Beethoven's Cello: Five Revolutionary Sonatas and Their World

Beethoven's Cello: Five Revolutionary Sonatas and Their World

Marc D. Moskovitz, R. Larry Todd

eBook for Handhelds

Boydell Press



Beethoven's Cello is the ideal companion for cellists, pianists, musicologists and chamber-music devotees desiring a comprehensive understanding of this beloved repertoire.
In 1796 the young Beethoven presented his first two cello sonatas, Op. 5, at the court of Frederick William II, an avid cellist and the reigning Prussian monarch. Released in print the next year, these revolutionary sonatas forever altered the cello repertoire by fundamentally redefining the relationship between the cello and the piano and promoting their parity. Beethoven continued to develop the potential of the duo partnership in his three other cello sonatas - the lyrical and heroic Op. 69 and the two experimental sonatas Op. 102, No. 1 and No. 2, transcendent compositions conceived on the threshold of the composer's late style.
In Beethoven's Cello, Marc D. Moskovitz and R. Larry Todd examine these seminal cornerstones of the cello repertoire and place them within their historical and cultural contexts. Also addressed are the three variation sets and, in a series of interludes, the cellos owned by Beethoven, the changing nature of his pianos, the cello-centric 'Triple' Concerto and the arrangements for cello and piano of other works. Featuring a preface by renowned cellist Steven Isserlis and concluding with the reviews of the composer's cello music published during his lifetime, Beethoven's Cello is the ideal companion for cellists, pianists, musicologists and chamber-music devotees desiring a comprehensive understanding of this beloved repertoire.

MARC D. MOSKOVITZ is principal cellist of the ProMusica Chamber Orchestra. He has recorded the music of virtuoso cellists David Popper and Alfredo Piatti for the VAI label, and his American premiere of Zemlinsky's Cello Sonata was heralded by the Washington Post as 'an impassioned performance'. Moskovitz has contributed to the New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians; and his biography, Alexander Zemlinsky: A Lyric Symphony, was published by Boydell & Brewer in 2010.

Recognized as 'Mendelssohn's most authoritative biographer' (The New Yorker), R. LARRY TODD is Arts and Sciences Professor at Duke University. He is the author of Mendelssohn: A Life in Music, named Best Biography in 2003 by the Association of American Publishers, and Fanny Hensel: The Other Mendelssohn, awarded the ASCAP Nicholas Slonimsky Award for outstanding biography in music. As a pianist, he has recorded with Nancy Green the complete cello works of Mendelssohn and Fanny Hensel for JRI Recordings.


22 black and white, 112 line illustrations
274 pages
23.4x15.6 cm
Hardback, 9781783272372, October 2017
eBook for Handhelds, 9781787441309, October 2017
eBook, 9781787441361, October 2017
Boydell Press
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Table of Contents

Foreword by Steven Isserlis
From Bonn to Berlin
Music Fit for a King: The Sonata in F Major, Op. 5 No. 1 (1796)
Interlude: Beethoven's Cello
Tragic/Comic Masks: The Sonata in G Minor, Op. 5 No. 2 (1796)
Interlude: Beethoven's Pianos
Themes and Variations
Interlude: The Triple Concerto as Outlier
Friendship, War, Tears and Grief: The Sonata in A Major, Op. 69 (1808)
Freedom and Control: The Sonata in C Major, Op. 102 No. 1
'Most Remarkable and Strange': The Sonata in D Major, Op. 102 No. 2 (1815)
Interlude: Arranged Sonatas
Opus Posthumum
Appendix 1: Primary Sources for Beethoven's Cello Works
Appendix 2: Reviews of Beethoven's Cello Music by His Contemporaries


It's hard to envision a more comprehensive single-volume introduction to Beethoven and the cello, and performers, listeners and researchers will all find something to engage them here...what's clear throughout is that Moskovitz and Todd genuinely love this music, and send you back to it with renewed enthusiasm. GRAMOPHONE

Beethoven's Cello is not only thoroughly researched and documented, its engaging writing style is more readable than that of the typical academic music book. The authors' theoretical analysis and historical insights will be of practical use to performers. . . . Boydell Press has produced an attractive volume, beautifully laid out, with many illustrations, that makes a meaningful contribution to general Beethoven scholarship. FANFARE

An impressive piece of scholarship . . . a work of thoroughness and quality. STRINGS MAGAZINE

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