What is this cello music?
June 3, 2010 5:32 AM   Subscribe

Please help me identify this solo cello piece. Video of the performance is here if you'd like to jump right in, otherwise more details follow.

I was in the Louvre recently during one of their late nights when they have special programs going on in many of the galleries. I went to hear what was billed as the Bach unaccompanied cello suites. A young gentleman did indeed play a few of these, with a music stand in front of him. He then got up, took his sheet music, and this woman took the chair after shoving the music stand to the side. She proceeded to play entirely from memory, and I was riveted. I thought I saw the name Kodaly on the music that had been left on the stand, but she didn't use it and even if he is the composer I don't know which work this is. I'd love to buy a recording of whatever this was. It particularly interested me that she plucked the strings while bowing. Bonus questions: if you know the piece, any recommendations for which recording I should buy? Also, if I love this, what other cello works might I enjoy?
posted by tractorfeed to Media & Arts (5 answers total) 13 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: I believe it's the Kodaly Sonata for Solo violincello. That sounds like it came from the end of the second movement - Adagio (con grand'espressione).

The recording I own is of Roel Dieltiens and also features a couple of other good pieces with violinist Sergiu Luca. I can't say if it's better or worse than others, but it's certainly good on its own.
posted by fremen at 6:04 AM on June 3, 2010 [1 favorite]

I don't have access to the audio/video right now, but was it Zoltan Kodaly's Sonata for Solo Cello? You can sample it at the link -- tracks 3-5. I believe that's the only significant work he wrote for solo cello. I know she might not have been playing the music on the stand ... just a suggestion.
posted by Jaltcoh at 6:05 AM on June 3, 2010

Best answer: what other cello works might I enjoy?

The ones recommended in this thread.
posted by Jaltcoh at 6:06 AM on June 3, 2010

Best answer: fremen's got it -- it's Kodaly. One of the reasons this piece sounds so distinctive is that it's written for scordatura ("mis-tuned") cello -- the lower two strings are tuned down a half step, so that rather than having open strings tuned CGDA they are BF#DA. This makes a big difference where, as you note, there's left-hand pizzicato of those lower open strings while simultaneously bowing.

You might also enjoy these works for solo cello:

Gaspar Cassadó - Suite (which quotes the Kodaly at one point)
Benjamin Britten - 3 Suites for solo cello
Sculthorpe -- Requiem for cello alone
posted by dr. boludo at 6:15 AM on June 3, 2010

Response by poster: Yay! Thanks fremen for the identification, dr. boludo for elaboration, and Jaltcoh for the pointer to the other thread, which looks great.
posted by tractorfeed at 7:01 AM on June 3, 2010

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