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Cello concerto : cello with orchestra

by Carl Vine (2004)

Score Sample

View a sample of the score of this work

Audio Sample

Performance by Stephen Isserlis, Sydney Symphony, Ralph Lane from the CD [Selected works by] Carl Vine.

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[Selected works by] Carl Vine.


This item is not commercially available from the Australian Music Centre. We regret that we cannot offer it for sale.


[Selected works by] Carl Vine.

Library shelf no. CD 1377 [Available for loan]

Concerto for cello and orchestra


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Score & Part

Concerto for cello and orchestra : piano reduction / Carl Vine.

Library shelf no. Q 787.4186/VIN 1 [Available for loan]

Display all products featuring this work (1 more)  

Work Overview

Steven Isserlis is an impeccable performer. For the past decade he paid me the greatest honour by playing my little work Inner World, for cello and electronic accompaniment, countless times around the globe. The honour magnified when he first urged the creation of this concerto, which the Sydney Symphony Orchestra graciously accommodated into its commissioning schedule and concert season.

It is daunting to compare one's own work with past masterpieces, but also foolish not to seek inspiration from outstanding precedents. I remain in complete awe of the cello concertos by Robert Schumann and Edward Elgar. The first for its continuous, amazingly organic melodic development sustained over 23 minutes, and the second for its utterly compelling emotional architecture and beautifully balanced contrasts between soloist and orchestra. I hope to have replicated some part of these characteristics in my own humble effort.

The very notion of concerto now feels rooted in the romantic notion of the hero (instrumental soloist) facing an indomitable adversary (the orchestra). Certainly the successful merger of these two radically mismatched forces is a primary task of the concerto composer. My concerto begins with a dramatic statement of this mismatch (borrowing a little from Elgar), and the balance of the work might be seen as a quest for coalition.

The soloist continually introduces new melodic material that is appropriated by the orchestra. A slow chorale led by the cellist frames the central section. Unusually, the majority of this typical 'slow' movement is actually quite fast, with only the return to the chorale signifying its stately intent.

The third and final section opens with rapid woodwind figures answered by the cello. The cello quickly converts these into simple rising triplet scales that carry the work through to its finale. Just before the climax the cello reintroduces the slow chorale as the orchestra continues its relentless triplet motion.

Work Details

Year: 2004

Instrumentation: Solo cello, 2 flutes (2nd doubling piccolo), 2 oboes (2nd doubling cor anglais), 2 clarinets in B flat (2nd doubling bass clarinet), 2 bassoons (2nd doubling contra-bassoon), 4 horns in F, 2 trumpets in C, 2 trombones, tuba, timpani, percussion (2 players), harp, celeste, strings.

Duration: 20 min.

Difficulty: Advanced

Dedication note: Dedicated to Stephen Isserlis

Commission note: Commissioned by Symphony Australia for performance by Sydney Symphony with funds provided by Australia Council.

First performance: by Sydney Symphony, Stephen Isserlis — 30 Jun 04. Concert Hall, Sydney Opera House

Awards & Prizes

Year Award Placing Awarded for/to
2005 Classical Music Awards - Best Performance of an Australian Composition Winner Stephen Isserlis


Performances of this work

2 Jul 04: Sydney Opera House. Featuring Stephen Isserlis, Sydney Symphony, Ralph Lane.

30 Jun 04: Concert Hall, Sydney Opera House. Featuring Sydney Symphony, Stephen Isserlis.

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