Suggestions for pieces for 2 violins and cello
Hello everybody, I'm looking for suggestions for pieces for a trio of two violins and a cello. We are all adult intermediate players (say, Suzuki book 6 and up) and we play for fun. We're open to anything from baroque to modern, even arrangements of pop tunes. There is quite a bit of material on IMSLP, for example, and I'd appreciate some help in narrowing it down.
Thank you for mentioning IMSLP in your post and thereby liberating us from the solemn obligation of reminding you (at least twice) that it's there.
Thanks Paul. I suppose you are talking about the Haydn trios for baryton, viola, and cello, and I see there are about 100 of them. Did you have any one in mind in particular? There are 8 of them arranged for two violins and cello (or viola) on IMSLP, edited by Walter Hockner(I don't think I can post the link), alas only the parts and not the score.
Check out the ensemble albums available from LAST RESORT MUSIC.
Here are some examples. Personally I find YouTube more useful for finding stuff that I might like to play. Then, and only then, do I look on IMSLP for the notes.
I will admit to Paul that switching from violin to viola takes total concentration - for a long time. But you can "fake it 'til you make it" by reading alto clef on viola 1st position like 3rd position on violin and viola 3rd position like 1st position on violin (one string over) - until "voila" one day you find yourself actually reading viola like violist - this time and every time in the future. But still, you can actually play viola all that time (and no one else will know you are "faking it!").
This is a standard gig configuration and I second the suggestion of Last Resort music.
When I took up the viola it only took a weekend or two to eclipse the "dedicated" violists in my orbit (they all played like mice). The only trouble was my brain kept flipping out of viola mode and I'd play rubbish for a few bars until it flipped back in again. Nobody seemed to notice.
I started Viola at age 19, and I thought that learning the clef was the easiest part. Less than a year later I was put into the principal Viola chair at a summer music camp, and the first piece the first day was Firebird. I played a lot of wrong notes. It was like being pushed into the deep end of a swimming pool.
Why is everyone talking about violas when this topic is about two violins and a cello?
There are quite a few trios by Boccherini for this combination. I own (or owned once; I can't find it just now...) the sheet music for the 6 trios opus 6 and I think they are really good, especially no. 6 where the two violins start out with a canon rising over nearly two octaves and then back down again while the cello plays a pedal point. I think they are just about right for your playing level.
I like that idea of playing the Bach Double with cello.
Thanks all for the very interesting replies. I will definitely check out the Boccherini trios and LastResort music. Elise, I just looked at the arrangement of the Bach double for two violins and cello, it may be a bit tough for the cello but I will propose it! Bonus for me I already know the first movement by memory. Victor, unfortunately I don't see any of us picking up the viola anytime soon. I have a hard enough time finding time to practice the violin at all, and almost stopped playing guitar (my first instrument) completely.
Elise, it's because most of what's available for two violins plus cello is going to be an arrangement (probably designed for easy sight-reading on a gig), whereas there's a rich and abundant body of string trio repertoire for violin-viola-cello.
I don't understand Lydia - how do either of them relate to two violins and cello? Where did the violas come from?
Lydia, compared to genres like string quartet, piano trio or violin sonata I would not call the repertoire for violin, viola and cello abundant. I'd still call it rich based solely on the "divertimento" K. 563, Mozart's most neglected chamber music masterpiece. Apart from this work (and Mozart's three adagios for Bach's fugues) we have op. 3, 8 and 9 by Beethoven (highly recommended), two trios by Schubert (more difficult than they look) and to the best of my knowledge no trios by any other of the major 19th century composers. There are two by Max Reger and a "serenade" by Dohnany. Other than that you have to look at composers like Ferdinand Hiller or Julius Röntgen to find more examples.
Elise, somebody introduced the alternative (or "standard") genre of vln, viola, cello. Threads go off topic quite a bit and often farer off than here.
In response to Paul Deck: thanks for the links. I did a little search and I must say I'm quite bewildered by the sheer number of Haydn trios and their catalog numbering. The links you posted are not what I was thinking (baryton trios, which seem to be overall easier).
Of the violin/viola/cello trios, I found the Beethoven Op 8 to be the most fun. It is a 'Serenade' with a lot of separate and short movements - each of which is lots of fun. However, the cellist needs to beware the Allegretto alla Polacca as it has a very high treble clef section that just comes out of nowhere (often it is played an octave lower). These movements could easily be used as separate short performance pieces.
I second the fake it to you make it if you want to transform to a violist. I did that for one summer as a teenager to get a scholarship to a music camp! I did love the sound but never really learned the clef and was always uncomfortable.
Hi everybody, we played two movements from two triosonatas, one by Corelli and one by Bach for violin, oboe and cello. Later we may look into one of the Haydn trios.
A romantic piece for this combination that is not too hard? This seems a tall order to me. However, I did a quick search for "romantic" pieces for this combination on IMSLP. This yielded 42 original compositions. Quite a few are by violin pedagogues like Rodolphe Kreutzer, Dancla, Dont, Baillot. These and many others among the composers are not all that romantic, rather late classical.
There's at least one by Handel, and then there's the Golden Sonata by Purcell, both for 2 violins and continuo.
Albrecht, thank you very much for the suggestions. That IMSLP list will keep me busy for a while. The Borodin G major was mentioned earlier: the movements are indeed quite long but don't seem super hard so we could try it. From a quick glance the G minor has some passages that are way over my head. I like the Mazas duos but these trios are not really what we are looking for, too classical.
Matteo, the parts I've played that violin and oboe concerto from (most recently, with my late father) are in D-minor, but I think we're writing about the same work. Bach also wrote a version for harpsichord.