Mixing Editions Can Be Dangerous 

Spending any time in the music world will make you realize that there is an abundance of editions out there, especially for standard repertoire. Our teachers guide us on which edition to purchase/download. Our orchestra librarians make sure that the correct music is distributed to our folders.

But what about mixing editions? What if you don't want your pianist to borrow your prized copy of the Hummel Trumpet Concerto? You bought an E trumpet for this performance and your music is in E major. You tell your pianist to download it from IMSLP. She has only played it in E-flat and assumes that you will, too. You meet for the first rehearsal and your music is in two different keys! Obviously, there was a miscommunication. If the orchestra parts were in the wrong key, it would have been an even bigger mess. This happens to a greater or lesser degree to all of us

I know of a recording on a major label where the cello soloist plays a composed version of a concerto and the orchestra plays the original version; to someone who knows the piece, it sounds like a mess. When I lived in Detroit, I spent a lot of time at Luck's Music Library. I once asked them why they don't sell Haydn's Concerto No. 5 in C major (this was before I knew that it was a musical hoax by Popper). They told me that people would purchase it by accident instead of the famous C-major concerto. In that case, those 2 concertos had nothing to do with each other besides being in the same key. But this often happens with different editions of the same piece.

Dvořák - Cello Concerto in B minor

This is the simplest case on my list. The reprinted Simrock parts (Kalmus/Luck's) have rehearsal numbers, as does Bärenreiter. But for some reason, Breitkopf Urtext decided to use rehearsal letters. This means that anytime your solo part says 1-2-3, the Breitkopf says A-B-C. The Breitkopf Urtext edition is good, but using the orchestra parts might pose a slight inconvenience.

Haydn - Cello Concerto in D major

Haydn's D-major Concerto is notorious for mismatched parts. There are 2 main versions for the orchestra parts, the original and the "Gevaert" version (orchestrated from Servais's version). Usually, the 2 versions are marked as such. The number of versions for cello and piano is much greater. There are editions with cuts, interpolations, and pitch alterations. Before your first rehearsal, you will want to make sure that the solo part you plan to play matches the accompaniment. Don't assume the pianist/conductor will acquire the correct version.

Selected Discography
Miklos Perenyi - Original, without any alterations to the solo part
Daniil Shafran - Traditional Gevaert version (double woodwinds) with the cadenza by Gevaert (most likely Servais)
Christine Walevska - Altered Gevaert version (2 oboes/2 horns), currently available from Breitkopf

CPE Bach - Cello Concertos in A minor and A major

If you get the Breitkopf (Grützmacher) edition of CPE Bach's A-minor concerto, it won't be compatible with the original version's orchestra parts, as you can hear in the (mixed-edition) Tim Hugh (Naxos) recording. The story of the A-major concerto is almost as complicated as that of the Haydn concerto. The editions prepared by Pollein and Cassadó are incompatible with the original orchestra parts. Cassadó's version is altogether in a different key of F major.

Boccherini - Cello Concertos in B-flat major and D major (G. 479)

Boccherini's B-flat major concerto is surrounded by confusion. Someone decided to assign the G. 482 catalog number to the Grützmacher concerto, aka by Boccherini, which is entirely a different piece from Boccherini's G. 482 concerto. Grützmacher did a paste job with 4 of Boccherini's concertos and a Dotzauer etude. The solo parts and orchestra parts are completely incompatible.

Another famous Boccherini concerto, G. 479, has been arranged and reorchestrated by Aslamazyan, Cassadó, Respighi, and others. The solo parts and orchestra parts are incompatible with the original version. 

Tchaikovsky - Rococo Variations

These days, more cellists are playing the "original" version of Tchaikovsky's Rococo Variations, but there is not one original version. Among orchestra versions, Luck's sells one reconstructed version. Schott sells another reconstructed version which is incompatible with Luck's. There are 2 unreconstructed original versions, a 1970s Soviet edition (not Kubatsky) and my YL Edition. The latter 2 are compatible. But if you purchase the Peters Urtext or Schott editions, they will be incompatible. Maybe then you might realize that there is nothing wrong with continuing to play the "Fitzenhagen" version. Are you confused yet?

Selected Discography
Steven Isserlis - Original, based on the manuscript sources (1970s Soviet edition and YL Edition)
Johannes Moser - Reconstructed version by Kubatsky (Kubatsky/Schott)
Miklos Perenyi - Original, based on the manuscript sources (1970s Soviet edition/YL Edition)
Raphael Wallfisch - Reconstructed version by Kubatsky with additional alteration by Stogorky (Luck's/Kalmus)

Kraft - Cello Concerto, Op. 4

In my exploration of the lesser-played cello repertoire, I've also found the Dominis edition of Antonin Kraft's C-major concerto, Op. 4 not to be compatible with the original version. The Dominis edition has truncated the piece as well as changed the key of the slow movement from E to A major. There are no recordings of the Dominis edition.

Romberg - Cello Concertos

Solo parts from Peters (Grützmacher), Litolff (Schoeder), Carl Fischer (Malkin), and IMC (Rose) editions of Romberg's cello concertos are not compatible with the original orchestra parts.

Bartok - Viola Concerto (cello version)

If you want to play Bartok's Viola Concerto on the cello like Janos Starker, you will need to get the orchestra parts to the Tibor Serly version. The Peter Bartok version parts are incompatible.


The rule of thumb is to try to play from the same edition as the other members of your group. You will save time asking, "Where is letter X?" Number your measures, check the score for inconsistencies in your part and you will be in great shape. If you play in an orchestra and you have a great librarian you can trust that most of the inconsistencies have been smoothed out.

Critical Notes Series: Le Beau's Cello Music 

Le Beau - Sonata in D major, Op. 17 (Urtext Edition)
Le Beau - 4 (5) Pieces, Op. 24 (Urtext Edition)
Le Beau - 3 Pieces, Op. 26 (Transcribed for Cello and Piano)

Cello Sonata

Luise Adolpha Le Beau (1850 – 1927) was a German composer. She studied with noted musicians Clara Schumann and Franz Lachner, but her primary instructor was Josef Gabriel Rheinberger. Like many other 19th-century female composers, Le Beau began her career in music as a pianist and later earned her living teaching, critiquing, and performing music.

