Musings

Critical Notes Series: Servais's Barber of Seville Fantasia 

Opera fantasias were a way of life for musicians of the Romantic era. They grew out of the potpourri and variation genres of the late 1700s. Opera fantasias could be as simple as a medley of short themes, as with Vasa Laub's potpourris, or as intricate as Tchaikovsky's Romeo & Juliet and Hamlet Overture-Fantasias. Technically, many opera overtures from the Romantic era are also fantasias, as they use and develop themes from the opera that follows, as in the case of Glinka's Ruslan & Ludmila and Verdi's Nabucco. 

Most of the fantasias that come down to us as standard repertoire lie somewhere in the middle. To avoid the simplicity of a medley, some composers added flashy, virtuosic aspects, like in Sarasate's Zigeunerweisen and Carmen Fantaisie, and Wieniawski's Faust. As a side note, pieces like Hungarian rhapsodies also belong to the fantasia genre, but they use a different style of music as their source. Some opera fantasias take the variation form, where they have an introduction, a set of variations on a single theme, and a coda. This is the case with Paganini's I Palpiti (based on Rossini's I Tancredi) and Variations on One Strings (based on the Preghiera from Rossini's Moses in Egypt). These variations get quite virtuosic with arpeggios, harmonics, and complex bow techniques.

Some composers joined forces to compose a fantasia. For example, Chopin and Franchomme composed the Grand Duo Concertant, based on Meyerbeer's Robert le Diable. Leonard and Servais composed the Grand Duo de Concert, based on God Save the King and Yankee Doodle. In the case of Chopin and Franchomme, the sections composed by the respective person is painfully obvious; the instruments go on playing their respective melodies for too long.

Servais was one of the more imaginative fantasia composers. His Fantaisie sur deux Airs Russes, Op. 13 (published 1854, composed earlier) uses the double variation form, meaning that the first theme gets its own set of variations, followed by a second theme that receives the same treatment, followed by a coda. Wieniawski wrote his Airs Russes, Op. 6, using one of the same melodies (Red Sarafan) as Servais.

One of the most interesting of Servais's fantasias is the Grande Fantaisie sur des motifs de l'Opéra le Barbier de Séville de Rossini, Op. 6. This fantasia is in 4 parts, resembling a mini sonata. As the title states, it uses Rossini's themes from the Barber of Seville. The opening theme, in B-flat major, is a fragmentation of the "buona sera" motif, which Servais expands into a lively polonaise. This polonaise is then interrupted by a B-flat minor theme borrowed from the Finale of Act 1:

The "polonaise" resumes and moves toward a transition to section 2, which is also borrowed from the Finale of Act 1.

Section 2 is a set of two variations on "Buona sera" from Act 2.


Variation 1 explores the up-bow staccato technique and trill patterns. Variation 2 is a march, continuing to use up-bow staccato, but now with double-stops. 

Section 3 is based on the Count's aria "Ecco, ridente il cielo" from Act 1. The cello first takes the virtuosic part of the winds, and then continues with the Count's Cavatina. Although the tempo never changes in the fantasia, a portion of the cabaletta "oh, Sorte," is also quoted.

A short cadenza leads to the Finale, based on "Bricconi, birbanti" from Act 2, followed by "La testa vi gira."

The Coda features the famous "Rossini crescendo" as the cello repeats a short octave passage.

Critical Notes Series: Servais's 6 Caprices 

Say the word "caprice," and our minds immediately go to Paganini and Piatti. However, other composers also wrote caprices as studies, among them François Servais (1807-66). Servais was a Belgian cello virtuoso and composer. As was typical of the Romanic Era composers, the bulk of his output included opera fantasies and variations on popular themes. Our new edition of Servais's 6 Caprices is based on the two first editions, Richault (French) and Schott (German), graciously provided by the Servais Society, faithfully combined into a beautiful, newly engraved, critical edition. Our edition is the first to include a score of the two cello parts. All the textual variants between the two first editions are noted in the footnotes. Our edition also comes with separate parts, which include Servais's original fingerings. 

Servais brings different styles of playing to each Caprice. Caprice No. 1 explores legato arpeggios in ABAB form. The arpeggios are within an octave spread, many of them fully diminished seventh harmonies. The B section is called "Chansonnette Flamande" (Little Flemish Song). This song recalls "The Itsy-Bitsy Spider," a children's song sung in English-speaking countries. Caprice No. 2 is a perpetual motion in rondo form, exploring the spiccato bow stroke. Caprice No. 3 explores legato string crossings between two adjacent strings. Caprice No. 4 is a da capo aria with a bit of a Spanish flair and hurdy-gurdy type of accompaniment. The transition back to the A section is a recitativo secco. Caprice No. 5 is a slow-tempo study in double stops and trills. Caprice No. 6 is another legato arpeggio study, now exploring octaves, tenths, and twelfths. 

Note on slurring: Occasionally, Servais writes a slur over two notes of the same pitch, as in m. 1 of Caprice No. 1. Those two notes should have a slight separation between them. 

Other times, Servais writes a slur over two notes that are tied. The tied notes should be played as a single note, with no separation, as in mm. 37 and 39 of Caprice No. 1. 

Special thank you to Peter François (President of the Servais Society) for offering his expertise.

Editions of Standard Cello Repertoire 

Welcome to my comprehensive list of editions for the standard cello repertoire. I hope that you find this list helpful when choosing the right piece for yourself or your student. Each work includes a grade level 1 through 6 (based on the ASTA syllabus recommendations), where 1 is beginner and 6 is very advanced. Grade 2 is around Suzuki book-4 level. Grade 3 is around Suzuki book 5-6 level, as so on. Each work also includes currently available editions and my recommendations. If you would like to suggest a work for this list, I would be happy to consider it. You may also read my detailed reviews of major publishers here.

A note of caution: Piano parts in sonatas that say "for Piano and Cello" or "for Cello and Piano" are all Grade 6 for the pianist. These are not "accompaniments." It can take the pianist 6-12 months to learn these sonatas properly. Baroque piano reductions and basso continuo realizations are typically Grades 2-3 for the pianist; classical and romantic piano reductions are Grades 4-5; 20th and 21st century piano reductions are Grades 5-6. Bach's Gamba sonatas are Grades 4-5 for the harpsichord/piano. Please plan accordingly!

Alkan
Sonate de concert for Piano and Cello, Op. 47
Grade 5
Urtext/Critical Edition(s): Barenreiter
Non-performance Edition(s): Gerard Billaudot Editeur, LudwigMasters Publications
Note: Barenreiter is the best choice for this piece. Unfortunately, it's currently out of print. There is a copy on IMSLP; check if it's in the public domain in your country. Gerard Billaudot is way too expensive for what it is; I don't think this piece is worth the $70 asking price. LudwigMasters is badly engraved.

Bach, C.P.E.
Concerto in A major, H. 439
Grade 5
​Performance Edition(s): Eulenburg/Kunzelmann, YL Edition
Urtext/Critical Edition(s): cpebach.org, Eulenburg/Kunzelmann, YL Edition
Arrangements: IMC (Cassado, in F major), Salabert (Pollain)
Note: You may learn more about my edition from this article. Avoid getting the Kunzelmann edition. It has mistakes and bad page-turns in the solo part. Cpebach.org is of better quality but also has bad page-turns in the solo part.

Bach, J.S.
3 Gamba Sonatas
Grade 5 
​Performance Edition(s): Breitkopf (Klengel), Henle, Peters (Grützmacher), IMC (Klengel)
Urtext/Critical Edition(s): Barenreiter, Henle

Bach, J.S. 
6 Suites, BWV 1007-1012
Grade 3 (no. 1), 4 (nos. 2-3), 5 (nos. 4-5), 6 (no. 6)
​Performance Edition(s): Barenreiter (Wenzinger), Henle (Ginzel), Peer Music (Starker)
Urtext/Critical Edition(s): Henle (based on AMB), YL Edition (based on Kellner and Westphal), Wiener Urtext (based on Westphal and Traeg)
Note: Because of a large number of Bach Suite editions, I am only listing the ones I would recommend. I do not recommend the new Barenreiter (Talle) edition.

Barber
Sonata for Cello and Piano, Op. 6
Grade 5 
First Edition (non-performance): Schirmer
Note: This edition lacks a few dynamic markings which disciples of Orlando Cole have penciled into their parts.

Barber
Concerto, Op. 22
Grade 6 
​Performance Edition(s): Schirmer (Garbousova)
Urtext/Critical Edition(s): YL Edition
Note: Here is an article I wrote about a few confusing passages.

Beethoven
5 Sonatas for Piano and Cello, Opp. 5, 69, and 102
Grades 4 (nos. 1-2) and 5 (nos. 3-5)
​Performance Edition(s): Henle (Geringas),IMC (Fournier), Schirmer (Starker), Peters (Schulz)
Urtext/Critical Edition(s): Barenreiter, Henle

Beethoven
Variations for Piano and Cello, Op. 66, WoO 45 and 46
Grades 4 (WoO 45 and 46) and 5 (Op. 66)
​Performance Edition(s): Henle (Geringas), Schirmer (Starker), Peters (Stutschewsky)
Urtext/Critical Edition(s): Barenreiter, Henle

Berteau
6 Sonatas (for Cello and Basso Continuo)
Grade 5 
​Performance Edition(s): Grancino (under Martino), IMC (Rose, only G major), Ricordi (Salmon, under Sammartini)
First Edition: Richomme
Note: The G major sonata has been erroneously published under the name Sammartini. These sonatas can be played by 2 cellos (last one by 3 cellos)

Bloch
Jewish Life (3 pieces for Cello and Piano)
Grade 4 
First Edition: Carl Fischer
Note: Currently available as part of a collection with other works for cello and piano by Bloch.

Bloch
Schelomo
Grade 6 
​Performance Edition(s):  YL Edition
Urtext/Critical Edition(s): YL Edition
First Edition: Schirmer
Note: The Schirmer cello solo part is full of mistakes. Here is an article about the YL Edition Urtext edition. See my website store to purchase the Urtext Edition (marked and unmarked).

Boccherini 
Concerto No. 1, G. 477
Grade 5  
Non-​performance Edition(s): Ricordi/Zanibon and Schott​​
Note: Parts of the first and third movements were used by Grützmacher in his Concerto in B-flat major based on Boccherini's themes.

Boccherini
Concerto No. 2, G. 479
Grade 5 
Non-​performance Edition(s): Ricordi/Zanibon and Schott​​
Note: There are still 2 editions floating around in libraries that should be avoided: Muzyka (Aslamazyan) and Ricordi (Respighi). These editions are highly edited, recomposed, and reorchestrated.

Boccherini
Concerto No. 3, G. 480
Grade 5
​Performance Edition(s): Edition Delrieu (Gendron)
Non-​performance Edition(s): Ricordi/Zanibon and Schott
Note: The second movement was used by Grützmacher in his Concerto in B-flat major based on Boccherini's themes.

Boccherini  
Concerto No. 9, G. 482
Grade 6
Performance Edition(s): Édition Delrieu (Gendron)
Urtext/Critical Edition(s): Reinhardt (Sturzenegger)
Non-​performance Edition(s): Ricordi/Zanibon
Note: Parts of the first and third movements were used by Grützmacher in his Concerto in B-flat major based on Boccherini's themes.

