50 rondos, variations, fantasias,
capriccios, divertimentos, potpourris, vc,
orch and vc, str orch/str qt; other concert
works with solo fl, vn, pf and hp
Vc studies, 3 bks
Saint-Saens piano, organ op. 33, Cello Concerto no.1, a, 1872 ??
(1873)
op. 43, Allegro appassionato, b, solo vc,
1873 (1875)
op. 119, Cello Concerto no.2, d, 1902
(1902)
Schubert violin, voice Sonata, a, ‘Arpeggione’, Nov 1824, 1871 Linke; Sylvester Paumgartner, amateur
chamber:String Quintet, C (2 vn, va, 2 (commissioned "Trout")
vc), ?Sept 1828, 1853, op.163, &more.
Schumann piano; also studied flute and op. 129, Cello Concerto, a, 1850, pub. Hausmann, knew Wielhorski
cello 1854, perf. Leipzig, 9 June 1860
op. 73, Fantasiestücke, cl/(vn/vc), pf,
1849, 1849, orig. title Soiréestücke
op. 102 Fünf Stücke im Volkston, vc/vn,
pf, 1849, 1851
5 Romanzen, vc, pf 1853 lost
Pf acc. to 6 vc suites by Bach 1853, 1985,
only acc. To Suite no.3 (BWv 1009)
survives
Tchaikovksy piano op. 33 Variations on a Rococo Theme, A, Fitzenhagen, Brandoukov
vc, orch; Dec 1876, pub. ed. W.
Fitzenhagen, 1889, perf. Moscow, 18/30
Nov 1877
op. 62, Pezzo capriccioso, b, vc, orch,
12/24 Aug–30 Aug/11 Sept 1887, pub.
1888, perf. Paris, 28 Feb 1888
Volkmann cello Concerto (?), smaller pieces (?) himself?

file:///Users/alexandra/Documents/Cello%20Project/Final%20Copy/HTML/composer_table.html18-09-2004 21:40:51
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