Le Beau's Cello Sonata was completed on 12 October 1878, with the first two movements being completed on 17 September and 23 September, respectively. It was published in Hamburg by August Cranz in March 1883. The first movement of the Sonata is reminiscent of early Brahms (i.e. Serenade, Op. 11), and the finale of Mendelssohn's Cello Sonata No. 2, Op. 58. The slow movement is quite melancholy, with a reflective middle section reminiscent of Chopin's Piano Sonata No. 3, Op. 58.

The cello and piano parts are equal in Le Beau's Cello Sonata. The piano part is not as challenging as Brahms or Mendelssohn, so an intermediate player would enjoy playing this work. The cello part is between grades 3 and 4 based on the ASTA syllabus. The cello part stays within the first 6 positions in the first two movements. The thumb is used on the middle harmonic in the finale. There is an F#5 near the end of the finale, approached by step.

Pieces, Op. 24

Le Beau composed five pieces for cello with piano accompaniment, four of which would be published as Op. 24. The pieces were composed in the following order: Romanze, Wiegenlied, Mazurka, Gavotte, and Barcarole. The Romanze was completed on 29 January 1881 and the Barcarole on 4 May 1881. The titling seems to have occurred after the composition of the set because the numbers appear at 1, 3, 4, 2, and 5 in the autograph without any erasures. The title page has "Fünf" (five) erased and replaced with "Vier" (Four).

The autograph of the cello part contains fingerings that were eventually published by J. Rieter-Biedermann in 1882. However, some of the fingerings were crossed out and/or replaced, making the autograph look like it was used for post-publication performances. Our edition favors the new fingerings. The Barcarole was eventually published separately in June 1886 in Cologne by P.J. Tonger (mentioned in Neue Musik-Zeitung). This Barcarole is sometimes assigned the catalog number Op. 65a, No. 5 because it was reused in Op. 65a for violin and piano. We believe it should remain Op. 24, No. 5 when played on the cello. The Romanze is included on the ABRSM grade 8 syllabus.

Our editions of the Cello Sonata and the Op. 24 Pieces are based exclusively on autographs as they are more detailed and do not contain pitch, rhythm, slurring, and articulation errors that made their way into the publications. The original Barcarole is included in the appendix of our edition. We thank Staatsbibliothek zu Berlin for providing the sources.

Pieces, Op. 26

Luise Le Beau published her 3 Pieces, Op. 26 for viola and piano in June 1883. The opus contains 2 Schumannesque works, Nachtstück and Träumerei, as well as the Chopinesque Polonaise.

The pieces are intended for an intermediate-level violist. Our transcription tries to adhere to that level for the cello. Around half of the music has retained the original octave and the other half was brought down an octave. Only a handful of notes were changed in the arpeggios of the Polonaise to make sense of the voicing. Otherwise, the original pitches were retained. The piano part may be considered urtext and played with the original viola part.

We used the C. F. Kahnt edition from June 1883 as our primary source. Any corrections in the piano part are marked with editorial marks. All of the slurring, dynamics, articulations, etc. in the cello part were retained from the viola part.

Critical Notes Series: Costanzi's Cello Concerto in D major 

Costanzi - Cello Concerto in D major (Urtext Edition, Orchestra Score/Parts)
Costanzi - Cello Concerto in D major (Urtext Edition, Keyboard Reduction)

Giovanni Battista Costanzi (1704-1778) was an Italian composer and cello virtuoso. He entered the service of the famous Cardinal Pietro Ottoboni in 1721. In 1722, Costanzi was appointed to the post of violoncellist at S. Luigi dei Francesi in Rome. In 1740 he entered the service of Cardinal Trojano Acquaviva d'Aragona and, on the latter's death in 1752, the service of Cardinal Albani. He was also maestro di cappella at various churches in Rome: Madonna di Loreto in 1742, and S. Marco e S. Maria in Vallicella the following year. In 1754 he was named assistant to Pietro Paolo Bencini, succeeding him as maestro di cappella of the Cappella Giulia at his death in 1755.

Costanzi wrote many works for his own instrument, including 5 sinfonias and at least 12 sonatas for cello and basso (or second cello), as well as at least 4 cello concertos. Two of the four concertos are on the easier side for the soloist, lightly orchestrated with 2 violins and basso. Both of the manuscripts of these works are housed at the Alströmer-Samlingen, F major (150:17, complete parts) and C major (150:16, solo and basso parts only). One of the four concertos (G major, Schönborn WD 547) is in 4 movements in the “sonata da chiesa” style, with a slow first movement and a fugal second movement.

Costanzi's most noted work is the D-major cello concerto, once attributed to Joseph Haydn. The reason for the persistent attribution to Haydn even into the 21st century was that one of the manuscripts with Haydn's name on it arrived at the Breitkopf firm in 1772 and was cataloged in Supplemento VII. In fact, three of the four manuscripts that still exist today have Haydn's name on them, but the “Haydn” copies originate from a single source (Zittau model) as can be deduced from the common peculiarities. Under Haydn's attribution, Hoboken grouped this concerto with other cello concertos under the number Hob. VIIb:4, now VIIb:4*.

In the 1700s, it was common to see a work with different composers' names on manuscript copies. We see such cases with sonatas by Eccles and/or Bonporti, Berteau and/or Abaco, Costanzi and/or Vandini, and a violin concerto by Haydn and/or Hofmann. In the case of Costanzi's concerto, Haydn's name was probably put on the manuscript copy for marketing reasons. For stylistic reasons, Haydn's authorship should not be entertained.

While in the past scholars at the Joseph Haydn-Institut have questioned even Costanzi's authorship, we believe that this doubt should be put to rest. The sole argument for this doubt was that the D-major concerto did not match the other sonatas and concerto the concerto from the Schönborn collection in form, the other works being in the “sonata da chiesa” style, beginning with a slow movement. However, this is not true. The C-major concerto begins with an Allegretto movement just like the D-major concerto. The C-major sonata in the Frank V. de Bellis Collection at the San Francisco State University begins with a Vivace movement. The shortness of the F and C-major concertos may be accounted for by the technical difficulty level required of the soloist. Besides the Minuet and occasional Giga, Costanzi rarely marks other dances or uses strict imitation. Many Minuets are not marked either while being such in style. The finale of the D-major concerto is very similar in style to the finale of the G-major sonata (Schönborn WD 550).

