DVORAK – Cello Concerto in B Minor, Op. 104 – 3rd Movement – for CELLO SOLOIST and CELLO QUARTET, or CELLO SOLOIST and ORCHESTRA OF CELLOS, orchestrated by David Johnstone

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ANTONIN DVORAK – Cello Concerto in B Minor, Op. 104 – 3rd Movement – for CELLO SOLOIST and CELLO QUARTET, or CELLO SOLOIST and ORCHESTRA OF CELLOS, orchestrated by David Johnstone

 

Download Contents or Instructions:

PDF 1 – Movement III – Individual cello part to Accompanying Cello Orchestra/Quartet – CELLO 1 (19 pages in all)

PDF 2 – Movement III – Individual cello part to Accompanying Cello Orchestra/Quartet – CELLO 2 (19 pages in all)

PDF 3 – Movement III – Individual cello part to Accompanying Cello Orchestra/Quartet – CELLO 3 (19 pages in all)

PDF 4 – Movement III – Individual cello part to Accompanying Cello Orchestra/Quartet – CELLO 4 (19 pages in all)

PDF 5 – Movement III – Individual cello part to SOLOIST CELLO PART with Johnstone rehearsal numbers (10 pages in all)

(No general score)

The tempo indication is – Allegro moderato

 

General difficulty of the music – other Information:

DIFFICULT (MEDIUM to DIFFICULT)

The Cello Concerto in B minor, Op. 104, is the last solo concerto by Antonín Dvořák and his most glorious. It was written in 1894 for his friend, the cellist Hanuš Wihan, but was premiered by the English cellist Leo Stern (probably due to unchangeable commitments in Wihan’s concert diary). It is generally considered the ‘greatest’ cello concerto in existence although, of course, these things are of personal opinion. The existing piano reduction is an approximation of the orchestral general score, and does contain some publishing errors when compared to the score in orchestral performance.  It is intricately scored for a full romantic orchestra (only excepting a 4th horn); therefore scored with two flutes (the second doubling piccolo), two oboes, two clarinets, two bassoons, three horns, two trumpets, three trombones, tuba, timpani, triangle (in the last movement only), and strings, and is cast in the standard three-movement concerto format:

 

  1. Allegro (B minor then B major)
  2. Adagio, ma non troppo (G major)
  3. Finale: Allegro moderato-Andante-Allegro vivo (B minor, later B major)

Total duration: approximately 40 minutes.

 

I always felt that a cello ensemble version with soloist would make a most interesting option for almost everyone of advanced levels! That is to say: music conservatoires, the cello sections of professional or advanced level community symphony orchestras, and certainly to the younger generation of promising cellists who understandably wish to get the feel of what it is really like playing a ‘big’ concerto but do not (as of yet!) have a concert performance invitation from a full orchestra. So the idea, in part, is for a soloist to gain much confidence, fully hearing the sustaining harmonies in a way in which a piano alone does not offer you.

I suppose that from an arranger’s point of view only the amount of work involved has generally been the restraint into other cellists undertaking such an adventure. So, feeling that the time has come I have made that version possible: with an accompanying cello quartet or by a larger ensemble of ensembles (in which case please always play divisi when opportunities arise!). What I have basically done is to go half-way between using the piano reduction and the general orchestral score, literally checking every bar. But that way it is well useful to see which type of version works best for cello ensemble.

The work is basically transcribed in full, although by stating ‘rehearsal cello ensemble’ I have taken the liberty to shorten some of the tuttis; it was felt that with ‘only’ cellos present there would be less contrast of sound colours to what one hears in the orchestral tuttis. However, for more informal performances this concept will work perfectly.

 

So here is the result!   Enjoy the music!


FURTHER THOUGHTS

I was about two-thirds of the way through arranging the first movement of this concerto when I learnt that the great American cellist Lynn Harrell had passed away. I had received valuable advice from him in the 1980s when I was finishing my studies at the Royal Academy of Music, London. I knew immediately that I had to offer this giant arrangement to his memory.

This may be played with four solo cellists accompanying the soloist or by a full cello orchestra. Both might offer interesting interpretations. If performed by ‘quintet’ then the four accompanying cellists have very chamber music like roles, and although the first parts are more exacting the lower two parts certainly have much material with which to enjoy! If played by cello orchestra then I would recommend you playing divisi in the double or triple stoppings, and of other brief moments that might benefit from a solo player in the section (for example, corresponding to a few flute or oboe solos from the score) but this I leave these decisions entirely to you!

In this case no general cello ensemble score has been made; it would have been even more a gigantic task by hand, and I am supposing that all cellists good enough to play in the accompanying cello group surely know this concerto well. On the case of larger ensembles a conductor would be useful, and he or she could use either the piano reduction or the general orchestral score as a base.

The token price is €2 for complete parts per movement; this is simply to help towards the costs of maintain the ‘Johnstone-Music’ web site. The ideals of my web are always to share!

 

Any known possible links of this music (audio, video, article etc.):

P.S. If you ever record this music (preferably onto YouTube) we would be delighted to add YOUR link here and in the Audio-Video section of the Web …

Enjoy the music !!

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