Boccherini
Cello Sonatas (for Cello and Basso Continuo)
Grades 5-6
​Performance Edition(s): Ricordi (Paternoster, 19 sonatas) Ricordi (Piatti, 6 sonatas), Zanibon (Pais, complete)
Urtext/Critical Edition(s): Ricordi (Paternoster), Zanibon (Pais)
Note: I do not recommend the Wakelkamp edition because of the extremely high price and poor engraving quality. 

Brahms
Sonata No. 1 for Piano and Cello, Op. 38
Grade 4 
​Performance Edition(s): Henle (Kanngiesser), IMC (Rose), Peters (Klengel), Wiener Urtext (Boettcher)
Urtext/Critical Edition(s): Barenreiter, Breitkopf (Hans Gal,reprinted by Dover), Henle, Wiener Urtext

Brahms
Sonata No. 2 for Piano and Cello, Op. 99
Grade 6 
​Performance Edition(s): Henle (Kanngiesser), IMC (Rose), Peters (Klengel), Wiener Urtext (Boettcher) 
Urtext/Critical Edition(s): Barenreiter, Breitkopf (Hans Gal,reprinted by Dover), Henle, Wiener Urtext

Breval
6 Sonatas, Op. 40 (for 2 Cellos)
Grade 2 
​Performance Edition(s): Artistic Score Engraving (Leonovich), Henle (Klein, no. 1 only)
Urtext/Critical Edition(s): Artistic Score Engraving, Güntersberg
Note: These sonatas should be played by 2 cellos, not with piano accompaniment. Some of these sonatas were arranged into "concertos" and "concertinos" by Feuillard, published by Delrieu. These Feuillard arrangements do not contain any music from Breval's own concertos.

Breval
Sonatas Op. 28 (for 2 Cellos)
Grade 4 
​Performance Edition(s): Artistic Score Engraving (Leonovich)
Urtext/Critical Edition(s): Artistic Score Engraving
Note: These sonatas should be played by 2 cellos, not with piano accompaniment. Some of these sonatas were arranged into "concertos" and "concertinos" by Feuillard, published by Delrieu. These Feuillard arrangements do not contain any music from Breval's own concertos.

Breval
Sonatas Op. 12 (for 2 Cellos)
Grade 5 
​Performance Edition(s): Artistic Score Engraving (Leonovich, in preparation), IMC (Cassado, no. 5 only), Schott (Cahnbley, no.5 only)
Urtext/Critical Edition(s): Artistic Score Engraving (in preparation)
Note: These sonatas should be played by 2 cellos, not with piano accompaniment. Op. 12/6 slow movement was arranged by Feuillard into the slow movement of "Concerto No.2," published by Delrieu. This Feuillard arrangement does not contain any music from Breval's own concertos.

Britten
3 Suites for Solo Cello, Opp. 72, 80, and 87
Grade 6 
​Performance Edition(s): Faber (Rostropovich)

Bruch
Kol Nidrei, Op. 47
Grade 4 
​Performance Edition(s): Carl Fischer (part of the Contest Album), Henle (Poltéra), IMC (Rose)
Urtext/Critical Edition(s): Henle

Casadesus
Viola Concerto in C minor (formerly attributed to J.C. Bach)
Grade 5
​Performance Edition(s): Salabert (arr. Marechal)
Note: This kind of work is called a "musical hoax" in the scholarly community. It was composed by a 20th-century violist for viola in a neo-romantic style. There are 2 Salabert editions, which are different only with regards to typesetting. If you do teach this piece, avoid the new, engraving-software-looking edition that's currently available from Shar and other music retailers.

Cassado
Requiebros
Grade 5
​Performance Edition(s): Schott (Cassado)

Cassado 
Toccata (formerly attributed to Frescobaldi)
Grade 5 
​Performance Edition(s): Universal (Cassado)
Note: This kind of work is called a "musical hoax" in the scholarly community.

Cassado
Suite for Solo Cello
Grade 5
​Performance Edition(s): Universal (Cassado)

Chopin
Sonata for Piano and Cello, Op. 65
Grade 5 
​Performance Edition(s): Henle (Kanngiesser), IMC (Fournier), Peters (Grützmacher), Polskie Wydawnictwo Muzyczne
Urtext/Critical Edition(s): Henle, Polskie Wydawnictwo Muzyczne

Chopin
Introduction and Polonaise Brillante for Piano and Cello, Op. 3
Grades vary by edition/arrangement
​Performance Edition(s): Henle (Kanngiesser, Grade 4), IMC (arr. Rose, Grade 6), Peters (Grützmacher, Grade 4), Polskie Wydawnictwo Muzyczne, Schirmer (arr. Graudan, Grade 6), Schott (arr. Gendron-Francaix, Grade 6)
Urtext/Critical Edition(s): Henle (Original, Grade 4), Polskie Wydawnictwo Muzyczne (Original, Grade 4)
Note: Avoid the Kunzelmann (arr. Mifune) edition.

Dall'Abaco
11 Caprices for Solo Cello
Grades 4-5
Urtext/Critical Edition(s): Hamrefors (on IMSLP), YL Edition, White Prince Edition
Note: I do not recommend the Musedita edition of this work because of its very poor quality.

Davydov
Romance sans paroles
Grade 3 
​Performance Edition(s): Muzyka, Schott

Davydov
At the Fountain
Grade 5 
​Performance Edition(s): IMC (Rose)

Debussy
Sonata for Cello and Piano
Grade 5
​Performance Edition(s): Henle (Ginzel)
Urtext/Critical Edition(s): Henle
Note: I cannot recommend the Barenreiter edition because it is poorly engraved.

Dotzauer-Klingenberg
113 Studies
Grades 1-5 (progressive)
​Performance Edition(s): Carl Fischer (1-62 only), IMC, Schirmer
Note: The 113 Studies is a 4 volume set compiled and edited by Klingenberg. They do not reflect Dotzauer's original marking, fingerings, or dynamics. Dotzauer composed upwards of 200 solo cello etudes, which I recommend exploring in the context of their respective Op. numbers, starting with Op. 120.

Duport
21 Studies (Essai sur le doigté du violoncelle)
Grades 3-6
​Performance Edition(s): Henle (Schmidt), Schirmer (Schulz)
Note: These etudes are the most beneficial when played with the second cello part (by the teacher). Avoid getting the Barenreiter (Rummel), Litolff (Klingenberg), and Peters (Grützmacher) edition as they depart from Duport's musical text and markings.

Dvorak 
Concerto, Op. 104
Grade 6  
​Performance Edition(s): Breitkopf (Schiff), IMC (Rose), Schirmer (Starker)
Urtext/Critical Edition(s): Barenreiter, Breitkopf, Henle (in preparation)
Note: Because there are dozens of editions of this work, I am only including the editions I would recommend. Avoid the currently available Simrock edition (and Kalmus reprint). Also, something to keep in mind is that there are textual variants between Dvorak's personal orchestra score and the autograph of his own piano reductions. Every publisher except Barenreiter publishes all the variants of the piano reduction in their piano reductions, which has led to some confusion about notes. Barenreiter follows the orchestral score to change all the variants into what the orchestra score has, which is great. But Barenreiter is also adamant about changing the B in the finale, m. 39, beat 2, LH, bass voice (Bassoon 2) to an F# to match all the other occurrences of this passage in the movement. I disagree with them on this, because all of the sources unequivocally have a B.

Dvorak 
Rondo, Op. 94
Grade 5  
​Performance Edition(s): Henle (Ginzel), IMC (Rose) Wiener Urtext (Rivinius) 
Urtext/Critical Edition(s): Henle, Wiener Urtext 
Note: Wiener Urtext is the best deal because this work is part of a Dvorak collection with 3 other pieces.

​​​​Dvorak
Silent Woods, Op. 68, No. 5
Grade 5 
​Performance Edition(s): Henle (Ginzel), IMC (Stutch) Wiener Urtext (Rivinius)
Urtext/Critical Edition(s): Henle, Wiener Urtext
Note: Wiener Urtext is the best deal because this work is part of a Dvorak collection with 3 other pieces.

Elgar
Concerto, Op. 85
Grade 6 
​Performance Edition(s): Masters Music (Colon)
Urtext/Critical Edition(s): Barenreiter, Novello (published in 2010s)
First Edition: Novello (and Masters Music reprint)
Note: Masters Music (Colon) is poorly engraved. Use it only for the fingerings. For notes, use one of the critical editions.

Falla
Suite Populaire Espagnole
Grade 4 
​Performance Edition(s): Eschig (arr. Marechal)

Falla
Ritual Fire Dance and Dance of Terror
Grade 4 
​Performance Edition(s): Chester (arr. Piatigorsky)

Faure  
Apres un reve, Op. 7/1
Grade 4   
​Performance Edition(s): IMC (arr. Casals)
Note: This song comes from a cycle of Trois (3) mélodies, Op. 7. The other 2 songs lie well on the cello as well, if you enjoy exploring the vocal repertoire.

Faure 
Elegie, Op. 24 
Grade 4  
​Performance Edition(s): IMC (Rose), Schirmer (Deri) 
Urtext/Critical Edition(s): Peters

Faure
Sicilienne, Op. 78
Grade 3 
Performance Edition(s): IMC
Urtext/Critical Edition(s): Peters

Faure
Sonata No. 1 for Piano and Cello, Op. 109
Grade 5 
​Performance Edition(s): Henle (Geringas)
Urtext/Critical Edition(s): Henle
First edition: Durand

Faure 
Sonata No. 2 for Piano and Cello, Op. 117
Grade 5  
​Performance Edition(s): Henle (Geringas) 
Urtext/Critical Edition(s): Henle 
First edition: Durand

Foss
Capriccio
Grade 5
​Performance Edition(s): Carl Fischer (Piatigorsky)

Franck-Delsart
Sonata for Piano and Violin (Transcribed for cello)
​Performance Edition(s): Henle (Poltéra), IMC (Rose)
Note: Henle is not "urtext" in this case because this is an arrangement of a violin work, but they did a great job with the edition. Barenreiter is poorly engraved, so I cannot recommend it. Avoid the Kunzelmann (Mifune) edition.

Gabrielli
7 Ricerceri for Solo Cello
Grade 3 
​Performance Edition(s): Schott
Urtext/Critical Edition(s): (Barenreiter)

Goltermann 
Concerto No. 3 
Grade 4
Performance Edition(s): Carl Fischer (Shultz), IMC (Klengel)

Goltermann
Concerto No. 4
Grade 3 
​Performance Edition(s): Artistic Music Engraving (Carneiro),IMC (Rose), Schirmer (van Vliet)
Urtext/Critical Edition(s): Artistic Music Engraving

Grieg
Sonata for Piano and Cello, Op. 36
Grade 5 
​Performance Edition(s): Henle (Geringas), IMC (Rose), Peters
Urtext/Critical Edition(s): Henle

​Grützmacher
24 Technical Studies, Op. 38 (in 2 volumes)
Grades 2-6 (progressive)
​Performance Edition(s): IMC (Klengel), Peters (Klengel)
Note: Avoid getting the Barenreiter (Rummel) edition of these etudes.

