Cello Quintets?

September 6, 2019, 9:00 PM · Hi all,
I’m taking chamber music at my college and I’ve been assigned to a cello quintet (2 violins viola 2 cellos). I’ve never been in a cello quintet not have I ever played or heard one. I need some suggestions for repertoire that my group can play backside none of us have any idea what to play since none of us had ever heard of a cello quintet. There’s another cello quintet that is already playing the Schubert quintet which after researching I found out it’s one of if not the most famous one. Therefore it’s been advised that we play something different so that people aren’t hearing the same piece at the concert.

Thanks in advance

Replies (15)

September 6, 2019, 9:07 PM · Until Schubert, I think Boccherini was pretty much the only one with any interest in the format. And after him, this list gets even shorter.
Edited: September 6, 2019, 9:09 PM · Try the quintets by Borodin and Glazunov. I think the Borodin is especially underrated.

Boccherini wrote a bunch of them, not profound but some of them quite charming. I've played and enjoyed Op. 42 No. 2 in C major.

September 6, 2019, 9:15 PM · Like the Glazunov. Onslow also wrote many. Also Tanayev, Molbe, Bazzini
September 6, 2019, 9:16 PM · Editions Silvertrust has several as well.
September 6, 2019, 9:17 PM · The Boccherini can be challenging for the first cello.
September 6, 2019, 11:55 PM · At the concert, are you all just playing one movement, or the whole thing? If just one movement, I'd still opt for the Schubert, which is a masterwork. Just pick a different movement for the performance than the other group.

The Boccherini et.al. might still be fun, but nothing is going to come up to the level of the Schubert, and it's a standard piece of the chamber repertoire that it would be useful to have under your belt.

September 7, 2019, 12:51 AM · I think Onslow is worth seriously considering. I worked on one of this quartets once in a one week chamber music course and I was impressed with the work.

Onslow is actually more famous for his quintets than his quartets (there are about 30 quintets in several different combinations: 2 violins, 2 violas, cello / 2 violins, viola, 2 celli and also string quartet plus double bass). This means that the quintets are available in good editions while many of the quartets still are not. Onslow's music is generally not very easy to play though.

September 7, 2019, 3:54 AM · There's one by Robert Simpson, but I don't think I've heard it. I expect it would be quite challenging technically.
Edited: September 7, 2019, 9:15 AM · The Op77 quintet by Felix Draeseke is a fine work although maybe not very audience-friendly. The Op8 Suite by Alfredo D'Ambrosio on the other hand is arch-romantic and should go down well. Both have parts available on IMSLP
September 7, 2019, 10:36 AM · Off-the-beaten track: Ethel Smyth's Op 1, No 1 is a pretty neat cello quintet. The music is available at IMSLP,and there are at least two good recordings floating around youtube.
September 7, 2019, 9:21 PM · @Andrew,
I like the Borodin but I can’t find the music for it.

@Lydia,
We have a time limit of 10 minutes so depending on the piece we can play anywhere from 1-4 movements. I’d do the Schubert, but I have no idea what movement they’re doing.

Edited: September 9, 2019, 10:42 AM · It's a course, right? The professor knows what movement the other cello quintet is playing! For goodness' sake, ask.

It can be maddeningly difficult to find sheet music for a lot of Russian stuff because the IP is all messed up over there. What happens when the government owns everything and then the government doesn't exist any more?

September 9, 2019, 12:02 PM · What Paul said. And sheesh, you probably have 10 different digital communication mechanisms with which you could reach out to the other students and ASK. Or you could *gasp* find them face to face in the music building sometime.
September 9, 2019, 10:26 PM · Paul,
Not exactly. Yes it's a class, but the professor is just to coordinator he didn't make the groups. The string rep made all the groups and all she told them was to just play the Schubert they said nothing about what movement that was up to them. All the coordinator said was to play something else so that's why I was asking about other quintets.

Lydia,
I know how to ask people what they're playing. I was only asking for other suggestions because the coordinator said to play something other than the Schubert to have some variety since most people only know about the Schubert (at least at the college level).

September 12, 2019, 6:45 PM · F.Y.I. Onslow’s are often written with alternative viola and cello parts. The story I heard was that Dragonetti subbed on the 2nd cello at a concert and Onslow loved the sound. I have played a couple on bass and viola and find them quite enjoyable.

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