You might enjoy comparing the Cello Concerto with the three chamber works Elgar wrote
just before it: the Violin Sonata, the Piano Quintet and the String
Quartet.While these chamber works have many similarities with the Cello Concerto,
Elgar's Violin Concerto of 1911 is a very different
work. It is half again as long, and expansive, rather than concentrated like the
later works. Elgar was a violinist himself, and the work reveals an exceptional
understanding of the instrument. Many Elgarians consider the Violin Concerto the
height of Elgar's accomplishments as a composer, and there are many inspired
performances to choose from, including one by Yehudi Menuhin and the composer,
recorded in 1932.
More works for cello : Perhaps what makes the cello so appealing is
that its timbre is closest of any instrument to that of the human voice. If listening to
Elgar's Cello Concerto makes you want to explore the instrument further, here are
some highlights of its repertory :
- J. S. Bach : Cello Suites, No. 1-6 (1720):
Few works have ever plumbed the depths of the instrument's character as productively as these
suites for unaccompanied cello.
- Franz Joseph Hadyn : Concerto for Cello and Orchestra No. 2 in D major
Contains a famous adagio and was an important landmark in the cello's
development as a solo instrument.
- Ludwig van Beethoven : Cello Sonata No. 3 (1808):
Composed at the
same time as his Pastoral Symphony. A tuneful and lyrical work that makes the most of the
instrument's resonant voice.
- Camille Saint-Saens : Cello Concerto No. 1 in A minor (1880):
A dazzling showcase for the soloist's virtuosity but also an impressively concentratedand
- Antonin Dvorak : Cello Concerto in B minor (1895):
The cello in heroic mode. Written at the pinnacle of Dvorak's artistry, the work is intensely
dramatic and contains some of his most memorable melodies. It influenced Elgar's Violin
Concerto, which is written in the same key.
- Claude Debussy : Sonata in D minor (1915):
Like Elgar, Debussy turned
from orchestral music to chamber music during the war. A spare and evocative nocturne.