Haydn
Concerto in C, Hob VIIb: 1
Grade 5 
​Performance Edition(s): Henle (Ginzel), IMC (Rostropovich), Peters (Bosbach)
Urtext/Critical Edition(s): Henle

Haydn
Concerto in D, Hob VIIb: 2
Grade 6 
​Performance Edition(s): Henle (Ginzel), Schott (Gendron), Peters (Storck)
Urtext/Critical Edition(s): Henle
Note: Avoid getting Breitkopf (Gavaert) IMC (Gavaert-Rose), Kalmus (Klengel).

Herbert
Concerto No. 1
Grade 6 
​Performance Edition(s): YL Edition
Urtext/Critical Edition(s): YL Edition

Herbert
Concerto No. 2
Grade 6 
​Performance Edition(s): IMC Rose, YL Edition (in preparation)
Urtext/Critical Edition(s): YL Edition (in preparation)

Hindemith
Sonata for Solo Cello, Op. 25, No. 3
Grade 6 
​Performance Edition(s): Schott (old edition)
Urtext/Critical Edition(s): Schott (new edition)

Janacek
Pohadka, for Piano and Cello
Grade 5 
Urtext/Critical Edition(s): Barenreiter, Supraphon

Kabalevsky
Concerto No. 1
Grade 5 
​Performance Edition(s): IMC, Leeds, Sikorski

Kabalevsky
Concerto No. 2
Grade 6 
​Performance Edition(s): Sikorski (Shafran)
Note: There are 3 different printings of this piece. I discuss these in this article.

Klengel
Concertino No. 1
Grade 4 
​Performance Edition(s): Breitkopf (Klengel), IMC (Rose), YL Edition (Klengel, corrected)
Urtext/Critical Edition(s): YL Edition (also orchestrated)
Note: Here is an article about my orchestration.

Kodaly
Sonata for Solo Cello Op. 8
Grade 6 
​Performance Edition(s): Masters Music (Colon)
First Edition: Universal

Lalo
Concerto
Grade 5
​Performance Edition(s): IMC (Rose), Peters (Klengel), Schirmer (Deri)
Urtext/Critical Edition(s): Barenreiter, Henle
Note: Avoid the Barenreiter edition because of poor engraving.

Lee
40 Études mélodiques et progressives, Op.31 (in 2 vols.)
Grades 3 (vol. 1) and 4 (vol. 2)
First Edition: Aulagnier (Lee)
Performance Edition(s) (all with cuts!): Carl Fischer (Becker), IMC (Becker), Schirmer (Schulz), Schott
Urtext/Critical Edition(s): YL Edition
Notes: All performance editions listed above contain major cuts by Hugo Becker in numbers 10, 14, 22, 24, 28, 29, 35, and 36. Some passages are recomposed by Hugo Becker to accommodate the cuts. Some passages are recomposed in number 11. Schott is newly engraved, based on Becker's version. In the Schott, the etudes are often spread across 3 pages, introducing unnecessary page turns and many mistakes like wrong notes, missing time/key signatures, and repeats in the wrong place.

Ligeti
Sonata (1948-1953)
Grade 6 
First Edition: Schott

Locatelli
Sonata in D major
Grade 6
Performance edition(s): Artaria (arr. Starkweather), IMC (arr. Piatti, reprint of Schott), Schott (arr. Piatti)
Note: This piece is a compilation of 2 violin sonatas: Op. 6/6 (first and third movements) and Op. 6/12 (second movement). The Artaria edition includes arrangements of the 2 violin sonatas in their entirety. However, Artaria's prices are very steep for digital editions. I don't recommend Artaria. Stick to the free Schott edition on IMSLP.

Mendelssohn 
Sonata No. 1 for Piano and Cello, Op. 45
Grade 4
Performance Edition(s): Henle (Kanngiesser), Peters (Cahnbley)
Urtext/Critical Edition(s): Barenreiter, Henle
Note: Barenreiter and Peters are a part of a Mendelssohn complete cello music collection

Mendelssohn  
Sonata No. 2 for Piano and Cello Op. 58
Grade 5
Performance Edition(s): Henle (Kanngiesser), Peters (Cahnbley) 
Urtext/Critical Edition(s): Barenreiter, Henle 
Note: Barenreiter and Peters are a part of a Mendelssohn complete cello music collection

Mendelssohn
Song without words for Cello and Piano, Op. 109
Grade 3
Performance Edition(s): Henle (Kanngiesser), Peters (Cahnbley) 
Urtext/Critical Edition(s): Barenreiter, Henle 
Note: Barenreiter and Peters are a part of a Mendelssohn complete cello music collection

Mendelssohn
Variations Piano and Cello, Op. 17
Grade 5
Performance Edition(s): Henle (Kanngiesser), Peters (Cahnbley) 
Urtext/Critical Edition(s): Barenreiter, Henle 
Note: Barenreiter and Peters are a part of a Mendelssohn complete cello music collection

Paganini
24 Caprices, Op. 1
Grade 6
Performance Edition(s): Ricordi (Silva)
​​​​​​Note: Ricordi has Silva's preparatory exercises for each Caprice.

Paganini
Variations on one string
Grade 5
Performance Edition(s): IMC (Fournier), Ricordi (Silva)

Piatti
12 Caprices, Op. 25
Grade 5
Performance Edition(s): Henle (Piatti), Ricordi (Silva), Simrock (Piatti)
Urtext/Critical Edition(s): Henle
Note: I like the Henle edition, but my students have used Simrock from IMSLP with great success. Ricordi has Silva's preparatory exercises for each Caprice.

Popper
Elfentanz
Grade 6
​Performance Edition(s): Carl Fisher (Rostropovich), Faber (Isserlis), IMC (Fournier)
Note: IMC (Cassado), currently out of print, is shorter and has a recomposed piano part (a little more avant-garde)

Popper
High School of Cello Playing, Op. 73
​Performance Edition(s): Bärenreiter (Rummel), IMC (Popper, reprint), Paladino (Rummel, revised), Schirmer (Popper, reprint)
First Edition: Hofmeister
Note: Avoid the Barenreiter (Rummel) edition because it is not representative of Popper's text. I hear that the Paladino (Rummel) edition is better, but I haven't played from it. I know Rummel changes the key signature to 3 flats in #37 when the music goes to C minor. I believe that this is an unnecessary change. AVOID AT ALL COSTS: Dover (Yablonsky) edition. This is one of the worst editions I've on the market of any work.

Popper
Hungarian Rhapsody
Grade 5
​Performance Edition(s): Carl Fischer (Malkin), Hofmeister (Popper, reprinted by Kalmus), IMC (Rose), Schirmer (Starker, part of a collection)
Urtext/Critical Edition(s): YL Edition (Popper)
Notes: Carl Fischer and Schirmer simplify a few passages, including the upper register scales and chords in the fast sections.

Popper 
Im Walde 
Grade 5 
​Performance Edition(s): Barenreiter (Rummel), Rahter (Popper), YL Edition (Popper) 
Urtext/Critical Edition(s): YL Edition 
Note: Avoid getting the Barenreiter (Rummel) edition as it contains many mistakes and poor engraving.

Popper
Tarantella, Op. 33
Grade 5
​Performance Edition(s): IMC (Rose), Rahter (Popper), Schirmer (Starker, part of a collection)
Note: Unless you are looking for specific fingerings, download a Rahter copy from IMSLP.

Poulenc
Sonata for Cello and Piano
Grade 6 
​Performance Edition (First Edition): Heugel (Fournier)
Note: There is also a revised edition in 1953.

Prokofiev
Sinfonia Concertante
Grade 6
​Performance Edition(s): Boosey (Rostropovich)
Note: Read my article about the musical text in Prokofiev's manuscript.

Prokofiev
Sonata for Cello and Piano, Op. 119
Grade 5
​Performance Edition(s): IMC (Rostropovich), Peters (Rostropovich)
Note: Absolutely avoid getting the Sikorski edition! Here is my article explaining the reasons.

Rachmaninov
Sonata for Piano and Cello, Op. 19
Grade 5
Urtext/Critical Edition(s): YL Edition
First Edition: Gutheil (reprinted by Boosey, IMC, Jurgenson)
Note: None of the major publishers get it right with this edition. Expect misprints. YL Edition offers a corrected cello part at my website store. I wrote an article about the deficiencies in the current editions.

Rachmaninov
Vocalise, Op. 34/14
Grade 4
​Performance Edition(s): IMC (Rose)
Note: The Vocalise is the last in a set of 14 Romances that are all well worth exploring. Op. 4 Romances also work great on cello.

Reger
3 Suites, Op. 131c
Grade 5
​Performance Edition(s): Henle (Ginzel), IMC (Kurtz)
Urtext/Critical Edition(s): Henle

Romberg
Sonata Op. 43/1
Grade 2
Performance Edition(s): IMC, YL Edition (Romberg)
Urtext/Critical Edition(s): YL Edition
Note: Romberg's sonatas Op. 43 were composed as pedagogical pieces for 2 cellos (student and teacher). Jansen of the IMC edition was a pianist, not a cellist. The old IMC edition actually has Romberg's fingerings and bowings for the most part. The new IMC (Solow) edition leaves the poorly written piano part and adds a poor engraving on top of that.

Romberg
Sonata Op. 43/2
Grade 3
​Performance Edition(s): IMC, YL Edition (Romberg)
Urtext/Critical Edition(s): YL Edition
Note: Romberg's sonatas Op. 43 were composed as pedagogical pieces for 2 cellos (student and teacher). Jansen of the IMC edition was a pianist, not a cellist. The old IMC edition actually has Romberg's fingerings and bowings for the most part. The new IMC (Solow) edition leaves the poorly written piano part and adds a poor engraving on top of that.

Romberg 
Sonata Op. 43/3
Grade 4
​​​​​​​​Performance Edition(s): IMC, YL Edition (Romberg) 
​​​​​​​Urtext/Critical Edition(s): YL Edition 
Note: Romberg's sonatas Op. 43 were composed as pedagogical pieces for 2 cellos (student and teacher). Jansen of the IMC edition was a pianist, not a cellist. The old IMC edition actually has Romberg's fingerings and bowings for the most part. The new IMC (Solow) edition leaves the poorly written piano part and adds a poor engraving on top of that.

Romberg
Sonata Op. 38/1 (Trio)
Grade 3
​Performance Edition(s):  IMC, YL Edition (Romberg) 
​​​​​​​Urtext/Critical Edition(s): YL Edition
Note: Romberg's sonatas Op. 38 were composed as pedagogical pieces for 2 cellos and viola. Jansen of the IMC edition was a pianist, not a cellist. The old IMC edition actually has Romberg's fingerings and bowings for the most part. The new IMC (Solow) edition leaves the poorly written piano part and adds a poor engraving on top of that.

Romberg
Sonatas Op. 38/2-3
Grade 4
​Performance Edition(s):  IMC, YL Edition (Romberg)
​​​​​​​Urtext/Critical Edition(s): YL Edition
Note: Romberg's sonatas Op. 38 were composed as pedagogical pieces for 2 cellos and viola. Jansen of the IMC edition was a pianist, not a cellist. The old IMC edition actually has Romberg's fingerings and bowings for the most part. The new IMC (Solow) edition leaves the poorly written piano part and adds a poor engraving on top of that.

Saint-Saens
Allegro Appassionato
Grade 3-4
​Performance Edition(s): Carl Fisher (as part of 15 Contest Pieces), Henle (Geringas), IMC (Rose)
​​​​​​​Urtext/Critical Edition(s): Barenreiter, Henle, YL Edition
Notes: This work also appears in the Saint-Saens collection published by Faber with Isserlis's markings. It wouldn't be my top choice, but the preface has some good information.

