Some Cello Literature K-Z

Mstislav Rostropovich – Cellist, Teacher, Legend

Elizabeth Wilson

Get 'Mstislav Rostropovich' on AmazonUKPublished to coincide with Rostropovich’s 80th birthday celebrations
Mstislav Rostropovich, internationally recognised as one of the world’s finest cellists and musicians, has always maintained that teaching is an important responsibility for great artists. Before his emigration in 1974 from Russia to the West, Rostropovich taught several generations of the brightest Russian talents – as Professor of the Moscow Conservatoire – over a continuous period of two decades. His students included such artists as Jacqueline du Pre, Nataliyia Gutman, Karine Georgian, Ivan Monighetti and many others.

Rostropovich’s teaching represented not only his individual approach to cello repertoire and instrumental technique, but also comprised a philosophy of life. As soon as he returned from his frequent concert tours, he would launch himself with whirlwind energy into his teaching activities.
His lessons, which were conducted as open masterclasses , were awaited eagerly as an event of huge importance. Class 19 of the Moscow Conservatoire, where they were held, was usually packed with students (violinists , conductors and pianists as well as cellists). Often other professors dropped in, as did visiting musicians. The lessons were performances in themselves: Rostropovich – usually seated at the piano – cajoled and inspired his students to give the best of themselves. His comments went far beyond correcting the students in making them understand the essence of the work they were playing. Often this was done through striking imagery, and as such the lessons were addressed to the wider audience present in the classroom as well as to the individual student.

Drawing from her own vivid reminiscences and those of ex-students, documents from the Moscow Conservatoire and extensive interviews with Rostropovich himself , Elizabeth Wilson’s book sets out to define his teaching, and to recapture the atmosphere of the conservatoire and Moscow’s musical life.

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Never Too Late

John Holt

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If I could learn to play the cello well, as I thought I could, I could show by my own example that we all have greater powers than we think; that whatever we want to learn or learn to do, we probably can learn; that our lives and our possibilities are not determined and fixed by what happened to us when we were little, or by what experts say we can or cannot do.

Best known for his brilliant insight into the way children learn,
John Holt was also an intrepid explorer of adult learning. At the age of forty, with no particular musical background, he took up the cello.
His touching and hilarious account of his passionate second career demolished the myth that one must start an instrument (or a sport, or a language) in early childhood, and will inspire any reader who dreams of taking up a new skill.

Very often when I travel adults come to me and longingly say they want to play a musical instrument but are now too old. I always and with great delight refer them to John Holt’s book Never Too Late. The beauty of Holt’s book is that he himself set his own standards for music making. The reason for playing music is not to compare yourself to anyone but to bring forth what is inside of you.
– Yo-Yo Ma

A deep love of his instrument sparkles on the pages of his life story.
– Christian Science Monitor

Taps the Walter Mitty dreamer is all of us. – Los Angeles Times

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One Hundred Years of Violoncello – A History of Technique and Performance Practice, 1740-1840

Valerie Walden

Get 'One Hundred Years of Violoncello' on AmazonUKThis is the first book to address the full range of performance issues for the cello from the Baroque to the early Romantic period. The development of playing techniques and stylistic transitions are traced regionally through a comparison
of Italian, French, German, English, and East European performance traits. Through a close study of contemporary violoncello methods, music, early instruments, periodicals, diaries, letters and pictures, Walden provides a cohesive overview which examines construction methods for instruments and bows, fingering and bowing techniques, special effects and ornamentation, accompanying skills and the stylistic preferences of the most famous soloists. Richly illustrated with over 300 music examples, plates and figures, this book provides playing instructions which can easily be applied by modern players to their own performance of period music.

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Pablo Casals

Robert Baldock

Get 'Pablo Casals' on AmazonUK The great cellist, who played during his life for both Queen Victoria and
President Kennedy, was a personality at once complex and simple; and it is the virtue of Baldock’s biography that he makes this abundantly clear. The dilemma between the urge to communicate and the fear of exposure was one he never resolved, the author writes,
and notes that journalists always had to struggle to explain that so unpretentious a man should produce art so great. Casals (1876-1973) was born in Catalonia, a fact that dominated his life, first in the struggle for Catalonian independence from Spain, and later in the fight against Franco. In protest against both, the man who had been the first cellist to make a notable solo career withdrew from the major centers of musical life and established two music festivals devoted above all to the works of his beloved Bach: first in the 1950s at Prades, across the French border from Catalonia, and in the 1960s in Puerto Rico, where he lived out his final years. Emotional, stubborn, retiring and always profoundly moralistic, Casals was an unforgettable performer as well as a political icon of remarkable potency.
This is a clearsighted, sensible study, by an admirer who is an editor at Yale University Press in London.

