Vivaldi was quite generous with cellists, gifting them no fewer than twenty-five solo concertos, ten solo sonatas, a concerto for two cellos, three with violin, and many other concertos grosso where the cello plays a concertante role.
RV 398 C major Grade: 2 Highest position used: 3 Clef(s): bass Other features: syncopations Edition links: Orchestra; Piano About the work: Vivaldi's RV 398 cello concerto is perfect for a student who is finishing up Suzuki Book 2. The first movement is based on an interesting rhythm, which is introduced by the imitation between the violins in the ritornello. The second movement is accompanied only by the basso continuo, making it sound like a sonata. The finale is a graceful minuet.
RV 416G minorGrade: 3Highest position used: 4Clef(s): bass and tenorOther features: syncopations in the first movementEdition links: Orchestra; PianoAbout the work: Vivaldi's RV 416 cello concerto begins with an off-kilter dotted rhythm that pervades the entire first movement. The second movement is in binary form, accompanied only by the basso continuo. The finale is an exciting courante with imitation in the violins during the ritornellos.
RV 407D minor Grade: 3Highest position used: 4; 5 in m. 15 (approached stepwise)Clef(s): bass and tenorOther features: string crossings Edition links: Orchestra; PianoAbout the work: Vivaldi's RV 407 concerto begins with an energetic canon between the violins. The soloist is required to play the obbligato part for the first 7 bars. The notation of these bars is shorthand and may be interpreted as printed or with alternating 16th notes between the D and A strings. The slow movement is a sarabande over a unison ground bass. The finale is an exciting gigue in binary form.
RV 422A minor Grade: 3Highest position used: 4 (A harmonic)Clef(s): bass and tenorEdition links: Orchestra; PianoAbout the work: Vivaldi's RV 422 concerto is arguably the most well-known solo cello concerto by the composer. This work appears in many collections of concertos for students around the world. The solo part is not as varied with regards to technique as other Vivaldi concertos of this difficulty level. The first movement ritornellos have an interesting interplay between the violins. The second movement is accompanied only by the basso continuo, making it sound like a sonata. Much of the finale has unison strings, so the energy comes mostly from rhythm and tempo. A part of the finale is also used in the RV 333 violin concerto and RV 491 bassoon concerto finales.
RV 421A minor Grade: 3 Highest position used: 4 (A harmonic)Clef(s): bass and tenorOther features: the soloist imitates lute/guitar tremolo in mm. 40-50 of the finale.Edition links: Orchestra; PianoAbout the work: Vivaldi's RV 421 cello concerto begins with a slower first movement with imitative violins. Vivaldi inserts a half measure in order to realign the phrase in the first movement m. 33. The slow movement is accompanied only by the basso continuo, where the melodic line is similar to the third movement of cello sonata RV 45. The finale brings excitement with syncopations.
RV 419A minorGrade: 3Highest position used: 4 (A harmonic); 6 (first movement, m. 29 is approached linearly)Clef(s): bass and tenorEdition links: Orchestra; PianoAbout the work: Vivaldi's RV 419 is one of five cello concertos he composed in A minor. The first-movement ritornellos are driven by the motivic motor in the bass. The tranquil slow movement is accompanied by an off-beat basso continuo. The finale is an exciting ground-bass-variation minuet. The special feature in the finale is the tremolo in the solo and violin II parts.
RV 408E-flat major Grade: 3 Highest position used: 4; 5 (sparingly) Clef(s): bass and tenorOther features: fast passagework in the finaleEdition links: Orchestra; PianoAbout the work: Vivaldi's RV 408 is the only one of his cello concertos in E-flat major. The outer movements of this work are full of joy. The syncopated bass line of the first movement makes it even more exciting. A very similar ritornello is used in the opening movement of the RV 259 violin concerto. The solemn slow movement is accompanied only by the basso continuo, making it sound like a sonata. This movement is in C minor but briefly moves to B-flat minor in its more chromatic passage. The melody of this movement is also used in the opening movement of the RV 12 violin sonata. The finale is a springy minuet with a few challenging shifts in mm. 26-34. The key signature has only 2 flats, one of the ways of notating the E-flat-major key signature in the baroque period.
