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Discovering Marie Jaëll's cello concerto

Updated: May 6

When I was asked to play a solo cello concerto with the Orchestra of the Berufsfachschule für Musik in Dinkelsbühl, I immediately thought that it would be a great opportunity for me to learn a new concerto and at the same time a chance to feature a piece that audiences cannot hear often in concert halls around the world. There is actually quite a lage number of cello concertos that hardly anyone plays - however, not every cello concerto ever written is really a great piece! I did a lot of research for scores, listened to rare recordings and studied piano excerpts in order to find a concerto that would be a good match for this project. When I came across the cello concerto by Marie Jaëll, it immediately struck me as a wonderful piece which would be very much worth the effort of learning and also fun for the orchestra.

The manuscript of the concerto contains two different options for the slow movement of the concerto. In the orchestra score, the slow movement is titled "Andantino sostenuto". The slow movement in the original piano excerpt by Jaëll is a completely different movement, titled "Lento". Both movements are beautiful and full of interesting melodic and harmonic ideas. I felt that it would be a pity to chose one over the other - therefore we decided to perform both of the middle movements. My colleague Michael Spors worked out an instrumentation of the "Lento" for this performance since the movement only existed as a piano and cello version in the manuscript. He wrote it with the current students at the BFS in mind - featuring for example the strong trombone section in a beautiful choral and giving the wind players more space since they have very little to play in other movements.

Enjoy this wonderful cello concerto which was performed in March 2023 in Dinkelbühl.








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