Costanzi's D-major concerto was cataloged by the Breitkopf firm in 1772, however, the style of the concerto is more congruent with similar works from the early 1750s.

The concerto is full of long sequences we encounter in Vivaldi's music. The first movement begins with a syncopated theme that pervades the entire movement. Full of energy, the accompaniment often has a dotted rhythm. The slow movement begins with a stately ritornello theme, but quickly turns into a melody we could associate with Boccherini, Costanzi's student. The finale is abundant in Vivaldian melodies. The outer movements have the classical 4-tutti and 3-solo form, and the slow movement (in B minor) 3-tutti and 2-solo form. The outer movements do not have a developed sonata form, especially with regard to the double exposition.

The cello writing is idiomatic, much more comfortable than CPE Bach's or Haydn's writing even in the most virtuosic sections. The first two movements have places for cadenzas located before the respective final ritornello/tutti sections.

The first publication of this concerto came out in 1894 as part of Friedrich Grützmacher's Hohe Schule des Violoncellspiels under Haydn's name. This version, like many of Grützmacher's editions for Breitkopf, was recomposed. In 1924, Arnold Trowell published his own recomposed version with Augener as Haydn's “Second Concerto.” The work has also been published closer to the sources (under Haydn's name) by Schott (ed. Walter Schulz, 1948), Tenuto-Musik-EditionTenuto-Musik-Edition (ed. August Wenzinger, 1950), and Breitkopf (ed. Christian Klug, 1977). The last three publications are all based on the Zittau source that has Haydn's name on it. However, all three are still heavily edited with slurs, dynamics, and unexplained note changes.

Our new edition is based on the manuscript housed at the Musikverein in Vienna (IX 2345 (Q 16641)) for the violin, viola, and basso parts. This source has Costanzi's name on it. The dynamics are more detailed than the Zittau model. Since the solo part is not extant in the Musikverein, we used the solo part housed at SLUB Dresden (Mus.3356-O-505). We would like to thank both archives for putting these sources are our disposal.

Critical Notes:
In movements I and II the asterisk (*) marks places where the parts are inconsistent between the dotted rhythm and two equal sixteenth notes. We gave preference to the dotted rhythm. The asterisk is above the part that has equal sixteenth notes.

Editorial ties and slurs are marked with a dashed tie/slur. Editorial dynamics and other markings were provided in brackets.

Mvt. II
m. 30, viola: note 1 (appoggiatura) missing
m. 52, viola: note 2 is an F#4 in the MS

Mvt. III
m. 250, cello solo: note 2 in a D3 in the MS

Critical Notes Series: Costanzi's Sinfonias and Sonatas 

Costanzi -  11 Sinfonias and Sonatas for Cello and Basso, Vol. 1 (Urtext Edition)
Costanzi - 6 Sonatas for Cello and Basso, Vol. 2 (Urtext Edition)

Giovanni Battista Costanzi (1704-1778) was an Italian composer and cello virtuoso. He entered the service of the famous Cardinal Pietro Ottoboni in 1721. In 1722, Costanzi was appointed to the post of violoncellist at S. Luigi dei Francesi in Rome. In 1740 he entered the service of Cardinal Trojano Acquaviva d'Aragona and, on the latter's death in 1752, the service of Cardinal Albani. He was also maestro di cappella at various churches in Rome: Madonna di Loreto in 1742, and S. Marco e S. Maria in Vallicella the following year. In 1754 he was named assistant to Pietro Paolo Bencini, succeeding him as maestro di cappella of the Cappella Giulia at his death in 1755.

Costanzi's most noted work is the D-major cello concerto, once attributed to Joseph Haydn. Costanzi wrote many chamber works for his own instrument, including sinfonias and sonatas. His sinfonias are basically sonatas. Our new edition includes 11 of Costanzi's works for cello, 5 sinfonias and 6 sonatas. 

The Sinfonias and the G-major sonata come from the Graf von Schönborn-Wiesentheid Collection (MSS 548-553). 

Sinfonia in C major 
(Schönborn WD 548)

The entire C-major Sinfonia also appears as Antonio Vandini's C-major Sonata. Vandini's manuscript is located at Biblioteca Nazionale Marciana, Venice (Mss.It.IV.1095). Vandini's manuscript is dated May 1717. Costanzi did not enter Ottoboni's service until 1721, so it is likely that Vandini is in fact the composer of the Sinfonia. The differences between the Vandini and Costanzi manuscripts are slight. The first movement is a solemn prelude. The second movement is in binary form, built around the ritornello principle. The third movement is a minuet with one variation. The variation may have been added by Costanzi.

Sinfonia in G major 
(Schönborn WD 549)

The G-major Sinfonia is a typical sonata da camera for the 1720s-30s. The Allegro movement is a Corrente.

Sonata in G major 
(Schönborn WD 550)

The G-major Sonata is the only piece with the title of "sonata" among Costanzi's scores in the Schönborn collection. The second movement is imitative. The third movement is in E minor until the last four bars. The bass part in the last four bars is vague as the music moves to the key of B. We provided a solution for the bass part that makes the music less jarring; other solutions are welcome. The finale is a minuet.

Sinfonia in D major 
(Schönborn WD 551)
Adagio staccato

The D-major Sinfonia opens with a descending bass by itself. The first movement explores the key of E major, not a typical key to explore in that era when the tonic is D major. The second movement is in binary form, but both sections begin and end in the tonic key instead of the first section ending on the dominant. The last two movements are called Amoroso. The first Amoroso is in a typical binary form. It has a stuttering scale near the end. The final Amoroso is a minuet.

Sinfonia in E-flat major 
(Schönborn WD 552)

The E-flat-major Sinfonia is a typical sonata da camera. The second movement is a courante and the finale is a minuet where the bass imitates the cello line.