Saint-Saens 
Concerto No. 1 
Grade 5  
​Performance Edition(s): Carl Fischer (Malkin), Henle (Geringas), IMC (Rose)
​​​​​​​Urtext/Critical Edition(s): Henle
Note: Carl Fischer and IMC are only good for fingerings and bowings.

Saint-Saens 
Concerto No. 2 
Grade 6 
​​​​​​​Urtext/Critical Edition(s): YL Edition (first edition with modern clefs)
Note: Read my article about this edition.

Saint-Saens
Sonata No. 1 for Piano and Cello, Op. 32
Grade 4
​Performance Edition(s): Henle (Geringas), IMC
​​​​​​​Urtext/Critical Edition(s): Henle

Saint-Saens 
Sonata No. 2 for Piano and Cello, Op. 123
Grade 4 
​Performance Edition(s): Henle (Geringas)
​​​​​​​Urtext/Critical Edition(s): Henle

Saint-Saens
Suite Op. 16b
Grade 5
​​​​​​​Urtext/Critical Edition(s): YL Edition
Note: Read my article about the YL Edition. You may purchase a copy at my website store. Absolutely avoid getting the Schott (Kliegel) edition of this work because it is full of errors and is poorly engraved. The same warning extends to Romance, Op. 67 published by Schott.

Saint-Saens 
The Swan 
Grade 3 
​Performance Edition(s): Carl Fisher (as part of 15 Contest Pieces), Henle (Geringas), IMC (Rose) 
​​​​​​​Urtext/Critical Edition(s): Henle, YL Edition
Notes: This work also appears in the Saint-Saens collection published by Faber with Isserlis's markings. It wouldn't be my top choice, but the preface has some good information.

Schubert
Sonata "Arpeggione" for Cello and Piano
Grade 6
​Performance Edition(s): Henle (Ginzel), IMC (Rose)
​​​​​​​Urtext/Critical Edition(s): Barenreiter, Henle, YL Edition
Note: Henle and YL Edition are the most cello-friendly editions.

Schumann
Fantasiestücke for Piano and Cello, Op. 73
Grade 4
​Performance Edition(s): Henle (Ginzel), Peters (Grützmacher)
​​​​​​​Urtext/Critical Edition(s): Henle

Schumann
Concerto, Op. 129
Grade 6
​Performance Edition(s): Breitkopf (Klengel), Breitkopf Urtext (Schiff), Carl Fischer (Feuermann), IMC (Rose)
​​​​​​​Urtext/Critical Edition(s): Breitkopf, YL Edition
Note: Only the YL Edition contains a clean cello solo part without markings. Avoid the new Peters "Urtext" edition edited by Josephine Knight. It's carelessly researched, mostly acting on inexperienced impulse. There is not scholarship behind this edition.

Servais
6 Caprices, Op. 11 (2nd cello ad lib.)
Grade 6
​​​​​​​Performance Edition(s): Gérard Billaudot (Tournus, with new piano part), IMC (Becker), Schott (Becker), Ricordi (Filippini)
​​​​​​​Urtext/Critical Edition(s): YL Edition
First Edition: Schott (Servais, 1852)

Ševčík
40 Variations, Op. 3 (Bowing Technique)
Grades 3 and 4
​Performance Edition(s): Bosworth (arr. Feuillard)
Note: Whether you buy it or download it from IMSLP, the music is the same. There are the same note mistakes in both. For example, Variation 17, m. 15, note 1 needs to be a B-natural, not B-flat. Many teachers will have this kind of thing marked in their music if they taught these etudes for any length of time.

Shostakovich
Sonata for Cello and Piano, Op. 40
Grade 5
​Performance Edition(s): DSCH (Rostropovich?) IMC (Rose), Peters (Rostropovich)
​​​​​​​Urtext/Critical Edition(s): YL Edition
​​​​​​​Note: Read my article about the questionable authenticity of the DSCH edition.

Shostakovich
Concerto No. 1
Grade 6
​Performance Edition(s): IMC (Rostropovich)
​​​​​​​Urtext/Critical Edition(s): DSCH
Note: Avoid getting the Sikorski edition because of poor engraving and glossy paper.

Shostakovich 
Concerto No. 2
Grade 6
​Performance Edition(s): IMC (Rostropovich)
​​​​​​​Urtext/Critical Edition(s): DSCH
Note: Avoid getting the Sikorski edition because of poor engraving and glossy paper.

Squire
Danse Rustique, Op. 20/5
Grade 2
​Performance Edition(s): Carl Fischer

Squire
Bourree, Op. 24
Grade 3
​Performance Edition(s): Carl Fischer
Note: This piece is also in the 15 Contest Pieces collection.

Squire
Tarantella, Op. 23
Grade 3
​Performance Edition(s): Carl Fischer

Strauss
Don Quixote
Grade 6 
​Performance Edition(s): IMC (Rose), Masters Music (Colon), Peters
Note: There is a real need for a critical edition for this work. You might use Masters Music (Colon) for fingerings and bowings, but the engraving is of very poor quality.

Strauss
Sonata for Cello and Piano, Op. 6
Grade 5
Performance Edition(s): Henle (Moser), IMC (Rose)
​​​​​​​Urtext/Critical Edition(s): Henle, Schott (complete edition sonata volume for €270.00)
First Edition: Aibl (reprinted by Universal)
Note: Get the IMC (best deal), or download the Aibl from IMSLP. I don't think Henle is worth 2x the price of IMC. There is nothing controversial about this work. Be careful not to buy the Schott "1st Version."

Stravinsky
Suite Italienne for Cello and Piano
Grade 6 
​Performance Edition(s): Boosey (Piatigorsky)
Note: Read my article about the reliability of the Boosey edition.
 

Tchaikovsky
Rococo Variations
Grade 6 
​Performance Edition(s): IMC (Fitzenhagen-Rose) Peters (Original-Wallfisch), Simrock (Fitzenhagen-Geringas)
​​​​​​​Urtext/Critical Edition(s): Peters, Schott
Note: Neither Peters nor Schott is great, but they are usable if you want to learn the original version. IMC also has many mistakes. The autograph manuscript is available on IMSLP.

Tchaikovsky
Pezzo Capriccioso
Grade 6 
​Performance Edition(s): IMC
Note: Don't get the Schott (Gendron) Edition. It's a different piece. If you are interested in something closer to the original version, write me a note and I will send you a hybrid version (something closer to what Wallfisch and Isserlis play). 

Telemann
Gamba Fantasias
Grades 4 and 5 
​Performance Edition(s): YL Edition
Note: You may read about this transcription and purchase it at my website store.

Vivaldi
9 Sonatas for Cello and Basso Continuo
Grade 3 
​Performance Edition(s): IMC (Rose), Schirmer (Graudan)
​​​​​​​Urtext/Critical Edition(s): Wiener Urtext
Note: I cannot recommend the Barenreiter edition because it contains multiple errors in the bass realization; the editor says that she will not fix the mistakes in the realization.

Walton
Concerto
Grade 6 
​Performance Edition(s): Oxford (Piatigorsky)
Note: This edition has been recently updated to include an alternative ending.

Weber
Grand Potpourri, Op. 20
Grade 5
​Performance Edition(s): YL Edition
​​​​​​​Urtext/Critical Edition(s): YL Edition
Note: Read my article about the YL Edition. You may purchase a copy at my website store. Absolutely avoid getting the Kunzelmann (Beyer) edition of this work because it is full of errors and is poorly engraved.

Reviews of Major Publishers 

(Presented in alphabetical order)

Ars Antiqva (Complete Instrumental Works by Vivaldi edited by Olivier Fourés) 

If you are looking to play some of the more obscure works by Vivaldi, you might start with the Ricordi complete edition (which is highly edited, especially in the bass and cembalo parts). But there is a new complete edition on the market published by Ars Antiqva. 

This is what the website says about their edition: Ars Antiqua, Madrid, 2010 -. format: 23 x 33 cm (scores & parts), with critical notes included with the score. Softbound, in individual portfolios (one portfolio, consisting of one or a group of works, is considered a volume). 

A few things to note here. 23x33cm is roughly 9x13 inches. That size is fine for music printing. But that's not the actual size of the score and parts you receive, but something roughly 8.5x12.5 inches. This makes a huge difference since music is typically measured in millimeters. They are printed on pretty heavy cardstock. The printing is glossy. If any light hits the music, you are blinded by the reflection. The printing of the parts is also odd. The score has 2 works in it, which would make sense for the parts to be bundled in that format. But each piece comes with its own set of parts. This is confusing. The potential for grabbing a part to the wrong piece is much greater. 

The staff size in the score is 4.0mm. The standard for an orchestra score is 5.0-6.0mm. Those extra 1-2mm really help the readability. The score pages are tightly packed with 4 systems per page (in the edition I am reviewing). Parts are a little over 7.0mm in staff size, which is fine, but they are not balanced with regards to the number of bars per system and staves per page. 

Conclusion: The material for the critical notes seems well researched. However, as a performance edition, it's pretty much useless. I hope that this company takes my review to heart and revises the editions that have the potential to be the best Vivaldi edition out there. For now 3/10.

 

Bärenreiter 

It seems like almost by storm Bärenreiter has taken the sheet music market in the last 15 years, but this company is almost 100 years old and has been consistently publishing pretty decent editions before going heavily into the "urtext" market. As a young cellist, I remember running into Bärenreiter with their edition of Alkan's sonata and a few complete editions like Neue Bach Ausgabe and Neue Mozart Ausgabe. But in the last 15 years, they have become more aggressive in their marketing campaign. They have a good reputation to fall back on. 

Today, Bärenreiter markets itself as primarily an "urtext" publisher of public domain music, but they also publish quite a bit of contemporary works by composers like Matthias Pintscher and others. Bärenreiter seems to have a good relationship with Henle, their direct competitor in the "urtext" market, even publishing orchestra parts for Henle's complete Haydn edition. 

Every company has a slogan: "Bärenreiter Urtext: the last word in authentic text - the musicians' choice." This is where I take issue with Bärenreiter. You might say, "it's just a slogan." But I believe that a slogan should honestly reflect reality. 

Bärenreiter's scholarship is hit or miss. They have some world-class scholars working for them as editors. Saying that these editors have the "last word" on any type of scholarship makes anyone who disagrees with their research look like a fool. I've seen this and experienced it myself by disagreeing with editions like Beethoven's symphonies and sonatas, Dvorak, and Elgar's concertos. Bärenreiter's editors do not present an airtight case for any of their more "unconventional" choices. The musician should not be shamed into playing something because a famous editor says so. With much knowledge comes much responsibility. Stay humble! 

Bärenreiter recently published what they call "Cello Sonata No. 3" by Saint-Saëns. Their editor presents a very weak case for this work. I find it curious that Bärenreiter charges $25 for an incomplete work based on rejected sketches. How is this a "musician's choice?" The part is not even annotated with fingerings or bowings. A performance edition would be more of the "musician's choice." The editor doesn't even hide that he is fudging the evidence in the preface by taking Saint-Saëns's words out of context and changing some words to scotch tape his weak argument. 

