Instrument of the Year 2018: The Cello

Even though the year is drawing to a close, there is still enough time to take a look at the Instrument of the Year. Last year, the state music councils in Germany selected the oboe to be the Instrument of the Year. This year, it is the cello.

At RISM, a search using "vlc" (the RISM abbreviation for cello) leads to over 102,000 results. We would like to highlight some solo concertos and quartets from this wealth of sources.

The autograph manuscript of a Rondo for cello and orchestra by cellist Friedrich August Kummer (1797-1879) is now in Dresden (D-Dl Mus.4869-O-13).

The cellist Domenico Lanzetti, who lived at the end of the 18th century, is somewhat unknown today. Five of his cello concertos and two cello sonatas are in RISM so far, all of which are located in Berlin today.

The sketches for string quartets by Beethoven, such as the first movement of his Quartet in E-flat, op. 127 (in US-NYj), are a special challenge (but that’s why they are so fascinating).

It is much easier to read the autograph manuscript of Emilie Mayer's Quartet in A (D-B Mayer, E. 19 M).

Searching for cello players in the RISM database shows how the cello was a "man’s instrument" until into the 20th century; of the more than 500 cellists in RISM, only 7 are women. Under the pretext that holding the instrument (between the legs!) was unladylike, women were barred from playing it for a long time. An exception is the French cellist Lisa Cristiani (1827-1853). In RISM, she appears as the dedicatee of Mendelssohn's Lied ohne Worte, op. 109 (CZ-Pu 59 C 311).

Image via Wikimedia Commons.






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