Sinfonia in B-flat major 
(Schönborn WD 553)
Sarabanda. Amoroso

The B-flat-major Sinfonia has a couple of oddities similar to the D-major Sinfonia. The second movement is in binary form but both sections end in the tonic key instead of the first section ending on the dominant. The third movement is called "Sarabanda" but it is in 4, not in 3. 

The following two sonatas, in C-major and G-minor, respectively, come from the Gesellschaft der Musikfreunde collection (MSS 23 and 43). 

Sonata in C major 
(Gesellschaft der Musikfreunde in Wien: 23/g IX)
Giga. Allegro

The C-major Sonata has three movements in straightforward binary form. The second movement is a fantasia, almost a recitative that moves from G to E. 

Sonata in G minor 
(Gesellschaft der Musikfreunde in Wien: 43/g IX)

The G-minor Sonata manuscript is almost illegible in some spots. The first two movements are missing tempo markings. The first movement is similar to the Cantabile movement in the cello sonata manuscript housed at the Frank V. de Bellis Collection at the San Francisco State University.

Sonata in C minor
(Staatsbibliothek zu Berlin: 4204)
Capricio. Allegro assai

The C-minor Sonata explores the extremes of the cello range. The repetitive nature of the fast movements allows the musicians to vary dynamics. The Capric[c]io is a perpetual motion. This is the most technically-demanding movement among Costanzi's solo works.

Sonata in F major 
(Alströmer-Samlingen Statens Musiksamlingar Filmnr: 150:18)
Alla Francese

The F-major Sonata is perhaps better described as a work for two equal cellists. The cellos often play the same rhythm or in imitation.

Sonata Da Camera Per Due Violoncelli ad Vso di Corni da Caccia
(Universitetsbibliotek, Uppsala: Gimo 79)
Amoroso - Allegro assai - Amoroso

Like the previous work, the Sonata da camera is for two equal partners and is in the style of Corni da caccia (hunting horns). This sonata may be played in  (but not limited to) the first position in its entirety by both cellists.

We want to thank the Martha Blakeney Hodges Special Collections at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro for putting the manuscripts from the Elizabeth Cowling collection at our disposal for volume 1. The first 4 sonatas in volume 2 were graciously provided by the Frank V. de Bellis Collection at the San Francisco State University. The last 2 sonatas in volume 2 were graciously provided by the Universitäts- und Landesbibliothek Münster.

The sets come with a playable cello-basso score, a separate cello part, and a basso (cello 2 part). All clefs have been updated to bass, tenor, and standard treble clef.

Critical Notes Series: Cello's Six Clefs 

The question is often asked why was so much of Dvořák's music published with cello parts in treble clef down an octave (hereafter “treble 8vb”) instead of a tenor clef. The answer is more complex than one might think. I hope to overview the use of clefs to notate cello music for the last 300 years.

Encyclopedia Brittanica defines a clef as a ​"​symbol placed at the beginning of the staff, determining the pitch of a particular line and thus setting a reference for, or giving a ​'​key​'​ to, all notes of the staff. Three clef symbols are used today: the treble, bass, and C clefs, stylized forms of the letters G, F, and C, respectively.​"​ Simply put, the clef tells the musician or singer which note to play or sing.

Since the cello served mainly as a bass instrument before 1680, the bass clef was used. The bass clef comfortably covers the first four positions of the cello, from C2 to G4. The first five of Bach's 6 Solo Suites (ca. 1720)  are written exclusively in bass clef.

From 1680
However, as early as 1680, we find cello music composed in bass, alto, and tenor clefs. We find this in the Ricercate sopra il violoncello o' clavicembalo by ​Giovanni Battista degli Antonii. It might seem redundant to us for a composer to use alto and tenor clef since they are so close in range but Bach did the same thing with the treble and French treble clefs in his violin music to keep ledger lines to a minimum. In the degli Antonii example below, you can see the use of three clefs on a single line.

degli Antonii, Ricercata No. 3 (Gioseffo Micheletti, 1687)

In Vivaldi's music
Vivaldi had an almost scientific way of using clefs in cello music. He used 3 clefs, bass, tenor, and treble 8vb. If a passage did not go above F4, Vivaldi stayed in bass clef. If a passage went above F4, even just to G4, it would be notated in tenor clef, as long as the music stayed above C3. If the passage went above B4, Vivaldi would switch to treble 8vb clef. Again, it seems redundant since tenor and treble 8vb clefs are so close in range but this was Vivaldi's practice. Below we can see the switch from tenor to treble clef in his RV 413 cello concerto.

Vivaldi, Cello Concerto RV 413, mvt. II (Autograph MS)

After Vivaldi
While C.P.E. Bach used only bass and tenor clefs in his cello concertos, the use of clefs to notate the tenor and soprano ranges of the cello was anything but standard. The cellist Johann Konrad Gretsch used the alto clef in addition to tenor and bass in his C-major cello concerto (ca. 1750-1765). This concerto is very close in style to Haydn's early concertos. Haydn used the soprano clef in addition to tenor and bass in his C-major cello concerto (ca. 1761-1765). Below we can see the switch from tenor to soprano clef in Haydn's C-major concerto.

Haydn, Cello Concerto in C major, mvt. III (MS Copy)

Here is another example of soprano and tenor clefs in a sonata (1764) by Boccherini.

Boccherini, Cello Sonata G. 1, mvt. I (J. Bland, n.d.)

1780s Simplification
The 1780s brought in a simplification of cello clefs down to bass and treble 8vb. This standard was used in much of cello music until ca. 1900. Haydn himself notated his D-major cello concerto (1783) using these clefs. In order to notate the soprano range of the cello, composers added an 8va to the treble 8vb clef. The 8va cancelled out the 8vb. Here is an example of the treble 8vb clef and with an 8va sign from Haydn's D-major concerto.

Haydn, Cello Concerto in D major, mvt. I (Autograph MS)

Bréval's Op. 12 cello sonatas (1783) were published using bass and treble 8vb clef. However, Bréval used tenor clef instead of treble 8vb in his Op. 28 cello sonatas (ca. 1795). His cello duos, Op. 25 went back to using alto, tenor, soprano, and treble (at pitch) clefs in addition to the bass clef (this is 5 clefs in one piece!). 