My last issue with Bärenreiter is their engraving. In addition to wrong notes (which I've never seen fixed) and spelling errors, Barenreiter's engravers don't consider page turns for string players, and tend to cram too much music on the page (see Debussy's Cello Sonata, second movement as one example of many). In the case of "urtext" editions of chamber music by Dvorak and Smetana, they just take the old Supraphon editions and do a whiteout job on them like the International Music Company used to do. These editions still have many bad page-turns and unintuitive multi-bar rest groupings. Some of their Neue Bach Ausgabe vocal scores have very bad alignment issues. 

Conclusion: use caution when purchasing Bärenreiter. If the piece is also available from Henle, that would be a preferred route. If Bärenreiter is the only publisher, proceed with caution. 

 

Boosey & Hawkes, Sikorski, and Wise Music Classical (formerly Music Sales Group)

You've probably heard of the first two publishers, but what about the last one? Wise Music Classical is one of the biggest firms in the world to control classical publishing and licensing. They are the equivalent of the Universal Music Group that loves to demonetize YouTube videos. Whether you like it or not Wise Music and Hal Leonard control most of the classical music publishing in the world. In my estimation, the larger the company, the weaker the quality control. 

Boosey and Sikorski are under the Hal Leonard umbrella. Chester, Chant du monde, Schirmer, Novello, and many others are under the Wise Music umbrella. But get this, Hal Leonard is technically under the Wise Music umbrella. So even though Wise doesn't list Boosey and Sikorski in their publisher list, Hal reports to Wise. 

So basically anything on your stand that is not Breitkopf, Peters, IMC, or Barenreiter somehow has a tie to the Wise Music Group. Why did I include Wise in a review about Boosey and Sikorski? Because Wise controls Chant du monde, which is the publisher that brings Soviet music to French-speaking countries, like Boosey to English-speaking, and Sikorski to German-speaking. If you want to rent orchestral parts to Shostakovich, Kabalevsky, or Khachaturian (all published by Sikorski) in the US, you must contact the Schirmer rental office; and Schirmer is controlled by Wise. I hope you are catching all of this. To find out which office you need to get in touch with for your rental needs, you can check on zinfonia.com. In most cases, you will be talking to Boosey or an affiliate of Wise. 

In addition to Soviet music, Boosey publishes many contemporary composers from English-speaking countries, composers like Bernstein, Copland, Bartok, and others. Sikorski, in addition to Soviet music, publishes many contemporary composers from German-speaking countries: Auerbach, Schnittke, Kancheli, and others. 

Historically, both Boosey and Sikorski have relied heavily on reprinting Soviet music, which is full of mistakes and poorly engraved. Some decent old engravings of Boosey's include Mussorgsky/Ravel Pictures, Prokofiev Violin Concerto No. 2, and Bartok Concerto for Orchestra. Sikorski's Prokofiev and Shostakovich cello sonatas from the 1960s are well-engraved. Those are the plates that IMC now uses in their reprints. Please avoid the newer publications of those works from Sikorski (read my blog on yuriyleonovich.com to see why). 

In recent years, Boosey has stepped up their game by hiring a team of top-notch engravers in New York to overhaul their catalog. You will find Copland's Symphony No. 3 and Billy the Kid, and a few Prokofiev works in the standard repertoire with the new facelift. I got to perform Copland 3 from one of these new engravings. It really looks great. Prokofiev's Concertino solo/piano edition (edited by Blok) and Cello Concerto orchestra parts have also been overhauled. But then again, they are still selling things like Prokofiev's Sinfonia Concertante in the old edition for $70. Also, keep in mind that Boosey might be correcting some very obvious mistakes, but they are generally not working with editors who know their sources. So the updated editions of Prokofiev will not be fixing any pitch errors like several dozen in Sinfonia. 

A short story about Boosey and Prokofiev's Cello Concerto, Op. 58: when Prokofiev met Rostropovich in the late 1940s, many project ideas opened up. One of the ideas was to rewrite the Cello Concerto into what would become Sinfonia Concertante. Meanwhile, in western Europe, there was a copy of the unpublished Cello Concerto floating around. Boosey jumped to the opportunity to be the first to publish this work in 1951 without the composer's knowledge. In 1951, Prokofiev and Rostropovich were well on their way to revising the Concerto, and the publication of the piece in its original form was far from Prokofiev's mind. I got the chance to review the composer's autograph of the piano reduction. In fact, Boosey's premature publication contains text that is not congruent with Prokofiev's final thoughts on the work. Thus, the recordings by Starker, Walevska, Isserlis, Gerhardt, and Solow do not reflect the most accurate reading of the work, but just reading, perhaps passing towards the final version of the original Concerto, Op. 58. 

Sikorski, on the other hand, seems to be getting worse, while still charging an arm and a leg. Their engraver team is not trained to produce top-notch work, and the glossy paper they print their music on is atrocious. You can't read it or write on it. Avoid at all costs! 

Conclusion: in our day, it's difficult to avoid buying from Boosey, Sikorski, or the two giants: Hal Leonard and Wise Music. Avoid Sikorski, if there is another option. Understand that you will most likely be buying music with dozens of mistakes in it.

 

Breitkopf & Härtel 

Breitkopf is the grandfather of all contemporary publishing companies. It was established in 1719. Whether classical musicians realize it or not, they are the most familiar with this publisher over any other because Breitkopf published 99% of all the major orchestra repertoire we play. We use their original parts or the reprints, but the Breitkopf signature look is immediately recognizable. 

Breitkopf is the publisher of Beethoven, Brahms, Schumann (Clara and Robert), Schubert. You might be surprised that the first edition of Fauré's Violin Sonata No. 1 was published by Breitkopf. This is the publisher of Klengel, Fitzenhagen, Grützmacher . They also published modern music by composers such as Jean Sibelius and Günter Raphael, and others. In fact, Dvorak's Cello Concerto in A major in Raphael's arrangement was published by Breitkopf. 

Affectionately called Barenwronger, Breitkopf has had a spotty history with regards to accuracy, primarily because of Grützmacher's editions. Otherwise, their historical publications are worthy of their high esteem. 

In the last two decades, Breitkopf has entered the "urtext" market and is producing some amazing updates to their old classics with the help of leading scholars and very competent engravers. Breitkopf works with Henle on Henle's orchestra projects, providing orchestra parts. Having said this, Breitkopf still publishes many of their old standards, so if you are interested in their new editions, make sure you look at the "urtext" symbol and/or publication date. 

Conclusion: Breitkopf is a great publisher and is highly recommended. I would choose Breitkopf Urtext over Bärenreiter any day. Their new engravings are beautiful, clear, and accurate. Please avoid anything with Grützmacher's name on it.

 

Carl Fischer 

Carl Fischer is your home for musical hoaxes. Fritz Kreisler, anyone? They also have the "Telemann" Sinfonia arranged for orchestra, actually composed by Robert Bennett Brown in the style of Vivaldi. You might have played it in high school if you went down the US public school track. 

Carl Fischer has some decent performance editions of Goltermann and Saint-Saens concertos (don't buy them for the notes, though!). This publisher used to be much more popular before 1970 when they used to publish pedagogical rep like Popper's Hungarian Rhapsody and even their own cello method. 

You are probably familiar with Alwin Schroeder's 170 Foundation Studies, which was great in its original 1916 printing, but is the worst place to spend your money with the new Robert Hughey edition (avoid at all costs... spread the message far and wide... tell all of your colleagues). I posted the original edition of Volume 1 on IMSLP for your use. 

Carl Fischer also publishes 20th-century contemporary works by composers such as Howard Hanson, Ernest Bloch, and others. 

Conclusion: as a cellist, you will rarely run into Carl Fischer. The only things I see worth buying from their catalog are Kreisler pieces, Bloch's cello collection, and 15 Favorite Contest Pieces edited by Collier, maybe Saint-Saens's Concerto No. 1 for decent fingerings.

 

Faber Music

Looking for British or Australian composers from the last 100 years? You will, no doubt, run into Faber Music (with their signature fortissimo mark). This is the publisher of Britten's Suites, Malcolm Arnold, Thomas Adès, Peter Sculthorpe. Faber was the publisher of Deryck Cooke's completion of Mahler 10. Bridge's Oration? Faber. Colin and David Matthews? Faber. Steven Isserlis editions? Faber. 

Faber prides itself on having Elaine Gould, the author of "Behind Bars," as their editor. Behind Bars is an engraving manual that many typesetters swear by. This book is sort of a sequel to Gardner Read's "Music Notation." Both are very good books to fine-tune your craft of engraving. 

While I am not a huge fan of Faber's font choice, I can't deny that their engravings are done very well. 

Conclusion: I highly recommend all of Isserlis's collections. Faber's catalog is well worth exploring for Carl Davis's Ballade, Malcolm Arnold's Fantasy (great for intermediate students), and other contemporary, yet tuneful cello gems.

 

International Music Company 

What a complicated story. First of all, the Rose, Gingold, and Francescatti editions we grew up on were not engraved by IMC. They were "customized" from the first/second editions. Basically, they photocopied the first edition of, let's say, Lalo's concerto, whited out what they didn't want, and entered the new fingerings and bowings by Rose (which I hear is questionable). IMC was a pro at this. The "mistakes" that IMC is notorious for, many them are also found in the first/second editions. 

Supposedly, they did some engraving for Cassadó's arrangements in the 1940s, but I think that those editions were engraved by Schott (Cassadó's previous publisher), and then something happened to their contract which led IMC to publish those arrangements (Elfentanz, Minute Waltz, CPE Bach Concerto, Aeolian Etude, etc.). 

You can see IMC starting to engrave their own music in the software called "Score" for their Edmund Kurtz editions and later. From an era when Schirmer was producing beautiful scores of Adams and Corigliano's music engraved in Score, IMC was showing themselves as novices in contemporary music engraving techniques, and selling those, instead of hiring able engravers. Why would you expect anything else from a company that spent decades whiting out public domain music? 

I will give them credit for one thing, Soviet music. You can expect to buy the best sonata editions by Prokofiev, Shostakovich, and Kabalesky, as well as Shostakovich's 1st Concerto from IMC. That speaks to how bad the Sikorski edition of those pieces really is. 

Conclusion: If you really want Rose's fingerings, buy Henle and copy Rose's fingerings and bowings from a library copy. Just remember that there is no good edition of Rococo Variations. Get Soviet music from IMC.

 

Kunzelmann (associated with Schott and Eulenburg) 

Buy at your own risk. While their catalog looks impressive, their quality leaves a lot to be desired, especially at their astronomical prices. You might have bought their 6-cello arrangement of Popper's Requiem, 5-cello arrangement of the Carmen Suite, Chopin's Polonaise Brillante, or concertos by Monn, Weber, CPE Bach, which claim to be scholarly editions. Most of their cello transcriptions of violin rep done by Werner Thomas-Mifune have wrong key signatures and are sloppily done, usually transposed down a 5th. 

This year I've carefully reviewed their "scholarly" editions of CPE Bach A major concerto, Weber's Grand Potpourri, and a performance edition of the Lalo Sonata (which they maintain has scholarly aspects). Their edition of Lalo blindly copies all of the rhythmic mistakes and obvious wrong notes of the first edition, while adding dozens of new mistakes. 

The Weber edition has dozens of wrong notes, clefs, articulations, etc. When I say "wrong clefs," I mean that the notes are correctly placed on the staff if there was a different clef preceding them. 

