Critical Notes Series: Brandukov's Short Pieces

Brandukov - Collection of 10 Pieces for Cello and Piano

Anatoly Brandukov (1859-1930) was a Russian virtuoso cellist and composer. Today, he is remembered as the dedicated of Peter Tchaikovsky's Pezzo Capriccioso and Sergei Rachmaninov's Two Pieces, Op. 2, and Cello Sonata, Op. 19.  

During his lifetime, Brandukov published around a dozen of his compositions, mainly short pieces for cello and piano. His output also includes four or five cello concertos and piano works that were never published. In volume 3 of his History of the Art of the Cello (История Виолончельного Искусства), Lev Ginzburg discusses the E-minor Cello Concerto at length. The manuscripts of the concertos are housed at the Tchaikovsky State House-Museum in Klin. Other works, letters, and photographs are housed at the Russian National Museum of Music in Moscow.

In this edition, we present ten of Brandukov's pieces that were published during his lifetime. In 1885, Jurgenson published Six Pieces. The centerpiece of the set is the Nocturne (No. 2). The other pieces draw inspiration from Russian composers like Anton Rubinstein and Karl Davydov. Five of the six pieces carry dedications. The first piece, Nuit de Printemps, is dedicated to Brandukov's cello teacher Guillaume Fitzenhagen. The serene Nocturne is dedicated to Alfred Fallot, the grandfather of the cellist Guy Fallot and business partner of the car manufacturer Armand Peugeot. Romance sans Paroles is dedicated to Vera Khludova, the wife of Mikhail Khludov, a Russian businessman and manufacturer. Romance has no dedication. The Mazurka is dedicated to Edgar Jacot des Combes. The Gavotte is dedicated to the French lawyer and music historian Jules Gallay.


In 1887, Durand published Brandukov's Elegie in E minor. This work existed in E-flat minor as well, as can be seen in an autographed photo by Carl Reutlinger (1816-88). The Elegie was dedicated to Countess Olga Chertkova. During the same year, Durand also published Pesnia (Song), which is not included in our volume.


In 1901, A. Noël of Paris published six works by Brandukov, Opp. 8-13. These works are the only ones by Brandukov with opus numbers. Our volume includes Opp. 8-10. These works are markedly more mature than the works published in the 1880s. The Nocturne and Sur l'Eau deserve special attention. Sur l'Eau is reminiscent of Anatoly Lyadov's Le Lac enchanté. Ironically, Brandukov's piece predates Lyadov's by eight years. Sur l'Eau is dedicated to Countess Emanuela Potocka. Brandukov must have been aware of the wordplay between the common Slavic word "potok" (stream) and the title of the piece. Feuillet d'Album, is also similar to Lyadov in style.

We hope that these short pieces will enrich cellists' recital repertoire.

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