Bréval, Cello Sonata in C major, Op. 12, No. 1, mvt. I (J. J. Hummel, [1790])

Bréval, Cello Sonata in D major, Op. 28, No. 1, mvt. II (Mme Oricheler, n.d.)

Bréval, Duetto in B-flat major, Op. 25, No. 1, mvt. I (Imbault, [1795])

Post-1800 Bifurcation
After 1800, some composers like Danzi, Weber, Lamarre, et al. continued using bass and treble 8vb clef in their concertante cello music but this system became prevalent in chamber and orchestral music. Concertante works by Romberg, Lee, Servais, et al. embraced the 3-clef system we know today, using bass, tenor, and treble clef at pitch.

Danzi, Cello Concertino in D major, Op. 46, mvt. I (MS Copy)

Romberg, Cello Concerto No. 2, Op. 3, mvt. I (J. André, [1822])

Beethoven's cello sonatas and early string quartets were originally published using bass and treble 8vb clef but his symphonies and late string quartets used bass and tenor clefs. Since most, if not all, of Beethoven's music has been republished using the 3-clef notation, we hardly ever come across his music written with the treble 8vb clef. We can still see the treble 8vb clef in the reprinted scores of chamber music by Breitkopf from Ludwig van Beethovens Werke (1860s-1890s).

Beethoven, String Quartet, Op. 18, No. 1, mvt. I (Mollo, [1801])

Beethoven, Symphony No. 5, Op. 67, mvt. 1 (Richault, n.d.)

Beethoven, Cello Sonata in D major, Op. 102, No. 2, mvt. I (Autograph MS)

Mendelssohn penned his Op. 13 string quartet with the treble 8vb clef, but the rest of his cello parts use tenor clef, perhaps with a rare anomaly. Schubert seems to use tenor clef for his cello parts, Piano Trio in B-flat major, Op. 99 being an anomaly in treble 8vb.

The main places we still see the treble 8vb clef in the standard repertoire are in reprints of chamber and orchestral music by Schumann, Dvořák, and Bruckner. Schumann's chamber works were updated in the late 1800s by C.F. Peters; those editions are trustworthy, even the ones with Grützmacher's name on them. These and other works are being updated by Henle, Bärenreiter, and Universal, but they are not always free of errors. The new editions can get quite expensive as well. 

Schumann, Fünf Stücke im Volkston, Op.102, mvt. I (Autograph MS)

Schumann, Fünf Stücke im Volkston, Op.102, mvt. I (C. Luckhardt, [1851])

Schumann, Fünf Stücke im Volkston, Op.102, mvt. I (C. F. Peters, ed. Grützmacher)

Bruckner, Symphony No. 9 (Alte Gesamtausgabe, Band 9, Musikwissenschaftlicher Verlag, G.m.b.H., 1939)

Dvořák's String Serenade, oddly enough, uses tenor clef in the second movement but treble 8vb in the other four movements. Dvořák's Symphonies Nos. 6 and 7 were published with treble 8vb but the rest of the symphonies use tenor clef. The Slavonic Dances Op. 46, No. 2 and Op. 72, No. 5 use treble 8vb but the others notate high passages in tenor, so there is no consistency in the sets.

Dvořák, String Serenade, Op. 22, mvt. II (Bote & Bock, [1879])

Dvořák, String Serenade, Op. 22, mvt. III (Bote & Bock, [1879])

Dvořák, Slavonic Dances, Op. 46, No. 2 (Simrock, [1878])

Dvořák, Slavonic Dances, Op. 46, No. 3 (Simrock, [1878])

​Associated Chamber Music Players have taken the initiative to convert Dvořák's treble 8vb passages to tenor clef in his chamber music. The “conversion kit” is located here. I've published Dvořák's String Serenade cello part in tenor clef here, correcting many of the errors found in the standard reprints.

There is still room for professional engravers to convert other repertoire that may be difficult to read for cellists who are not used to the treble 8vb clef.

Critical Notes Series: Hunkins's Rhapsody 

Eusebia Hunkins - Rhapsody for Cello and Piano (First Edition)

​Born in Troy, Ohio, Eusebia Simpson Hunkins (1902-1980) studied piano and theory in Dayton until granted a fellowship from the Juilliard Foundation in New York. Her instructors at Juilliard were James Friskin in piano, Rubin Goldmark in theory and composition, and Albert Stoessel in conducting. Hunkins is known widely as a composer of American folk opera. Her husband Maurel Hunkins was Dean of Men and later Director of Public Occasions at Ohio University.

Eusebia Hunkins's family has many musicians, including her cellist/composer son Arthur, daughter Nancy (violinist), brother-in-law Sterling Hunkins (cellist), niece Nella Hunkins (cellist), niece Adrienne Elisha (violinist/composer), granddaughter Sarah Taylor (violinist), and others.

Hunkins's output included mainly piano, choral, and vocal works, as well as operas. According to her cataloger Alexandra Taliani, Hunkins only has 3 instrumental works, one for winds, one for string quintet, and finally the Rhapsody for cello and piano.

The 7-minute Rhapsody, composed in 1949, is a one-movement work in 5 parts. The outer parts are recitatives composed of open and extended harmonies. The second section is a lilting sicilienne with a bit of Irish flair. This section is diatonic with the theme repeating in A major and D major. The third section is a playful scherzo in B Dorian. The placid fourth section is in D major and switches between meters, with an undulating piano accompaniment.

Hunkins gives an option of playing a few phrases with artificial harmonics. If this option is taken, we recommend playing harmonics with the sounding pitch one octave above what is written. 

The Rhapsody was performed at Ohio University with Maurel Hunkins's orchestration. Arthur Hunkins recalls this performance with the Ohio University Symphony, directed by Dr. Karl Ahrendt, director of the Music Dept., with Janet Stewart (Marshall), cello teacher at OU, as the soloist. The materials for the orchestration have not been found to date. No other performances of the Rhapsody are known.

