Help me find cello music
May 1, 2010 4:02 PM   Subscribe

Another "Help me find cello music" question, but this one is pretty specific in sound, and hasn't been supplied in depth by the other question's answers.

I know this has been asked before, here... oh and here... and also here... but I'm looking for some specifics when it comes to cello music:

1. Whole albums, not just an individual song or artist
2. Instrumental, or minimal tracks with vocals
3. Single or solo cello tracks are preferred
4. Contemporary style and sound; I like Bach's Cello Suite's too, but I'm looking for something that definitely has a modern feel.
5. The cello in the beginning of this song is exactly what I'm looking for. Badly Drawn Boy's "The Shining" is close as well, but I want the entire track to be cello, not just an opening.

Does what I'm looking for even exist?
posted by thatbrunette to Media & Arts (13 answers total) 20 users marked this as a favorite
Have a look at this music video (pt. I) (pt. II) (and related) by Giovanni Sollima, it's that sort of accessible contemporary/classical in the vein of Glass and Nyman.
posted by _dario at 4:28 PM on May 1, 2010

Coincidentally, I was just listening to a recording of the Debussy Cello Sonata. I particularly like the 3rd movement - about 7 minutes in on the youtube clip.

Just in case you didn't know (and an actual musician - I am only a casual listener, can fill you in better), but typically a Cello Sonata is accompanied by piano, although there are some pieces written strictly for solo cello (there is a George Crumb sonata that is very engaging). A concerto is a solo cello accompanied by orchestra. Arguably the masterpiece is the Dvorak Cello Concerto. The Elgar is beautiful as well.

There is a tremendous amount of great Cello music from the 20th century.
posted by Edward L at 4:31 PM on May 1, 2010 [1 favorite]

and I should have mentioned the Dvorak really gets going at the 4 minute mark - up to that point it's the orchestra.
posted by Edward L at 4:46 PM on May 1, 2010

I really like Michael Hoppe

The Poet: Romances for Cello
posted by clarkstonian at 5:27 PM on May 1, 2010

try this on for size.
posted by kickingtheground at 5:28 PM on May 1, 2010

Britten's Cello Suites. Nothing but cello on that whole album (performed by Truls Mork). Here's a video promo for it.
posted by Jaltcoh at 5:37 PM on May 1, 2010

Also: be especially on the lookout for "cello sonatas." As Edward L mentioned, you can assume "cello sonata" means cello and piano. Britten, Richard Strauss, Rachmaninoff, and Grieg all wrote them. Brahms has 2 great cello sonatas -- I'm especially a fan of the No. 1 in E minor. Schubert's "Arpeggione Sonata" was written for an instrument called an arpeggione but is often played on cello instead. These are all less modern (and, frankly, easier to listen to) than the Britten cello suites. Oh, Shostakovich has a cello sonata that's pretty intense (sample).

I recommend seeking these out and not limiting yourself to solo cello, which is less common than cello/piano. (Piano makes the music easier for listeners to follow since it can play chords. A single melody on cello, with nothing else filling in the harmonic context, can feel overly austere.)

Dvorak's Cello Concerto (recommended by Edward L) is fantastic -- one of my very favorite works of classical music, period. It doesn't fit your desire for more stripped-down arrangements (quite the contrary, really), but it's a must-listen if you're into cello.
posted by Jaltcoh at 5:59 PM on May 1, 2010 [1 favorite]

I should add that I'm assuming you mean "modern" loosely, so I've included 19th century ("romantic") pieces as well as 20th century (which is more properly called "modern" and tends to be more dissonant).
posted by Jaltcoh at 6:01 PM on May 1, 2010

Definitely check out Erik Friedlander's album "Block Ice & Propane," and also look into the late, great Tom Cora (If you can track down a copy of his album "Gumption in Limbo," I would recommend that highly.)
posted by neroli at 8:39 PM on May 1, 2010

My friend's contemporary trio. (Piano, cello, violin.)
posted by typewriter at 9:10 PM on May 1, 2010

Paul Scott : )
posted by Feisty at 9:19 PM on May 1, 2010

There is some contemporary folk-influenced cello out there which personally I find pretty interesting:
Cello Unveils Anatolian Spirit - Uğur Işık
Enchanted Rhythms: Cello Music from Bulgaria - Roumi Petrova
Trad - Barry Phillips

There's a nice compilation of 21st century classical music by various composers, recorded by Matt Haimovitz.

Xenakis wrote a couple pieces for cello, Kottos and Nomos Alpha. They're hard to find recorded, but I think they're worth tracking down... there's nothing else like them.
posted by Hither at 9:34 PM on May 1, 2010

YES to Erik Friedlander, who is awesome, and also Portland Cello Project, also awesome.
posted by librarina at 1:06 AM on May 2, 2010

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