Critical Notes Series: Ukrainian Cello Music

I would like to offer a list of Ukrainian music and Ukraine inspired music that will enrich your repertoire. In some cases, you might already have these works in your repertoire. This list is by no means exhaustive. If you find a work that you like, I will be happy to add it. NB: There are some works on this list that are not originally for cello, but I believe can successfully be played on the cello. In the future, I might consider making a collection of arrangements of these works.

 

Akimenko
Cello Sonata, Op. 37 - Score
Two Pieces, Op. 11- Score

Beethoven
Schöne Minka from 10 National Airs with Variations, Op.107 - ListenScore (transcribed for cello)
Note: Schöne Minka is the most famous Ukrainian folk song, better known as "The Kozak went beyond the Danube" and "You lied and deceived" (a humorous days-of-the-week song)

Bortkiewicz
Cello Concerto, Op. 20 - Listen
Three Pieces, Op. 25 - Score

Dvořák
Dumky Trio, Op. 90

Gliere
Ballade, Op. 4 - Listen, Score
Cello Concerto - Listen, Score
12 Album Leaves for Cello and Piano, Op. 51 - Listen, Score
8 Duets for Violin and Cello, Op. 39 - Listen, Score
10 Duets for 2 Cellos, Op. 53 - Listen, Score

Glinka
Ruslan and Lyudmila - Score
Note: This opera is set in Kyiv. Besides the overture that your orchestra might program often, I would like to recommend a few arias that will work great on cello from the vocal score: Lyudmila's Cavatina (Act 1), Ruslan's Aria (Act 2), Ratmir's Aria (Act 3)

Ishchenko
Adagietto and Scherzino for Cello and Piano - Listen
Rhapsody - Listen, Score
Cello Concerto No. 2 - Listen
Cello Sonata No. 1 - Listen
Cello Sonata No. 2 - Listen

Hubarenko
Concerto Grosso for Violin, Viola, Cello and Strings - Listen

Hulak-Artemovsky
Zaporozhets za Dunayem (Zaporozhets beyond the Danube) Andriy's aria - ListenScore
Note: Andriy's aria may be played directly from the vocal score.

Kosenko
Sonata - Listen, Score

Laniuk
Etudes - Listen, Score (available from Disentis Sordino Ediziuns Musikalas)
Sonata for Solo Cello - Listen, Score (available from Disentis Sordino Ediziuns Musikalas)

Leonovich
Fantasie-impromptu for Cello Solo - Score
Koheleth for Cello Solo - ListenScore
Rusalka Fantasia for Cello and Piano - Score
Serenade for Cello Solo - ListenScore
Solomon for Cello and Piano- Score
Sonatensatz for Cello and Piano - ListenScore
9 Short Pieces for Cello and Piano - ListenScore
Sonata for Violin and Cello - ListenScore

Leontovych
Shchedryk (aka Carol of the Bells)

Lysenko
Elegy "La Tristesse," Op. 39 for Cello and Piano - Listen, Score

Lyzohub
Sonata in G minor - ListenScore

Modzelewski
Mazur, Op. 9 - Score
Mazur No. 3, Op. 16 - Score
Rhapsodie, Op. 15 - Score
Valse, Op. 10 - Score
Note: Other works are also found on IMSLP. There are no recordings of Modzelewski's works.

Musorgsky
Hopak from Sorochinsky Fair arr. Rachmaninov for Violin and Piano - Listen, Score
Great Gate of Kyiv from Pictures at an Exhibition, arr. for Cello and Piano by Charles Schiff - Listen, Score
Note: Night on the Bald Mountain is also based in Kyiv.

Ornstein
2 Cello Pieces, SO 620
Cello Sonata No.1, SO 612
Cello Sonata No.2, SO 613
Composition No.1 for Cello and Piano, SO 619
Six Preludes for 'Cello and Piano
Note: Complete cello works were recorded by Joshua Gordon - Listen 

Popper
Fantasy on Little Russian (Ukrainian) Songs, Op. 43 - Listen, Score, Additional Information

Prokofiev
Ballade, Op. 15 - Listen
Sinfonia Concertante, Op. 125
Sonata, Op. 119
Sonata, Op. 134 (Unfinished) - Listen
Note: Prokofiev was born in Sontsovka, Ukraine.

Servais
Fille du Regiment Fantasia, Op. 16 - Listen, Score
Souvenir de Czernowitz, Op. 21 - Score
Note: La Fille fantasia was dedicated to the Ukrainian composer Modzelewski. Servais also had a piece called Souvenir de Kiev, but it is now considered lost.

Skoryk
A-RI-A for cello and piano - Score
Cello Concerto - Listen

Shtoharenko
Ballad in Memory of Lysenko - Listen, Score
Cello Sonata - Listen

Stutschewsky
Kaddish - Listen, Score, Additional Information
Note: Stutschewsky was born in Romny, Ukraine, but later moved to Israel.

Szymanowski
Violin Sonata - Listen, Score
Mythes - Listen, Score (arr. for cello and piano)
Note: Szymanowski was born in Kyiv, Ukraine, but later moved to Poland.

Tchaikovsky
Lullaby from Mazeppa arr. Milstein - Listen, Score
Note: Tchaikovsky's Piano Concerto No. 1 and Symphony No. 2 are largely based on Ukrainian folk songs.

Znosko-Borovsky - Improvisation and Humoresque for Cello Solo - Listen

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