We would like to thank Arthur Hunkins and Sarah Taylor for kindly providing permission to publish the Rhapsody as well as the archives at Ohio University and the University of North Carolina at Greensboro for providing the sources for our first edition. The Rhapsody sources include an autograph piano score and cello part. The cello part and the cello line in the score have minor differences, mainly with regard to articulation marks and dynamics. A couple of pitches have been displaced by an octave.

Bach's Seventh Suite 

J.S. Bach composed the iconic 6 Suites for unaccompanied cello in ca. 1720. However, cellists have been borrowing Bach's solo violin and flute works to expand their baroque repertoire. In 1988, the cellist from the San Francisco Opera, David Kadarauch, transcribed 6 movements from assorted keyboard works by Bach and combined them into a work for solo cello called "The Seventh Suite." The contents are as follows:

Prelude - Partita, BWV 829
Allemande - Partita, BWV 825
Courante - Partita, BWV 828
Sarabande - English Suite, BWV 806
Minuets I and II - Partita, BWV 825 
Gigue - Partita, BWV 828

All but one of these movements have been transposed to G major; only the Prelude is originally in this key. In the preface of the now obscure Agogic edition, Kadarauch states that his "aim has been to follow the form and the spirit of the original six suites as much as possible, and not to exceed their technical demands." Indeed, "The Seventh Suite" does not reach beyond the technical demands of the third suite. The preface also promises an "Eighth Suite" to be published in the summer of 1988, which does not seem to have been realized.

The published suite is an attractive work overall, while the Courante leaves a bit to be desired from the standpoint of conversion to the cello medium. The score was prepared by the Japanese-American bassist Shinji Eshima on the now-obsolete Professional Composer software. The engraving contains all of the peculiarities of that software without attempting to look like a polished, publication-ready product. Slurs and ties look hand-drawn. I believe that this work could have some success with a proper "facelift."

Currently, the only copy I could find in the United States is housed at the Juilliard music library. Strings Magazine featured an article about this work in the late-1990s with a reengraved Minuet movement. Apart from these, hardly anyone is aware of this transcription. I hope that my article brings attention to this work and the name of David Kadarauch.

Building a Cello Music Library 

Last year, I put together a comprehensive edition guide to the standard cello repertoire. I would like to offer a smaller guide on where to start with a basic cello music library. If I were to narrow down the options, where would I recommend that you begin? This is a "desert island" list for standard cello repertoire.

While this is a difficult task, I hope to keep the options down to just one edition per piece. The list may look different from other cellists/teachers. Some of my choices may surprise you.



Duport - 21 Studies (Schirmer)
Franchomme - 12 Caprices, Op. 7 (YL Edition)
Lee - 40 Etudes (YL Edition)
Piatti - 12 Caprices, Op. 25 (Simrock/IMSLP)
Popper - High School of Cello Playing, Op. 73 (Paladino)
Servais - 6 Caprices, Op. 11 (YL Edition)
Ševčík - 40 Variations, Op. 3 (Bosworth/IMSLP arr. Feuillard)


Unaccompanied Cello

Bach, J.S. - 6 Suites, BWV 1007-1012 (YL Edition)
Britten - 3 Suites (Faber)
Cassadó - Suite (Universal/IMSLP)
Hindemith - Sonata, Op. 25, No. 3 (Schott/IMSLP)
Kodaly -Sonata, Op. 8 (Universal/IMSLP)



Bach, J.S. - 3 Gamba Sonatas, BWV 1027-1029 (Henle)
Barber - Sonata, Op. 6 (Schirmer)
Beethoven - 5 Sonatas (Henle, preferably ed. Navarra)
Brahms - Sonata No. 1, Op. 38 (Henle)
Brahms - Sonata No. 2, Op. 99 (Wiener Urtext)
Bréval - Sonatas Opp. 12, 28, 40 (Artistic Score Engraving)
Britten - Sonata, Op. 65 (Boosey)
Chopin - Sonata, Op. 65 (Breitkopf/IMSLP)
Debussy - Sonata (Durand/IMSLP)
Fauré - Sonata No. 1, Op. 109 (Durand/IMSLP)
Fauré - Sonata No. 2, Op. 117 (Durand/IMSLP)
Franck - Sonata (Internation Music Company)
Grieg - Sonata, Op. 36 (Peters/IMSLP, plate no. 10482)
Kabalevsky - Sonata, Op. 71 (International Music Company)
Mendelssohn - Sonata No. 1, Op. 45 (Breitkopf/IMSLP, ed. Rietz)
Mendelssohn - Sonata No. 2, Op. 58 (Pohle/IMSLP)
Prokofiev - Sonata, Op. 119 (International Music Company)
Rachmaninov - Sonata, Op. 19 (YL Edition with Gutheil/IMSLP piano part)
Romberg - 3 Sonatas, Op. 43 (YL Edition)
Romberg - 3 Trios (Sonatas) Op. 38 (YL Edition)
Saint-Saëns - Sonata No. 1, Op. 32 (Durand/IMSLP)
Saint-Saëns - Sonata No. 2, Op. 123 (Durand/IMSLP)
Schubert - Sonata "Arpeggione" (YL Edition with Bärenreiter piano part)
Shostakovich - Sonata, Op. 40 (International Music Company with my critical commentary)
Strauss - Sonata, Op. 6 (Aibl/IMSLP)
Vivaldi - 9 Sonatas (Artistic Music Engraving)


Concertos (with piano reduction)

Barber - Concerto, Op. 22 (Schirmer with my critical commentary)
Bloch - Schelomo (YL Edition with Schirmer/IMSLP piano part)
Dvořák - Concerto, Op. 104 (Bärenreiter with my comparative score)
Elgar - Concerto, Op. 85 (Novello/IMSLP)
Goltermann - Concerto No. 4 (Artistic Music Engraving)
Haydn - Concerto in C (unedited - YL Edition, edited - Henle)
Haydn - Concerto in D (unedited - YL Edition, edited - Peters, ed. Storck)
Kabalevsky - Concerto No. 1, Op. 49 (International Music Company)
Klengel - Concertino No. 1 (YL Edition with Breitkopf/IMSLP piano part)
Lalo - Concerto (Peters/IMSLP, ed. Klengel)
Prokofiev - Sinfonia Concertante, Op. 125 (Boosey with my critical commentary)
Saint-Saëns - Concerto No. 1, Op. 33 (Durand/IMSLP)
Saint-Saëns - Concerto No. 2, Op. 33 (YL Edition)
Schumann - Concerto, Op. 129 (YL Edition with Breitkopf/IMSLP piano part)
Shostakovich - Concerto No. 1, Op. 107 (International Music Company)
Shostakovich - Concerto No. 2, Op. 126 (International Music Company)
Tchaikovsky - Rococo Variations, Op. 33 (YL Edition)


