Cello Bonus* Rachmaninov’s Cello Sonata in G minor

I couldn’t sleep with the fact that I wrote an entire article about Rachmaninov but nothing about his greatest work of all, Rachmaninov’s Cello Sonata in G minor, Op. 19! OK, maybe I might be just a wee bit biased…

Here are the notes I included when I performed this Sonata as part of my senior recital at Stetson University in May 2012:

Sergei Rachmaninov’s Cello Sonata in G minor, Op. 19, was completed in November 1901 and premiered by the composer himself alongside cellist Anatoliy Brandukov (for whom he dedicated the music). Rachmaninov purportedly rejected the title of cello sonata as he viewed the cello and piano to be equally dynamic. Very often, the piano introduces a theme which is subsequently taken and embellished by the cello. As typical of sonatas in the Romantic period, it has four movements including a rich Lento – Allegro moderato, a fast paced Allegro scherzando, a sentimental Andante, and finally a triumphant Allegro mosso. Each movement contains a chain of melodies that focus less on thematic development than on the themes themselves.  The success of the sonata was overshadowed by the acclaim of Rachmaninov’s Piano Concerto No.2 which premiered in October of the same year. Nonetheless, the Sonata is considered one of the most important works for cello in the 20th century.

By the way, cello students learning this piece should give the music to their accompanists WAY ahead of schedule (I am talking months in advance). This work is a real doozy for even the most seasoned of players and they will need a lot of time/patience to feel comfortable in performance. You really have to take care not to be ridiculous with your tempos, lest you sacrifice your ensemble. This was all the information I could find given the tools available to me. What can I say? Enough said!

I will let the great Rosty and his pianist, Alexander Dedyuhkin, share this one. Enjoy!

First Movement:

Second Movement:

Third Movement:

Fourth Movement:

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