The CPE Bach solo part has a page turn in the middle of practically every solo passage. They also claim to base their edition on the manuscript (which one?). Having seen both manuscripts of the cello concerto, basing my edition on one of these, I don't find their readings plausible. At best, the orchestra parts are ok for performance. Their suggested fingerings in the solo part make the piece more difficult than it is. Their critical notes spend most of the time comparing the cello, flute, and keyboard versions. 

Conclusion: avoid Kunzelmann if at all possible.

 

Edition Peters

Edition Peters, in addition to working with their own publications, is actually an umbrella company that also controls Belaieff, Schwann, and Kahnt. Belaieff was one of the publishers of Russian music from the Romantic Era; composers like Borodin, Taneyev, Glazunov, and others.  

Peters is the edition that comes to mind after Breitkopf for our core orchestra and solo repertoire. You might own Beethoven's Sonatas, Mendelssohn's cello works, Schumann's cello works, and Mozart and Haydn String Quartets in a Peters edition. These are trusty warhorses. 

Peters is also the publisher of Alan Hovhaness, George Crumb, Georgs Pelecis, and other modern and contemporary composers. Peters brought Soviet composers to Germany and the US, so you might also own a salmon-colored edition of Prokofiev, Shostakovich, Kabalevsky, Khachaturian, and others. 

Peters has dabbled in the "urtext" market but is not depending on it as their primary source of income. You might have run into the urtext edition of Rococo Variations, edited by Raphael Wallfisch. It's a decent edition, not my favorite (if there can be one for this piece). It's well-engraved but does contain errors beyond the sources for the piece. Just note that this is the original version of the piece (which I fully endorse). Peters is also working on urtext editions of Haydn, which are solid rivals to Henle. 

Conclusion: If I had a choice between my time-tested Peters copies of Beethoven quartets and Henle or Barenreiter, I would most likely stay with Peters and pencil in anything noteworthy from scholarly critical notes.

 

Ricordi 

In many ways, I would put Ricordi in the same category as Universal. Ricordi has exclusive rights to many 20th Century Italian composers, which makes this publisher unavoidable when looking to play Puccini, Respighi, and others. You will frequently encounter Verdi's music published by Ricordi (or reprinted from Ricordi by Luck's or Kalmus). 

For baroque music, there are editions of Degli Antonii (avoid), Bach Suites, Tartini and Leo concertos, and the complete Vivaldi edition. You will see many of the Vivaldi "Ricordi-urtext" posted on IMSLP, edited by Malipiero and Ephrikian. Don't buy into the "urtext" aspect of it. Although these editions use the manuscripts as sources, the editors freely added a bass part (different from the basso continuo) and an unreliable cembalo part. If you are a novice at Vivaldi, you might appreciate the prescriptivism, but period ensembles won't use these as printed. The alternative to Vivaldi would be the Ars Antiqua edition, which is not good either. I usually make my own editions of Vivaldi's concertos if I need to program them. 

For the classical period, we have Boccherini's sonatas and concertos. The sonatas were edited by Paternoster. They are pretty decent. There is nothing better on the market right now. Avoid the Piatti edition of the 6 sonatas. As of Boccherini's concertos edited by Aldo Pais, those are not reliable. You can still learn the pieces from these editions, though. Schott publishes 5 of the 12 concertos, too. Once again, you have to choose between two editions that are not that great. I hope that there will be a push to make a reliable complete Boccherini concerto edition that won't cost an arm and a leg. The Ricordi edition of the quintets by Boccherini is usable. 

Conclusion: Ricordi has a monopoly on much of Italian music from 1650-2020. The earlier the period, the less reliable the edition.

 

Schott 

If Breitkopf is the grandfather of all contemporary publishers, Schott is the great uncle, established in 1770. Schott is the publisher of everyone from Servais, Swert, Reinecke, to Cassadó (1930-1940), Hindemith (with a new complete edition currently being released), Penderecki, Henze, and Shchedrin. Your first edition of Haydn D was probably edited by Gendron, published by Schott. Many of the Gendron editions and Gendron-Françaix collaborations, including the Chopin Polonaise, were published by Schott, 

In the late 1800s, Schott published the "Cello Library," which included the Locatelli-Piatti Sonata, Breval-Cahnbley Sonata in G major, and many misattributed sonatas edited by Alfred Moffat, including the infamous Sammartini G major sonata (composed by Berteau, possibly after Dall'Abaco). 

Schott's more recent venture includes the complete edition of Tchaikovsky's music. Although the research is done by top scholars, the quality and accuracy are highly questionable due to poor proofreading (a general issue with the current state of Schott). 

Another recent edition with dozens of mistakes is their Saint-Saens Suite Op 16 and 16b companion. I recently published an urtext edition of the Suite Op. 16b. I've studied no fewer than 7 sources of the work, including the holograph MS of both the orchestra score and piano reduction, the edition proof, and the final printed score. The Schott edition of Op. 16b, edited by Maria Kliegel, copies every single mistake in the Hamelle piano reduction and adds at least a dozen more of its own mistakes. No edition can be farther from what Saint-Saens intended. 

Conclusion: For Cassadó, Hindemith, Penderecki, Henze, and Shchedrin, Schott is unavoidable at this point. You will have to hunt for inaccuracies yourself, or with an expert. Françaix's compositions and arrangements are worth exploring. Apart from the Gendron cadenza, I would prefer Henle's Haydn D edition, although I'm not a huge fan of that either. The Cello Library editions are interesting, but I would not use them in performances, especially Breval. Locatelli is decent (IMC reprints the Schott). Stay away from any Saint-Saens published by Schott. If you print Servais from IMSLP or get a reprint of any of those works, including the 6 Caprices, get ready to make corrections with a red pen.

 

Schirmer (US distributor Hal Leonard)  

There has been a lot of hostility towards Schirmer from the "urtext" supporters in the last couple of decades. Schirmer is faulted for changing the composer's intentions with extra markings. I would like to remind the readers who love to listen to the American greats from the 1930s to 1970s; their preferred edition was Schirmer. This publisher doesn't claim to be scholarly, but Schirmer makes excellent performers' editions. If you like someone's fingerings or bowings, use them, regardless of the publisher. Schirmer editions are very well engraved and they have their own signature look. That's more than one could say of Breitkopf and Simrock of the same period.  

Schirmer is the edition of the American greats like Barber, Copland, and Corigliano. Those first editions are incredibly consistent. Since Schirmer went to digital engraving, they've been the first in their class, IMHO. I daresay that they easily rival Henle in quality. Just look at their scores to Corigliano's The Red Violin.  

Conclusion: there is no shame in enjoying performing from your Schirmer score. Use it as a reference for fingering and bowings. Learn from the best musicians in the early to mid 20th century. 

 

Universal and Wiener Urtext 

When talking about 20th Century composers, we can't get around talking about Universal. Its catalog includes names like Gaspar Cassadó, Richard Strauss, Max Reger, Béla Bartók, Frederick Delius, Gustav Mahler, Arnold Schoenberg, Anton Webern, Alexander von Zemlinsky, Karol Szymanowski, Leoš Janáček, Kurt Weill, Alban Berg, Luciano Berio, Pierre Boulez, György Kurtág, György Ligeti and Karlheinz Stockhausen, Arvo Pärt, and others. Universal's cover pages and style very much reflected Art Nouveau. 

Universal did engrave their own editions of standard repertoire like Schubert's Trout Quintet, Beethoven's Sonatas, and such. They are comparable to Peters in quality, but definitely with their own signature look; no reprinting here. For anyone who has played Mahler and Strauss's works will note that Universal parts are quite messy. This is true, Universal made much better-looking scores than parts. Would you like the task of engraving orchestra parts for a Mahler or Strauss work? It's stressful just to think about. There is no excuse, though. Fortunately, Universal has re-engraved all of Mahler's symphonies. I got the chance to play Symphony No. 5 one of those. It was much better than the "old standard." Sadly, those parts are only available via rental. Universal's new engravings are basic, but they work, nothing special, but they are clean and accurate. 

What would our review be like if we don't mention the lawsuit threat Universal vs. IMSLP? Universal backed down because IMSLP's server is in Canada, not Austria. Remember, please, that each country has its own copyright law. I live in the US and abide by the US copyright law. If you live in the EU, you should abide by the EU copyright law. But please don't expect me to abide by the EU copyright law with regards to published works especially. If you live in Canada, you have the best copyright law in the Western world. Congratulations! 

Finally, Honda has Acura, Nissan has Infiniti, and Universal has Wiener Urtext. Wiener Urtext is Universal's urtext edition division. This catalog is quite modest, but it's of very high quality. If you can get your hands on it, I highly recommend their editions of Bach's Suites, Brahms's Sonatas, and Vivaldi's Sonatas. In fact, I would get the Wiener Urtext edition of Vivaldi, and avoid Bärenreiter at all costs, because of all of the misprints in Bärenreiter. 

Conclusion: for 20th Century music, you can't avoid getting the Universal Edition. If you buy an old engraving, check with the score to see if there are any inconsistencies in the part. The new engravings are pretty good.

 

YL Edition 

To wrap up my edition reviews, I thought it would be a good idea to review my own publishing company YL Edition. 

I started engraving when I was in high school, mostly interested in engraving my own compositions and making arrangements of violin and piano music. You can see some of my earliest work on IMSLP. I tried to imitate the style of the scores that I was arranging, so you will see that my layout and approach from Dvorak's Romance is very similar to Simrock (IMC reprint). 

I started selling my arrangements and compositions in the early 2010s, printing them at Staples and selling them on eBay. At that point, the goal was just to get the music in print for my own use and to share it with others. This is where most engravers end up. 

In 2016, I started making more editions to seriously increase the cello repertoire, which led me to step up my game and improve the quality of my engraving. This is when I went to a completely digital platform on Sheet Music Plus (SMP). My friend and professional engraver Michele Galvagno convinced me to switch from Finale to Sibelius, at which point my editions started becoming more consistent and clearer. The first edition I published using Sibelius was the Schumann Cello Concerto Critical Edition (technically urtext, because my main source was Schumann’s holograph MS, but I also included a couple of markings from the first edition). I was preparing to play Schumann with orchestra and could not find a reliable, clean edition. Breitkopf Urtext is published with Schiff's markings, which I don't like. 

After that, my catalog grew to include Telemann's Gamba Fantasias and Bach Suites (based on Kellner and Westphal), both of these being my bestsellers. I did not intend to sell the Bach initially, just preparing an edition for personal use, but the edition turned out well, and I was encouraged by colleagues that it was a good product. 

Most editions I publish still begin as projects for personal use or students. I conduct a string orchestra at Bob Jones University, which gives me an outlet for some bigger projects like the CPE Bach’s A major Concerto, Vivaldi Concertos, and various transcriptions of the symphonic repertoire. 

I have a research background, so many of my editions from the last 4 years are scholarly, for example, concertos by Schumann and Saint-Saens (No. 2 first urtext edition on the market), Bloch's Schelomo (first urtext edition on the market), baroque works, and many others. 

All of my research is self-funded, but I keep my prices low because I want to give back to the cello community. Many small businesses charge double or triple the price of what is considered competitive, but I charge what I would want to pay for my own edition minus the printing cost. Since my editions are all digital, I can update any typos right away for my customers to have the latest and best version of the edition. All downloads for updates are free of charge on SMP. This is something Henle also does with the in-app purchases with regards to misprints in their scores and the most recent printing. 

