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Cello Repertoire from the 18th, 19th and mid-20th Centuries

The following list presents the primary standard works of cello literature, as well as other notable compositions for the instrument, and other cello works of well-known composers.

In cello repertoire, there are also hundreds of additional pieces, large and small, including transcriptions of music written originally for different instruments. Cello compositions from the Baroque era are so numerous, they could have a list of their own.

Chamber music is not included in this list.

The author welcomes your input on this list. Please e-mail the author at cellohandbook@att.net with your comments or additions.

To download a printable version of this list in Adobe Acrobat format, click HERE. To get the free Adobe Acrobat Reader, click HERE.

* It was thought that, except for studies, no solo cello pieces were written during the 19th century. However, a small number of solo cello works were written in the 19th century. They just had not been published.

Composer

Solo Cello

Cello & Piano

Cello & Orchestra

A. Vivaldi

(1678-1741)

6 Sonatas (c. 1740)

  • #1-B-flat Maj
  • #2-F Maj
  • #3-a min
  • #4-B-flat Maj
  • #5-a min
  • #6-B-flat Maj

(Vivaldi also wrote several other lesser-known cello sonatas)

about 27 cello concertos,

about 8 have been published including a concerto for 2 cellos in g minor



J. S. Bach

(1685-1750)

6 Suites (c. 1717-1723)

  • #1-G Maj
  • #2-d min
  • #3-C Maj
  • #4-E-flat Maj
  • #5-c min
  • #6-D Maj

(In Suite #5, the A string is tuned down to G)

(Suite #6 is in standard cello repertoire, although it was written for a small 5-stringed instrument tuned C,G,d,a,e')

3 Sonatas (c. 1717-1723)
  • #1-G Maj
  • #2-D Maj
  • #3-g min

(Written for Viola da Gamba and Harpsichord, now in standard cello repertoire)

F. J. Haydn

(1732-1809)

4 Concertos published
    2 famous concertos:
     in C (c. 1765)
     in D (1783)

    2 others attributed to Haydn:
      in D (1772)
      in C
(c. 1765)(arr. by Popper)

(another 2 doubtfully by Haydn or lost)

L. Boccherini

(1743-1805)

About 3 dozen cello Sonatas (dates unknown)

6 published Sonatas

  • #1-A Maj
  • #2-C Maj
  • #3-G Maj
  • #4-E-flat Maj
  • #5-F Maj
  • #6-A Maj
About 11 cello concertos (1770, 1785, other dates unknown). The famous "Boccherini B-flat Concerto" is a composite of various Boccherini works, put together by Grützmacher in 1895, with added cadenzas. An authentic B-flat Concerto was published in 1948.
L. van Beethoven

(1770-1827)

Horn Sonata, Opus 17, arranged for cello by composer

 

5 Sonatas

  • #1-F Maj,Opus 5, No.1 (1796)
  • #2-g min, Opus 5,
  • No 2)
  • #3-A Maj, Opus 69 (1807/1808)
  • #4-C Maj, Opus102,No.1(1815)
  • #5-D Maj,Opus 102, No.2
Triple Concerto in C Maj, Opus 56 (1814) (for violin, cello and piano)
F. Schubert

(1797-1828)

Arpeggione Sonata (1824) (Written for a 6-string instrument with frets and guitar tuning - E,a,d,g,b,e'. It is now in standard cello repertoire.)
R. Schumann

(1810-1856)

  • Fantasy Pieces, Opus 73 (1849) (Written for clarinet, or violin or celllo ad lib)
  • 5 Pieces in Folk Style, Opus 102 (1849) (Written for either cello or violin)
Concerto in a minor, opus 129 (1850)
F. Mendelssohn

(1809-1847)

2 Sonatas

  • #1-B-flat Maj, opus 45 (1838)
  • #2-D Maj, opus 58 (1842)
F. Chopin

(1810-1849)

  • Intro. & Polonaise Brillante, opus 3 (1829)
  • Sonata in g minor, opus 65 (1846)
C. Franck

(1822-1890)

Sonata in A Major (1886)

(Written for violin or cello)

E. Lalo

(1823-1829)

Concerto in d minor (1877)
J. Brahms

(1833-1897)

3 Sonatas

  • Sonata in e minor, opus 38 (1865)
  • Sonata in F Major, opus 99 (1886)
  • Sonata in D Major, opus 78 (Written for violin. Not certain whether arranged for cello by Brahms himself in 1896 or by Paul Klengel).
Double Concerto in a minor, opus 102 (1889) (for violin and cello)
C. Saint-Saens

