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.


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

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)

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

Aria Russa, Op. 32 (variations on Schöne Minka) - Listen, Score

Dumky Trio, Op. 90

Air Russe Varié No.2, Op. 32 (Urtext Edition)  (variations on Schöne Minka) - Listen, Score

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

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)

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

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

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

Sonata - Listen, Score

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

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

Shchedryk (aka Carol of the Bells)

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

Sonata in G minor - ListenScore

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.

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.

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 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

1 comment