As of Fall 2020, YL Edition has an updated look, which uses custom-made fonts, designed especially for my company by Jawher Matmati. You will notice that French music uses the French C clef, and the rest of the music uses the "standard one." The idea of the different clef styles flowed out of my colleagues' complaint that Henle and Bärenreiter French music editions don't look "French enough." I really appreciate everyone's support of the YL Edition.

Critical Notes Series: Prokofiev's Sinfonia Concertante 

Prokofiev's Sinfonia Concertante is undoubtedly one of the most important concertos in the cello repertoire from the last 70 years. However, the currently available edition is far from perfect. Between the solo part and orchestral score, there are dozens of textual variants and obvious misprints. I would like to compare some of the more conspicuous differences between the composer's autograph (MS) and the other printed sources, which are currently published by Boosey. It is important to note that Prokofiev did not see this work to publication. Anything done beyond the autograph, which is immaculate, was done by Rostropovich and the Soviet state publishers. One general note is the Prokofiev's autograph does not reset the rehearsal numbers in every movement, but has continuous numbering throughout the piece, consistent with his other works/publications.

Movement 1

m. 40: note 1, lower voice is an open C string in the MS. Other sources have an A-flat.
mm. 42 and 43: note 3 and 4, the MS has tenuto marks instead of slurs
m. 50: "Andante primo" tempo marking missing in the solo part and piano score, which is contained in the MS and the orch. score.
m. 58: note 4, lower voice is an eighth-note in the MS and orch. score.
m. 60: note G in the middle voice extends under notes 1-2 in the solo part and piano score; under notes 1-3 in the MS and orch. score.
m. 69: notes 14-16 are G-F-E in the solo part and piano score. Rostropovich plays E-D-Bb, as it appears in the MS and orch. score.

mm. 73-74: all sources have too many beats; dotted rhythm is twice the value.
m. 76: all instruments except for the solo have a cresc. in the MS and orch. score. I suggest a cresc. for the soloist as well.
m. 91: note 7, printed sources has a Gb in the lower voice. MS has a G-natural.
m. 101: espress. and piena voce are contained in the MS and orch. score. The solo part has a f instead.
m. 130, beat 2: lower voice is an E# in the solo part and piano score. The MS and orch. score have an E-natural.


m. 142: notes 5 and 11 have a staccato marking in the solo part and piano score. The orch. score does not have a staccato on those notes.
m. 155 (Reh. 17): notes 5-7 and 9-12 have 2 different readings: top staff is according to the MS and updated cello part; bottom staff is according to the first edition solo part.

m. 197: solo part and piano score missing "Più mosso" tempo text, which is contained in the MS and the orch. score.
m. 223: solo part and piano score missing "Andante primo" tempo text, which is contained in the MS and the orch. score.
m. 223: notes 14-16 are A-G-F# in the solo part and piano score. Rostropovich plays F#-E-C, as printed in the orch. score.


m. 232: the MS does not contain tenuto marks or the slur.
m. 233: the MS does not contain a hairpin.

Movement 2

m. 11: the MS does not contain slurs.
m. 26: notes 1-2 are not slurred in the MS.
m. 45: note 1, the MS contains a staccato mark.
mm. 199-200: the MS has a different reading from the printed sources.

m. 208: notes 8-9 have tenuto marks in the MS and orch. score.
m. 210: orch. score makes a numbering mistake that effects the rest of the bar numbers in this movement.
m. 241-2: solo part and piano score fuse these two bars together without a time signature change; the MS and orch. score correctly has a barline.
m. 245: note 1, the MS has a f dynamic, which is missing from the other sources.
m. 255: notes 1-8, the MS continues the slurring pattern from the previous bar. Notes 3-4 do not have staccato marks.
m. 260: in the analogous passage of the Cello Concerto, Op. 58, this bar is an exact repeat of the previous bar.
m. 262: mf dim. p dynamics in the MS and orch. score.
m. 269: notes 9-16, cresc. hairpin in the MS and orch. score. 
m. 270: note 1, f in the MS and orch. score.
m. 310: notes 1-2 are slurred in the solo part, without a tenuto mark on note 1. 
m. 326: notes 3-4 are E#-F# in the MS and orch. score; F#-G in the solo part and piano score. Rostropovich plays F#-G.

mm. 337-345: the MS slurring is per quarter, not per half as in the printed sources.
m. 389: solo part has a "Poco più mosso." Not contained in any other source.
m. 427: the MS, solo part and piano score have a whole-note; orch. score has a half-note.
m. 429: "Poco più largo" tempo text in only found in the solo part.
m. 497: note 1 is missing # in the solo part. Notes 1-2 have a tremolo in the MS, but slurred in the printed sources.

m. 503: solo part and piano score missing an accent mark.
m. 509: the orch. score has m. 500 printed.

Movement 3

m. 1: metronome marking missing from the MS and orch. score. 
m. 19: the MS and orch. score do not contain the "Vivace" tempo marking.
m. 41: > missing from the orch. score. 
mm. 46-49 are crossed out in red pencil in the MS. These bars are printed in the other sources.
m. 54: staccato marks are missing from the solo part and piano score.
m. 61: dim. missing from the solo part and piano score. 
m. 81 and 84: note 1, the MS and orch. score. do not contain an accent mark.  
m. 103: staccato mark missing from the solo part.
m. 108: f missing from orch. score. 
m. 113: note 4, the MS contains a D#. The printed sources most likely have a misprint of the C-natural, as it does not follow the pattern of the passages around it.

m. 120: arco marking missing in the MS and orch. score. 
m. 126: the following is the reading in the MS and orch. score.

m. 139: > missing in the orch. score. 
m. 155: notes 2-3 missing staccato marks in the orch. score.
m. 182: note 4 missing tenuto mark in the solo part.
m. 215: orch. score has the note 1 rhythm dot on the lower voice; solo part has it on the upper voice.
m. 223: orch. score has a dotted-quarter in the upper voice and a slur on notes 1-3 in the lower voice. 
m. 242: orch. score missing rehearsal number 20. 
m. 250: notes 2-3 have staccato marks in the orch. score. 
m. 264: the MS and orch. score have the following chord.

m. 271: orch. score missing staccato marks.
m. 274: notes 2-3 missing staccato marks in the orch. score. 
m. 275: missing staccato marks in the orch. score. 
m. 276: notes 1-3 missing staccato marks and simile in the orch. score. 
m. 284: orch. score has a quarter-note, solo part has an eighth-note, piano score has an eighth-note without an eighth rest.
m. 322: solo part and piano score missing fermata on beat 4.
mm. 329-330: solo part and piano score missing tenuto marks on notes 1 and 3.
m. 334: the MS does not have slurs. 
m. 336: The MS and orch. score have a dim. but do not have a rit. The solo part is missing dim. but has a rit. 
m. 342: note 1 is a quarter-note misprint in solo part.
m. 343: notes 1-2 missing tenuto marks in the orch. score.
m. 356: note 17 have an > in the MS and orch. score, tenuto in the piano score, and nothing in the solo part.
m. 368: solo part has tenutos on all notes; the MS and orch. score has notes 2-4 slurred without tenutos.
m. 369: notes 4-5 have tenuto marks without a slur in the orch. score. The MS has tenutos on notes 3-5 without a slur.
m. 369: solo part missing f
m. 371: the MS and orch. score has a f; solo part has a ff.
m. 380: lower voice is spelled enharmonically in the MS and orch. score.
mm. 398-401: the MS reading is in the top staff; the other sources are in the bottom staff.

m. 398: ff missing in solo part and piano score. 
m. 401: note 2 missing > in orch. score.

Critical Notes Series: Saint-Saens's Cello Concerto No. 2 

Camille Saint-Saëns (1835-1921) wrote five major works for the cello: a suite with piano (rev. orchestra), two sonatas, and two concertos. Cello Concerto No. 2, Cello Sonata No. 2, and the revision of the early Suite, Op. 16, coming from the composer’s late period, are all fruits of his relationship with the Dutch virtuoso cellist Joseph Hollman (1852-1927). 

The première of the Second Cello Concerto was given by Hollman in Berlin on 4 February 1903, followed by another performance in Paris on 5 and 12 February 1905 with the Orchestre de la Société des Concerts du Conservatoire de Paris under the direction of Georges-Eugène Marty (1860-1908). 

Our edition of the Concerto is the first publication to remove the grand staff from the solo cello part and offer it on a conventional, single staff with standard clefs. 

Perhaps it was the grand staff that presented an obstacle for most cellists, deterring them from learning this beautiful work and thus allowing it to be overshadowed by the first concerto in the genre. Or maybe it was the composer’s own claim that “the work’s level of difficulty is far too great for it to have the same amount of success as my First Cello Concerto” 

Since the work’s conception in 1902, it has gained some following by prominent cellists, especially of the late 20th and early 21st Centuries, notwithstanding the unconventional engraving by Durand. 

The Second Cello Concerto is a tour de force, in the vein of concertos by Dvořák and Prokofiev. It is a cyclic work in two large movements, a composition style Saint-Saëns employed in several of his works, most notably the First Violin Sonata, the Fourth Piano Concerto and the “Organ Symphony.” As in the abovementioned works, the Concerto movements are further divided into two parts, consisting of a four-movement layout of Allegro – Andante (Adagio) – Scherzo – Finale. The tonal scheme of the Concerto is identical to that of the First Violin Sonata: D minor – E-flat major – G minor – D major. 

The concerto opens with a fiery bolero rhythm, which permeates part I of the first movement. An organ-like woodwind transition leads into the more serene part II, based on the ascending line from the opening theme of the work. Both parts of the first movement have elements of sonata and ternary forms. The movement closes with an ascending scale in harmonics by the soloist (as in the First Concerto) and a peaceful horn call, whose melodic content is reminiscent of Richard Strauss’s Till Eulenspiegel. The beauty of the Andante portion of this movement is only rivaled by the Adagio from the “Organ Symphony.” 

The frantic opening of the second movement gives way to a relentless perpetual motion by the soloist. The woodwinds punctuate the solo line with a new version of the opening bolero figure. This Scherzo unfolds in sonata form, which is abruptly halted by a free cadenza based again on the bolero motive. A trumpet fanfare announces a complete restatement of the two themes of the opening bolero, now in the major mode, and settling in the joyous Finale, based on an inverted Andante theme. The Finale, part II of the second movement, is similar in nature to the brief A-major coda found at the end of the First Cello Concerto. 

The solo part is based on the holograph manuscript (in the hand of Saint-Saëns), the orchestra score published in Paris by Durand & Fils, January 1903 (Plate D. & F. 6190), and the solo part published by Durand in December 1902 (Plate D. & F. 6188). The piano reduction is by the composer as published by Durand in December 1902 (Plate D. & F. 6188). Textual variants are noted in the footnotes. 

Special thank you to Michele Galvagno, Nora Karakousoglou, and Fanny Nemeth-Weiss for offering their expertise.