(1835-1921)

  • Suite, opus 16 (1862)
  • Sonata #1 in c minor, opus 32 (1872)
  • Sonata #2 in F Major, opus 123 (1905)
  • Allegro Appasionata, opus 43 (1875) (arranged for cello and orchestra by Saint-Saens, 1876)
2 Concertos

  • Concerto #1 in a min, opus 33 (1872)
  • Concerto #2 in d min, opus 119 (1902)
  • The Swan (1886). The only part of the Carnival of Animals which Saint-Saens allowed to be published in his lifetime.
M. Bruch

(1838-1920)

 

 

3 pieces
(1891-1892)

12 pieces
(1897-1910)

Kol Nidrei, opus 47 (1881)
 
P. I. Tchaikovsky

(1840-1893)

  • Variations on a Theme Rococo, opus 33 (1876)
  • Pezzo Cappricioso, Opus 62, 1887
A. Dvorak

(1841-1904)

Concerto in b min, opus 104 (1895)
G. Fauré

(1845-1924)

Elegy in c min, opus 24 (1914)

E. Ysaye

(1858-1931)

  Sonata, Opus 28 (1924)  
E. Elgar

(1857-1934)

Concerto in e min, opus 85 (1919)
C. Debussy

(1862-1918)

Sonata (1915)
J. Sibelius

(1865-1957)

Theme and Variations*

(1890) (discovered in 1995)

R. Strauss

(1864-1949)

Sonata in F Major, opus 6 (1880-1883) Don Quixote, opus 35 (1896-1897)
S. Rachmaninoff

(1873-1943)

Sonata in g minor, opus 19 (1901)
E. Bloch

(1880-1959)

3 Suites

  • #1 (1956)
  • #2 (1956)
  • #3 (1957)
  • From Jewish Life (1924)
  • Meditation Hebraique (1924)
Schelomo-Rhapsodie Hebraique (1916)
Z. Kodaly

(1882-1967)

Sonata, opus 8 (1915) (G string is tuned to F; C string is tuned to B) Sonata, opus 4 (1910)
A. Webern

(1883-1945)

  • Sonata movement (1914)
  • 3 Little Pieces, opus 11 (1914)
H. Villa-Lobos

(1887-1959)

Bachianas Brasileiras for Orchestra of Violoncelli

  • #1 (1930)
  • #5 (1938)

(The orchestra consists of cellos in 8 parts. There are no other instruments.

(#5 is for solo soprano, with the orchestra of celli.)

B. Martinu

(1890-1959)

3 Sonatas

(1939, 1941, 1952)

  • Concerto #1 (1930, rev. 1955)
  • Concerto #2 (1944-5)
  • Sonata da Camera (1940) (small orchestra)
S. Prokofiev

(1891-1953)

Sonata in C Major, opus 119 (1949)
  • Concerto, opus 58 (1933-8)
  • Sinfonia-Concertante in e minor, opus 125 (1950-2)
  • Cello Concertino, opus 132 (1952), completed by Rostropovich and Kabalevsky
D. Milhaud

(1892-1974)

Sonata, opus 377 (1959)
  • Concerto #1, opus 36 (1934)
  • Concerto #2, opus 255 (1945)
  • Suite Cisalpine, opus 332 (1954)
P. Hindemith

(1895-1963)

opus 25, #3 (1922)
  • 3 pieces, opus 8 (1917)
  • Sonata opus 11, #3 (1919)
  • Meditation (1938)
  • 3 Easy Pieces (1938)
  • Frog He Went A 'Courting (1941)
  • Sonata (1948)
Concerto (1940)
G. Cassadó

(1897-1966)

Suite (1925)
F. Poulenc

(1899-1963)

Sonata (1948)
E. Krenek

(1900-1991)

Suite, opus 84 (1939) Capriccio (1955) (small orchestra)
W. Walton

(1902-1983)

Concerto (1956)
D. Shostakovich

(1906-1975)

Sonata, opus 40 (1934) 2 Concertos

  • #1 - opus 107 (1959)
  • #2 - opus 126 (1966)
S. Barber

(1910-1981)

Sonata, opus 6 (1932) Concerto, opus 22 (1945)
A. Ginastera

(1916-1983)

Pampeana #2 (1951)

 

For later 20th Century works, see:

"Cello Music Since 1960" by Donald Homuth

For a listing of 45,000 works for cello, see:

"A Cellist's Companion,A Comprehensive Catalogue of Cello Literature" by Henk Lambooij and Michael Feves