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Pablo Casals – A Biography

H. L. Kirk

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The main thing in life is not to be afraid of being human.

Pablo Casals






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Pablo Casals – Cellist for the World

David Goodnough

Get 'Pablo Casals - Cellist for the World' on AmazonUKThe love of one’s country is a splendid thing.
But why should love stop at the border?

Pablo Casals



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Pablo Casals – Hispanics of Achievement

Robert Green, Hedda Garza
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To do justice to a man of his stature in a 100-page series entry is nearly impossible. Garza’s book is not factually inaccurate; it is merely serviceable and workmanlike. She uses many good sources. However, in attempting to tell the Casals story as well as that of Europe during his lifetime
(including two World Wars and the Spanish Civil War), it is necessary to be very compact. There’s a lot here, but it doesn’t flow. High school students might be better served by Casals’s autobiography, Joys and Sorrows, which Garza cites. Casals, it turns out, had the same wonderful grace with language as he did with music. From my infancy I was surrounded by music. You might say music was for me an ocean in which I swam like a little fish is a typical quotation. Jim Hargrove’s Pablo Casals (Childrens, 1991) is somewhat livelier and more readable, but it’s for a younger audience.  - Ann Stell, Central Islip Public Library, NY

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Rostrospektive – Zum Leben und Werk von Mstislaw Rostropowitsch

Dr. Alexander Ivashkin, Dr. Josef Oehrlein

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This book is a three-part exposition of the life and work of Rostropovich, as seen from different angles. One part contains an extensive pictorial record of some of the most important stages of his life. In the second are two detailed accounts about Mstislav Rostropovich - Slava, The Journalists´ Darling, as seen by a music critic, and A Twentieth Century Revolutionary, as seen by a famous cellist who, as a fellow Russian, has had the privilege of following and partly accompanying Rostropovich´s life to date in many different ways.

The title of the book -Rostrospektive- refers in particular to the exhibition of the same name at the third Cello Festival in Kronberg which was held
from 16 to 19 October 1997 in honour of Mstislav Rostropovich on the occasion of his seventieth birthday.
Much of this exhibition is reproduced in the pictorial section.

Source: theStrad Library

In German and English

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Signor Piatti – Cellist, Composer, Avant-gardist

Annalisa Lodetti Barzanò, Christian Bellisario

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Musical child prodigy and virtuoso, pioneer and avant-gardist, lovable person and sensitive artist – Alfredo Piatti (1822-1901) was not just an Italian cellist and composer but a musical key figure in the Europe of the 19th Century.
On the occasion of his 100th death, the authors Christian Bellisario and Annalisa Lodetti Barzanò make an approach to the complex person.
Equipped with many testimonies from colleagues, critics and friends they start the journey in the footsteps of an artist, who was not satisfied enough by being just a performer and a pioneer of the modern cello playing.


In German and English

Kronberg Academy


The Advancing Cellist’s Handbook

A Guide to Practicing and Playing the Cello

Benjamin Whitcomb

Get 'The Advancing Cellist's Handbook' on AmazonUKHow I wish I could have read this book years ago! It would have saved many hours of practicing which often have had disappointing results for the time invested. -Phyllis Young, Playing the String Game and The String Play The Advancing Cellists Handbook is a concise but thorough treatise on virtually every aspect of practicing and learning to play the cello. This book is primarily designed for intermediate cellists, which usually means ages 14 to 20, but which could be any age from 6 to 80. The purpose of this book is to provide you with much of the basic information that you need in order to become good at practicing the cello. This is the book for you if: · You want to learn how to improve rapidly as a cellist. · You don’t feel that you know how to practice. · You want to get a faster rate of advancement out of your available practice time.

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The Art of Cello Playing

A Complete Textbook Method for Private or Class Instruction

Louis Potter Jr.

Get 'The Art of Cello Playing' on AmazonUKThe author’s stated purpose in writing The Art of Cello Playing is to present
a progressive sequence of commentary and material as a basis for acquiring a sound technical foundation and basic playing competence to prepare the player for exploring the rich solo, orchestral, and chamber music literature of the instrument. To that end he has produced
a comprehensive textbook and reference manual on beginning to advanced cello technique with emphasis on the vital beginning foundation. Louis Potter Jr., is particularly well qualified to make this contribution from his wide experience in teaching both classes and individuals at Michigan State University
and at National Music Camp, Interlochen, Michigan.