Critical Notes Series: Herbert's Cello Concerto No. 1 (first edition) 

Today, Victor Herbert is best remembered for his operettas, but he was an accomplished cellist, a student of the infamous Cossmann, and a composer of some lovely cello works. As much as it is difficult to believe, Herbert's Cello Concerto No. 1 has not been published until now. Composed in 1884, while Herbert resided in Stuttgart, the first cello concerto has been circulated in manuscript form via paid reprinting companies such as Kalmus and Luck's Music Library, but never properly engraved or published. Today marks a momentous occasion when this masterpiece is published for the first time in 2021 by YL Edition in a beautifully engraved, newly created piano reduction and cello part. We call it the "first edition," dedicated to the memory of Lynn Harrell, who was the first cellist to record this concerto. You may purchase your copy at this link: Cello Concerto No. 1 (first edition)

Our edition is based on the manuscript cello solo part, supposedly in Herbert's hand, and the orchestra score, copied out by a second hand. Both sources can be sparse at times with regards to slurring, dynamics and articulations. The solo part has a few missing accidentals. However, the orchestra score has more than a fair share of wrong notes, usually a step off in either directions, and in the F major section of the first movement has the wrong clef for the cello solo, making it sound a fifth lower than what is desired. The solo part gives an empty bar marked "Kadenz," but the orchestra score presents the start of an idea (3 bars in a wrong clef) for the cadenza and the ending (6 bars), with a note that says that the 16 middle bars are missing. It is not evident where the number 16 comes from, but the editor of this publication has supplied a re-composed 16 bars to connect the two sections. Lynn Harrell and Mark Kosower composed their own cadenzas for their recordings.

Movement I

Much of Herbert's first concerto is joyful, sometimes nostalgic. It has none of the angst of the second concerto (1894), which inspired Dvorak to write his B minor concerto later that year. Herbert begins his first concerto with a woodwind fanfare in D major, a march reminiscent of Wagner. Especially sweet is the diminished harmony in m. 3, with its accented passing note C#. Marked "Allegro con spirito," the movement promises to be a fun sonata form, but Herbert does the unexpected, presenting the opening movement in ternary form (ABA). Each section is self-contained in its respective key, D major - F major - D major. Herbert makes the long term modulations during the tuttis between the sections. The opening tutti is not quite a sonata form exposition. The first 16 bars would constitute the "first theme," but mm. 17-26 set up the soloist with a dominant pedal. However, mm. 17-26 are important because they contain the musical cell that Herbert develops at length in the F major B section. The B section is the only part of the piece that is orchestrated with a harp. A trombone choir A major sets up the soloist to improvise a cadenza, which then brings the return of the A theme and short closing tutti.

Movement II

The Andante movement is a nostalgic piece that could have easily been composed by Grieg, with Herbert's use of orchestration, harmonies and melodic gestures. But Herbert brings a twist on this slow movement, marking the middle section, "Scherzo vivace." A slow movement with a fast middle section is not new to Herbert. Beethoven was doing this as early as his Op.18, No. 2 string quartet (1799). Lalo's cello concerto (1876) contains a fast, scherzo-like section in the slow movement, which comes back verbatim two times in the ABAB form. The earliest cello concerto to call the middle section of the slow movement "Scherzo" is Julius Klengel's Cello Concerto No. 2, composed a year before Herbert's concerto, in 1883. Klengel was an eminent cellist, composer, and pedagogue. Undoubtedly, Herbert knew Klengel's playing and work. The tutti at m. 139 almost has a Mahlerian sound in its orchestration and harmonies, particularly reminiscent of his lighter scherzos. This is just an observation and it is unlikely that Herbert and Mahler crossed paths in 1884 or before. Herbert's Scherzo transitions back to the Andante via two very high harmonics on the A string, A and B. The movement ends on a high A harmonic.

Movement III

The finale is a humorous polka (not a polonaise, as one author calls it). The rondo theme, in this sonata-rondo movement, gives a nod to other light opera composers such as Offenbach and Bizet, but with an earthy tone, something akin to Grieg. After the second tutti, Herbert brings in what could be the second theme, in G minor, but this movement is too light to stay there. This theme, complete as it is, is just an overly dramatic passing shadow towards Herbert's musical quip in B-flat major (later in D major). This jestful section has laughing bassoons and French horns, flirtatious upper winds, incomplete phrases, jerky harmonic movement, and a nod to Klengel's Concerto No. 2 finale. The coda of Herbert's finale is a whirlwind of parallel diminished harmonies with a perpetual motion solo cello, reminiscent of one of David Popper's codas.

Critical Notes Series: Weber's Grand Potpourri 

Often, when looking for the first "real" concerto to give to our students, we go to the list that includes Haydn C, Saint-Saëns 1, Lalo, and Boccherini-Grützmacher. I would like to present to you Carl Maria von Weber's Grand Potpourri, Op. 20. Weber wrote this piece while he was the artistic director at Hofkapelle Stuttgart. The inscription on the title page reads: "Grand Potpourri pour le Violoncelle composé et dédié à son ami Graff Professeur de Violoncelle au service de S.M. le roi de Würtemberg par Charles Marie B. de Weber Op. 20 1808 in Stuttgard komponirt."

The Grand Potpourri is in D major and consists of 4 movements, which are performed without pause. This concerto is very tuneful, but also has several virtuosic passages, primarily octaves and upper positions (centered on harmonics). The first movement is a majestic introduction. The second movement is an Andante with variations. Feuermann recorded this movement with piano in an arrangement by Grützmacher. The transition into the third movement is a place for an improvised cadenza. The third movement is a searching Adagio with a Fandango middle section. The Fandango section is quite acrobatic for the soloist, but always idiomatic. The finale is a stylized Ukrainian Kozachok in rondo form. 

There are a few recordings of the Grand Potpourri, such as by Raphael Wallfisch, Natalia Gutman, Thomas Blees, Anner Bylsma, Martin Ostertag, and a couple of others. This work has not shared the popularity of Weber's clarinet concertos, but it's very much in the operatic style of the clarinet pieces.

The number of editions of this work is also very slim. The Eulenberg edition (Schott) publishes the orchestra score, edited by Franz Beyer. The companion piano reduction is published by Kunzelmann. Although the Beyer edition claims to be scholarly, it has dozens of wrong notes, rhythms, articulations, clefs, accidentals, and dynamics. It is based on the first edition set of parts and does not take into account the manuscript. A highly edited Simrock edition also exists. There used to be a Grützmacher edition, which Feuermann used for his recording, but thankfully it's now out of print.

YL Edition felt the need to make a faithful edition according to the manuscript. We hope that our edition will make this work more popular among students and professionals alike. You may purchase your copy of the Grand Potpourri here.

Critical Notes Series: Barber's Cello Concerto 

Undoubtedly, Barber's concerto is one of the greatest of the 20th century. In my Critical Notes Series, I typically look at misprints and textual variants. But the solo part of Barber's concerto was proofread with a great amount of accuracy. The basic differences are enharmonic spellings, beaming, and a couple of slur placements. However, I would like to discuss the technical aspect of a few spots in the solo part. 

The first passage I would like to address is poorly notated in the solo part. The passage below is from the first movement, 3rd-9th bars of #18 (pardon my well-loved part).

The harmonic signs over the F#'s look confusing to me, especially right next to very clearly notated harmonics. Just as a side note, in the holograph manuscript, 6-7 after #18 are penciled in, and the harmonic symbols (0) above the F#'s are penciled in. Here is what Barber has in the orchestra score:

In the orchestra score, the concert pitch is notated for all of the harmonic notes. That's helpful! Here is what it looks like when the harmonics are notated properly for cello:

This is definitely playable. Why not notate it like this? The cello is in the background anyway. Here is a simpler version if you don't want to stretch the lower F#:

You will notice that some of the notes were shifted up an octave. This is the solution that I preferred the last time I played this piece. You can always play this passage without harmonics but flautando as printed in the orchestra score. At least you'll know that you are playing the intended pitches. What is your favorite solution?

Another awkward spot is the pizz. glissando at 2 bars before #12 in the first movement (bass clef).

How do you keep the tied note going for 3 beats? You can play the E with your 2nd finger; it will get you halfway there. Yo-Yo Ma plays the long note arco. That's how I've played it in the past. Here is Nelsova's solution (restriking the top 2 notes before sliding up):

There are also a few passages where both Nelsova and Garbousova cut out the lower voice of double-stop passages, for example in the first movement before #27 and the finale at #34, among others. Here is Nelsova's simplification of the first movement passage at #29:

Another odd spot is in the first movement, 3rd-4th bars of #25. This harmony is a D quintal harmony: D-A-E-B. The cellos and basses move from the D pedal (bars 3-4) to a C pedal (bars 5-6). The solo cello doubles this motion:

The G sounds wrong to me, but I know that many cellists since the Nelsova recording have played the printed D as a G. Let's not copy Nelsova's other bloopers...

Critical Notes Series: Haydn's Divertimento arr. by Piatigorsky 

Undoubtedly, Joseph Haydn's Divertimento is a staple of the cello repertoire. Besides the 2 cello concertos, Haydn didn't leave us with any sonatas, so a fancy arrangement for cello and piano is always welcome. The story of Piatigorsky's arrangement is not as simple as one might think.

In the 1920s, the French cellist Pierre Ruyssen was trailblazing pedagogical cello arrangements much like his colleague Louis Feuillard. One of the arrangements for cello and piano was a set of two divertimentos (Deux Divertissements pour baryton) by Haydn. The second of these divertimentos is in D major and in four movements. The movements are as follows:

Adagio (first movement from Baryton Trio Hob. XI:113)
Allegro di molto (second movement from Baryton Trio Hob. XI:113)
Menuet. Allegretto (third movement from Baryton Trio Hob. XI:95, "menuetto" in the MS)
Finale. Vivace (third movement from Baryton Trio Hob.XI:81)

Ruyssen's transcription sticks very closely to the distribution of the voices: the cello takes the baryton part, the piano right hand takes the viola part, and the piano left-hand takes the cello part. Ruyssen is not fanciful with ornamentation and does not introduce too many changes.

In comes Piatigorsky, probably studying the Ruyssen arrangement as a student, or hearing another student perform the arrangement. He obviously saw the potential of Ruyssen's work to become a virtuoso cello piece. Piatigorsky took Ruyssen's arrangement as the skeleton for his own 1944 "transcription," rearranging the order of the movements, dropping the finale, and heavily ornamenting both cello and piano parts. The new order of the movements is as follows:

Adagio (first movement from Baryton Trio Hob. XI:113)  
Menuet (third movement from Baryton Trio Hob. XI:95, "menuetto" in the MS) 
Allegro di molto (second movement from Baryton Trio Hob. XI:113)

Reordering movements was common in the 20th century; we see this in the reordering of Boccherini's famous A-major cello sonata, where cellists commonly play the Adagio movement first (Boccherini had the Allegro movement first) and drop the finale.

It is highly unlikely that Piatigorsky ever saw Haydn's original trios. He was obviously working from the Ruyssen arrangement. His choices of movements and spelling of "Menuet," are 2 of many markers to demonstrate this. The new melody in the Trio section of the Menuet closely resembles the rhythm of the Trio in Haydn's Symphony No. 85. 

Piatigorsky reharmonized the Divertimento in places, so it sounds more like a Kreisler "in the style of" piece than Haydn's original. For example, Piatigorsky goes to a 3rd inversion dominant harmony in m. 2 of the Adagio. Haydn would have resolved it to a 1st inversion tonic harmony in m. 3, but Piatigorsky's ornamentation of the cello melody does not allow for that resolution. But enough about music theory for today.