Short pieces

Beethoven - Variations (Henle)
Bloch - From Jewish Life (YL Edition)
Bruch - Kol Nidrei (Schirmer/IMSLP)
Cassadó - Toccata, formerly attributed to Frescobaldi (YL Edition)
Davydov - At the Fountain (YL Edition)
Dvořák - Silent Woods and Rondo (Wiener Urtext)
Falla - Suite Populaire Espagnole (Eschig/IMSLP, arr. Maréchal)
Fauré - Elegie, Sicilienne, Papillon, Romance (Peters anthology)
Glazunov - Chant du ménestrel (YL Edition)
Janáček - Pohádka (Supraphon/IMSLP)
Popper - Elfentanz, Op. 39 (YL Edition)
Popper - Hungarian Rhapsody, Op. 68 (YL Edition)
Popper - Im Walde, Op. 50 (YL Edition)
Popper - Tarantella, Op. 33 (YL Edition)
Saint-Saëns - Allegro Appassionato (YL Edition)
Saint-Saëns - The Swan (YL Edition)
Schumann - Fantasiestücke, Op. 73 (Pohle/IMSLP, ed. Davydov)
Schumann - Fünf Stücke im Volkston (International Music Company/Pohle, ed. Davydov)
Stravinsky - Suite Italienne (Boosey with my critical commentary)
Tchaikovsky - Pezzo Capriccioso (YL Edition)

Critical Notes Series: Rossini's William Tell Overture 

Rossini's overtures are arguably some of the audiences' favorite concert openers. But for the orchestra conductor and especially the librarian the task of obtaining the parts is not as straightforward as it might seem. If you look at catalogs, you will quickly find that some of Rossini's overtures exist in Italian and German versions. What is the difference? The difference in the Barber of Seville is not as slight as the number of pick-up notes in the main theme. In the late 1800s, the music publisher Breitkopf & Hartel produced several editions of Rossini's overtures that matched the German taste at the time. If your orchestra library owns one of the original Breitkopf publications, you might have noticed that the composer is "J. Rossini" instead of "G. Rossini."

Many orchestras have gone back to Rossini's original orchestrations in Barber of Seville and Thieving Magpie overtures, but William Tell is still most often being performed from the late-1800s German orchestration. 

The earliest publication of the opera William Tell was published by the French firm E. Troupenas in 1829, being Rossini's only grand opera. This would make Rossini's intentions best reflected in the French version, not the German. While there is an Italian (Ricordi) version of the overture, there are still some differences between that and the French (Troupenas) version.

Because the William Overture is one of the "bread and butter" cello excerpts, I decided to produce an edition of the cello/bass part based on the Troupenas edition. I inserted the rehearsal letters from the Breitkopf edition so it could still be played with other parts from that set.

Some things are immediately noticeable in the French (Urtext) version: in m. 8, the first note of cello 2 is an F#, not a D#. In the same measure, cello 5 plays A-G, not F#-E. These are not mistakes. The same notes are found in the vocal score published by Schott in the same year. The next difference is that the pizzicato is distributed between the tutti cellos and basses, not two solo basses. The cello 1 part does not have all of the editorial articulations and slurs; everything is kept simple. The final note of the cello 1 solo goes back to E5 in m. 48, instead of staying on E6. Overall, the dynamics are used sparingly in the introduction (mm. 1-47).

The second section, the stormy Allegro, is originally in 4/4 time instead of 2/2. The last difference in the cello/bass part I would like to point out is the fortissimo in the bass part in m. 154, instead of the piano in the German version. The fortissimo makes sense as the final crash of thunder.

I am offering the cello/bass part free of charge so orchestras could have the opportunity to try out Rossini's original intentions.

Critical Notes Series: Vivaldi's Cello Sonatas 

Introducing the new edition of Vivaldi's 9 Cello Sonatas, published by Artistic Score Engraving.

Antonio Vivaldi (1678 – 1741) was a prolific composer, someone many composers, including J.S. Bach, looked up to. Vivaldi composed for practically every instrument available during his lifetime. In this aspect, he passed on the torch to Paul Hindemith. One would be hard-pressed to name many other composers who accomplished this. 

Vivaldi was quite generous with cellists, gifting them no fewer than twenty-five solo concertos[1], ten solo sonatas[2], a concerto for two cellos, three with violin, and many other concertos grosso where the cello plays a concertante role. 


The Sonatas 

In the twentieth century, six of Vivaldi’s cello sonatas gained popularity as pedagogical works. Several twentieth-century composers orchestrated these sonatas to be performed as concertos. Ironically, cellists who played the orchestrated sonatas did not play the original concertos. The famous orchestrators include Vincent D’Indy (complete), Luigi Dallapiccola (complete), Gaspar Cassadó (RV 40), Paul Bazelaire (RV 40), and others. 

A typical, twentieth-century keyboard realization had the style of Romantic-era piano writing, which was thick and rich almost the entire time. This kind of keyboard realization continued into the 1970s with the Ariston edition of the three sonatas (RV 44, 39, 42). However, when the Ricordi edition published the complete edition of Vivaldi’s works, Gian Francesco Malipiero and Fritz Zobeley were much lighter on the realization. 

All nine of Vivaldi’s surviving cello sonatas are in the sonata da camera (chamber sonata) genre, meaning that the sonatas consist of dance movements, although, for the most part, unmarked. While Vivaldi does not use dance titles in most of the cello sonatas, we can surmise which dances he had in mind, comparing the style in this set to his Manchester Sonatas and other sonatas for violin. 

