“Cello music? How wonderful it sounds!” When conversation turns to the cello the word “beauty” is never far away. This sonorous string instrument with its warm sound is considered melancholy, tailor-made for emotional music.
Again and again composers place cellos in key passages in their music. Before King Philip, in Verdi’s “Don Carlos”, launches into his aria “Ella giammai m'amò” (She never loved me), we hear a sorrowful cantilena from the solo cello, and everything is already said before the despairing king begins his lament.
In the first movement of Anton Bruckner’s Seventh Symphony the cellos carry an ascending line that seems to rise into the heavens. The immortal Swan from “Carnival of the Animals” glides across the surface of the water to a ravishing cello melody. This sentimental portrait would not be nearly as beautiful without the cello.
Not many concertos for cello and orchestra have found their way into the repertoire, but those that have are gems such as the concertos by Antonín Dvořák and Edward Elgar, which will never lose their lustre.
Those seeking to climb the Olympian heights of cello literature cannot afford to ignore Bach's solo suites – “the quintessence of Bach’s art”, as Pablo Casals put it. These six works in ascending order of difficulty have remained fresh and untarnished miracles to the present day. Look through the Bärenreiter catalogue to find out more about these precious treasures – and the path that leads to them.