RV 401C minor Grade: 3 Highest position used: 5; 6 and 7 are used only in mm. 61-63 in the finaleClef(s): bass and tenorOther features: advanced string crossings; fast passage workEdition links: Orchestra; PianoAbout the work: Vivaldi's RV 401 includes some of the most beautiful harmonies the composer wrote. The tempos are generally slower in comparison to other concertos by Vivaldi. This work requires a high skill level to play the fast passages and string crossing. The first movement is also used as a slow movement (Larghetto) to the RV 189 violin concerto and has melodic similarity to the RV 40 cello sonata opening movement. The viola and violin 2 parts double each other throughout.
RV 423B-flat major Grade: 3 Highest position used: 4; 5 and 6 (approached stepwise) briefly used (mm. 82-85) along with the thumb (m. 84) in the first movementClef(s): bass and tenorEdition links: Orchestra; PianoAbout the work: Vivaldi's RV 423 cello concerto is a joyful work where the ritornellos punctuate the solo sections, as well as play their normal role of the "tutti" sections. The slow movement is a lamenting sarabande. The finale is a corrente in binary form. A part of the finale is used in the Corrente movement of the RV 20 (Op. 2, No. 4) violin sonata.
RV 400C major Grade: 4 Highest position used: thumb position (first movement, D5); 5 (second and third movements)Clef(s): bass and tenorOther features: advanced string crossingsEdition links: Orchestra; PianoAbout the work: Vivaldi's RV 400 cello concerto is a joyful work that requires ample technique and finesse. The first movement opens with an interplay between the violins, also used as the ritornello of the finale of the RV 286 violin concerto. The slow movement is a tranquil sarabande, accompanied only by the basso continuo, making it sound like a sonata. This movement is also found crossed out in the autograph of the RV 181 violin concerto (Giordano 29, f.93 verso). Interestingly, the solo part of this movement is in tenor clef in the violin-concerto manuscript. The cello-concerto finale is a sturdy minuet. Many of the techniques used in this concerto are also found in Bach's C-major cello suite.
RV 424B minor Grade: 4 Highest position used: thumb position (first movement); 6 (second movement); 7 (third movement)Clef(s): bass, tenor and trebleEdition links: Orchestra; PianoAbout the work: Vivaldi's RV 424 is one of his more technically involved cello concertos. The soloist is required to play an F#5. All of the high positions are always approached stepwise, making the solo part very comfortable to play. The ritornellos on the outer movements include voice crossings in the violins and violas, making for an interesting texture. The slow movement is accompanied only by the basso continuo, with a sound of a sonata. This slow movement is one of the more rhythmically complex pieces by Vivaldi.
La Campanella evokes the tinkling of little bells, thus the title. It was originally the last movement of the second violin concerto by the incomparable Italian violin virtuoso, Niccolò Paganini (1782-1840). Franz Liszt (1811-1886) who greatly admired Paganini, took its main melodies and incorporated them into the third of his fiendishly difficult Paganini Etudes of 1838. Other composers attracted by the immediately likeable theme of the Paganini original included Ferruccio Busoni (1866-1924), who made a glittering piano solo version, Fritz Kreisler (1875-1962), who arranged the original for violin and piano to enable it to be played in recital rather than in an orchestral concert, and Paul Kochanski (1877-1934), who also arranged the work for violin and piano.
Dedicated to the Spanish violin virtuoso, Pablo de Sarasate, the Introduction and Rondo Capriccioso was written in 1863. The widely traveled Saint-Saëns wrote two other pieces in this virtuoso style for violin and orchestra, the Havanaise and the Caprice Andalous. He also wrote three violin concertos, of which the third, in B minor, is the best known.
Saint-Saëns wrote three concertos, a handful of showpieces, and two sonatas for the violin. The reigning characteristics in a majority of his works are the presence of nostalgia and exotic sensuality; passion, self-indulgence, and outward nonchalance co-exist. In his Violin Sonata in D minor, written in 1885, lyricism is combined with sheer bravura and a last movement that could be considered one of the most exciting in the repertoire.
By the time Strauss wrote the Violin Sonata, he was no longer a novice in music or in writing for the violin although he was still in his early twenties. He had played the violin since he was 8, and in 1882 had already written a violin concerto. In addition, some of his chamber music had prominent and challenging violin parts. Needless to say, his thorough knowledge of the instrument was a great asset in composing such a virtuoso piece. 2b1af7f3a8