Allemanda: 41, II; 43, II; 40, II; 46, II; 44, II; 39, II; 42, II 
Corrente: 47, II; 41, IV; 45 IV; 46, IV 
Sarabanda: 47, III, 43, III; 44, III; 39, III; 42, III 
Giga: 40, IV; 42, IV 
Gavotta: 47, IV; 43, IV; 45, II; 44, IV, 39, IV 
Siciliana: 40, III 

As with the Manchester Sonatas, each cello sonata could open with a “Preludio” movement. Vivaldi uses an imitative, sonata-da-chiesa (church sonata) style for the third movement of RV 46. The third movements of RV 41 and 45 are not stylized after dances. 

It is noteworthy that three of the nine cello sonatas are in the key of B-flat major (RV 45-47), a key that Vivaldi used for only one cello concerto (RV423), not the most common key for cello music. Two of the sonatas are in A minor (RV 43 and 44), the key he used five times in his cello concertos. The other sonatas are in E-flat major, E minor, F major, and G minor. 

Some of the cello sonatas share thematic material with other works by Vivaldi and Carlo Marino: 

RV 47, II – Violin Sonata in E minor, RV. 17a, Corrente 
RV 41, IV – Violin Sonata in F major, RV 20 (Op. 2, No. 4), Corrente 
RV 41, III – Violin Sonata in C minor, RV 5, I 
RV 45 II – Cello Concerto in A minor, RV 421, II 
RV 40, I – Cello Concerto in C minor, RV 401, I; Violin Concerto in C major, RV 189, II; likely ultimately borrowed from Carlo Marino’s Violin Sonata in A major, Op. 8, No. 6 
RV 40, II – Violin Sonata in C minor, RV 5a, Allemanda 
RV 46, IV – Violin Sonata in D minor, RV 15, Corrente 
RV 44, IV – Concerto for Strings in C minor, RV 120, I 
RV 42, IV – Violin Sonata in E-flat major, RV 756, IV 


Pedagogical value

As stated before, Vivaldi’s cello sonatas have been enjoying a spot in the young cellists’ repertoire for over a hundred years. These works contain similar features to Bach’s Cello Suites: simple forms, attractive melodies, the stylistic variety between the sonatas, challenging string crossings, and range limited to the first four positions with few exceptions.  

Vivaldi mainly used the tenor range of the cello. The cello part in all the sources uses a mix of bass and tenor clef. Vivaldi tended to use tenor clef in passages where the music went above F4. Our edition gives preference to the bass clef in several passages where the tenor clef was originally used. The use of the C string is not as prevalent as in Bach’s Suites. Most of the occurrences of C-string usage are found around cadences. 

I would like to suggest the following order in which to learn Vivaldi’s sonatas. While the opinion of the progression may differ, my recommendation is to view each sonata as a whole work. 

RV 40: II, III, I, IV
RV 41: I, III, IV, III 
RV 43: I, III, II, IV 
RV 42: IV, III, I, II 
RV 47: I, IV, III, II 
RV 45: I, IV, III, II 
RV 44: I, III, II, IV 
RV 46: I, II, III, IV 
RV 39: I, III, IV, II 


The Sources 

Nine solo cello sonatas are currently available in five manuscripts and one printed source. According to Peter Ryom, the eminent cataloger of Vivaldi’s music in the Ryom Verzeichnis (RV), one manuscript source is partly in Vivaldi’s hand. This source includes sonatas RV 47, 44, and 39, and is currently housed at the Biblioteca del Conservatorio S. Pietro a Maiella in Naples under shelf marks 11188 – 11190. The second source is located in Paris at the Bibliothèque Nationale. This source contains a copy of the six sonatas in the order most cellists know them (RV 47, 41, 43, 45, 40, 46) cataloged under Vm7 6310. The third source is housed in Wiesentheid at the Graf von Schönborn’sche Musikbibliothek, containing sonatas RV 46 and 42, catalogued under 782 and 783. The Graf von Schönborn’sche Musikbibliothek also contains sonata RV 44 under the number 532. While it is difficult to identify the year of composition for these works, the Vivaldi scholar Bettina Hoffmann places the composition around the 1720s.[3] 

Ca. 1740, the French firm Le Clerc published Vivaldi’s six sonatas (RV 47, 41, 43, 45, 40, 46), likely without Vivaldi’s blessing. This publication included new figured bass[4], slurs, articulations, and several recomposed passages. Le Clerc may be viewed as a performance edition for the French audience. As recently as 1988, the Grancino Edition used Le Clerc as the main source for their critical edition. Ricordi (ed. Malipiero) used Le Clerc as the main source. Bärenreiter and Wiener Urtext use the manuscript sources rather than Le Clerc, however, they borrow certain aspects of the ca. 1740 printing. 

Our edition does not use Le Clerc as a source, because we do not believe that it includes Vivaldi’s wishes. The order of the sonatas in our edition will follow the common order: RV 47, 41, 43, 45, 40, 46, 44, 39, 42. 


1) Unmarked Critical Edition - The main, unmarked text is based solely on the following sources: Naples for RV 47, 44, 39, Paris for RV 41, 43, 45, 40, 46, and Wiesentheid for RV42. Changes to the text have been footnoted. The repeat signs at the end of the non-binary movements have been removed.

2) Marked Critical edition with Keyboard - Fingerings, bowings, and the keyboard realization of the basso continuo have been prepared by the editor. 

3) Unmarked Secondary Source Edition (RV 47, 46, 44 only) - scores based solely on secondary sources: Paris for RV 47 and Wiesentheid for RV 46 and 44.

4) Bundled Marked and Unmarked editions - 1) and 2) together



[1] RV 398 – 424. Many of these concertos have only basso continuo accompaniments in the slow movements. RV 404 and 415 are considered spurious by today’s scholars. RV 787 and 788 are incomplete. The slow movement of the RV 538 concerto for two horns has a cello solo with basso continuo accompaniment in the second movement. 

[2] RV 38 – 47. RV 38, in D minor, is now lost. 

[3] Antonio Vivaldi, Complete Sonatas for Violoncello and Basso Continuo, ed. Bettina Hoffmann, Bärenreiter (Kassel, 2003), VIII–XI. 

[4] Vivaldi does not use figured bass, but three times in RV 45, when the solo cello plays below the bass.