1. Things you need to know about the new ‘Conversations’ PM system:

    a) DO NOT REPLY TO THE NOTIFICATION EMAIL! I get them, not the intended recipient. I get a lot of them and I do not want them! It is just a notification, log into the site and reply from there.

    b) To delete old conversations use the ‘Leave conversation’ option. This is just delete by another name.
    Dismiss Notice

(Modern?) cello music recommendations please

Discussion in 'music' started by dan m, Feb 18, 2005.

  1. dan m

    dan m pfm Member


    I picked up an album on the Artia label at a thrift store with cello and piano sonatas by Britten (Op.65) and Kabalevsky (Op.71). I have zero knowledge about these more modern composers but enjoy these pieces. I was hoping the classical experts here could make some recommendations for other cello and piano pieces in a similar vain. Inexpensive stuff on Naxos would be great!


  2. RSC

    RSC pfm Member

    Not classical, I'm no expert, but for a different take on what a cello can do, check out a group called "Apocalyptica".
    They're from Finland (I think) and did an album of Metallica covers, using just four elderly cellos, played by the group members.
    The CD I've got is called "Apocalyptica Plays Metallica By Four Cellos", on Mercury Finland, from 1996. It certainly works, for me!
  3. duncan

    duncan ...

    I don't know the Kabalevsky, but two cousins of the Britten might be Shostakovich and Prokofiev's 'Cello Sonatas. They don't seem to be available on Naxos but, in any case, it would be worth paying a little extra for someone like Rostropovich's playing. If you get on with Shostakovich, then other chamber works of his like the second Piano trio (Violin, 'Cello, Piano) and Piano Quintet would be well worth investigating. Very modern and very different to Shostakovich but if you're feeling adventurous you might try Boulez' Messagesquisse (for 7 'Cellos!). The greatest music for this instrument are the Bach (solo) 'Cello suites. A lifetime’s listening. Alternatively, if you'd like to try some larger scale Britten, the Sinfonia da Requiem, Sea Interludes from Peter Grimes and the Serenade for Tenor, Horn and Strings would be good starting points.
  4. Eric L

    Eric L pfm Member

    Dan, as you can probably guess there is an immensity of contemporary classical chamber music to explore. I agree with Duncan about Shostakovich being a good starter if you like Britten and Kabalevski (Prokofiev proves a bit more difficult for many, myself included). Schostakovich's chamber music is anchored by his 15 quartets, the worst of which are merely very good and the best of which are sublime. There are many renditions: my personal favorite is by the Fitzwilliam quartet, but the Emerson and Borodin are also very good, and there doubtless other greats that I haven't heard.

    By the way, if you're buying classical music, cost is pretty much a non-issue if you're willing to look around and use eBay. Classical CDs and LPs go for so little on eBay that it's a cultural embarassment (not that I'm a snob or anything :p ). I just hopped over and looked for S.'s quartets, and sure enough, the complete Fitzwilliam quartet set on 6 CDs just sold for $12.55. Incredible.

    There are so many other things from Shostakovich's hand alone that it's hard to narrow things down, but since you mentioned cello explicitly either of S.'s cello concertos are very good (the second is better, IMO). And there are many other contemporary composers routinely buried beneath the endless Beethoven/Mahler/Rachmaninov worship. A handful of noteworthies include: Alfred Schnittke (a brilliant, more radical, and younger version of Shostakovich), Bela Bartok (quartets are also brilliant but more challenging), Paul Hindemith (close to Britten in many ways), and Kryztof Penderecki (very exciting contemporary Polish composer: second cello conterto is a good starter).

    Anyway, I'd say start with something like Shostakovich's quartets, or one of his other chamber works, and listen to them for a few months.

  5. lordsummit

    lordsummit Moderator

    There's a some cracking stuff by Kodaly. An unacompanied sonata, and also one with piano. Often they're all on one CD.
    The Martinu ones are pretty good too. Both of these are available on amazon uk on what looks like good quality mid-price recordings


  6. dan m

    dan m pfm Member

    Thanks all - now I have a place to start. I'm off to Borders for some immediate gratification, but will begin to scan ebay for rounding out the collection.



    p.s. I already have the Bach's cello suites - by du Pre and Ma - absolutely
    essential IMHO. Digging around I found Kodaly on Ma's 'Solo' album -
    I'll give it a spin.
  7. dan m

    dan m pfm Member


    Not wanting to duke it over the 2 sets on Ebay at the mo', I found it new
    on Amazon market place for less than $14 and cheaper shipping. Thanks
    for the pointer to this set - I'll let you know how I get on.


  8. MUTTY1

    MUTTY1 Waste of bandwidth

    Understatement - First port-of-call - no question!
  9. Eric L

    Eric L pfm Member

    Dan, I hope you like it.

    Incidentally, I was originally introduced to the Fitzwilliam's rendition in the '80s by someone who I suspect to be a mutual acquaintance of ours: Rick Duplisea of AA.

  10. Coda II

    Coda II getting there slowly

    Had another listen to this last night before recomending it:

    Tavener: The Protecting Veil

    The Steven Isserlis (for whom it was written) CD also has Britten Solo Cello suite no.3 and another short Tavener piece for solo cello - Thrinos and is £6.99 from Amazon:Tavener
    I don't know much of Taverner's work, but being in the main choral he treats the cello as a voice - to very good effect. The orchestral parts, not really an accompaniment as such, are stridant in places - the sort of thing that would come across really well live but are a bit startling at home. Worth having a listen to the clips. The other two pieces are excellent.

    In a somewhat different vein: David Darling. Just pure pleasure in the sound of the cello. Does a fair bit of multi tracked stuff and is in a general Nordic jazz/ECM area, ie not really jazz but then what else is it ? My favourite is Dark Wood, probably too noodley for some, but it's good late night stuff: Darling
  11. omers

    omers pfm Member

  12. dan m

    dan m pfm Member

    All - thanks for the recs. so far, lots to go on!

    Coda II - I have 'The Protecting Veil', but mine is performed by Yo-Yo Ma and the
    Baltimore Symphony Orch, and is on Sony Classical. It also has another
    piece with the jolly title 'Wake Up... And Die'. Must admit, I haven't played
    this a good while, and will give it another spin.


  13. Alice

    Alice Member

    Disregard all previous advice and go out and by anything by Apocalyptica...especially there Metalicca covers album, Four cellists from Sweden bringing the instrument and its music mainstream...
  14. jimb0

    jimb0 Jelly Roll Soul

    Swedish Cello-metal is mainstream now?

  15. rodwsmith

    rodwsmith Yeah, right, member

    Michael Nyman's Double Concerto for Saxophone and Cello is rather good, if you like that sort of thing (which I do). It's the longest piece on this


  16. Tantris

    Tantris pfm Member

    There is an interesting recital of contemporary cello by Siegried Palm in the DG 20/21 series, which has a great version of Xenakis' extraordinary Nomos Alpha;


    Brian Ferneyhough has probably taken the cello to its most extreme possibilities in his piece Time and Motion Study II, which is both torture and ecstasy for the performer. This CD of some of his solo works has a good version of this, which he himself described as "electric chair music".

Share This Page


  1. This site uses cookies to help personalise content, tailor your experience and to keep you logged in if you register.
    By continuing to use this site, you are consenting to our use of cookies.
    Dismiss Notice