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The Cambridge Companion to the Cello

Robin Stowell

Get 'The Cambridge Companion to the Cello' on AmazonUKThis is a compact, composite and authoritative survey of the history and development of the cello and its repertory since the origins of the instrument. The volume comprises thirteen essays, written by a team of nine distinguished scholars and performers, and is intended to develop the cello’s historical perspective in breadth and from every relevant angle, offering as comprehensive a coverage as possible. It focuses in particular on four principal areas: the instrument’s structure, development and fundamental acoustical principles; the careers of the most distinguished cellists since the baroque era; the cello repertory (including chapters devoted to the concerto,
the sonata, other solo repertory, and ensemble music); and its technique, teaching methods and relevant aspects of historical and performance practice. It is the most comprehensive book ever to be published about the instrument and provides essential information
for performers, students and teachers.

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The Cello Suites – In Search of a Baroque Masterpiece

Eric Siblin

Get 'The Cello Suites' on AmazonUKSiblin’s intricate book interleaves the stories of Bach, Casals, the suites themselves
and his own research . . . It is always readable.  

. . . his style is folksy and endearing . . .   TLS

The story of Bach’s six Cello Suites is an insightful narrative populated by musicians and myth, animating history through centuries   The Good Book Guide

This is one of the most extraordinary, clever, beautiful, and impecc∓ably researched books I have read in/em years. A fascinating story deftly told and, for me at least, ideally read with Bach’s thirty-six movements playing softly in the background; a recipe for literary rapture.
Simon Winchester, author of the “New York Times” best-seller “The Professor and the Madman”

Vividly chronicles [Siblin's] international search for the original, and unfound, Bach scp/aore . .p/a . Mr. Siblin’s book is well researched, and filled with enough anecdotes to engage even the classical-music aficionado . . . but the book is best distinguished by its writing. To vivh4h4ify music in words is not easy. But Mr. Siblin . . . rises to the task . . .
Read “The Cello Suites” -preferably with their melodious hum in the background- and you will never look at a cello
in quite the same way again.
The Economist

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The Great Cellists

Margaret Campbell

Get 'The Great Cellists' on AmazonUKThis book recreates the magic of the greatest cellists in history. In succinct and absorbing accounts of their lives, characters and careers, Margaret Campbell brings out the special achievement of each, whether in impact on composers and public taste, contribution to advances in playing technique, or in sheer power over an audience. The instrument we know today developed from the bass violin and came into general use by the time the great makers of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries (such as Stradivari, Amati and Montagnana) had brough
t their craft to perfection and made many of the instruments most sought-after by the modern virtuosi.
Margaret Campbell has researched the great performers and teachers, from the earliest known professionals to composers and players such as Boccherini, Romberg, Piatti, Popper, and the founders of various national schools of music: the Duports (pere et fils), Cervetto, and Cossman, who was a friend of Lizst. In more recent times, European names such as Becker, Klengel, Salmond and Alexanian lead to Feuermann, Piatigorsky, Fournier, Rostropovich and above all to Casals – all of whom in turn have had much influence on younger players such as Jacqueline du Pre and the many brilliant players from the USA, Russia and Japan. In all, the reader is given a rich picture of traditions handed down nationally through the generations, becoming cross-fertilised internationally during the twentieth century.

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The Spanish Bow

Andromeda Romano-Lax

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In her impressive debut, Romano-Lax creates the epic story of Feliu Delargo, 
an underprivileged child prodigy whose musical ability brings him into contact with world leaders, first-class artists and a life filled with loss and triumph.
Publishers Weekly



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The World of Music According to Starker

Janos Starker

Get 'The World of Music According to Starker' on AmazonUKJanos Starker is universally acknowledged as one of the world’s great musicians. Known for a flawless technique paired with expressive playing and interpretation,
the Hungarian-born cellist is arguably also the premier teacher of his instrument in our time. String players flock to his masterclasses from all over the world, and cellists compete vigorously to study under him at the Indiana University School of Music. More than the consummate musician, however, Starker is also a raconteur and writer, occasionally quirky and droll, always witty and with a pointed opinion to share.
The World of Music According to Starker is a colourful autobiography spanning the author’s fascinating life. From his early musical education during World War II in Hungary, to his world tours, educational philosophy, and recording and pedagogical legacy, Starker takes the reader on a riveting, entertaining, and informative journey. Included in the book are several of Starker’s short stories and commentaries on world events, academia, and – of course – music that have appeared in newspapers, music periodicals, and trade magazines. Also includes a bonus CD recording of Starker’s last public recital, which is unavailable commercially and includes his only recording of the Strauss Sonata in F, Opus 6.

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