The Cello in Germany: 18th Century

The Violoncello and Its History

Going back several months of posts, you might remember I last wrote about Italy in the 18th century with regards to The Violoncello and Its History. To continue in the book, I now move on to Germany.

A Summary of Sorts

Evidence suggests that the cello was moving rapidly into a position of great use. Certainly a favorite choice in the lower registered instruments. Wasielewski cites one work, considered to be the most significant contribution to cello literature of all time, J. S. Bach’s Six Suites for Solo Violoncello. Since they were written between the years 1717 and 1724 it can be reasoned, says he, that the cello was already well known and featured prominently as a solo and orchestral instrument in Germany.

In fact, their were two early adopters in Germany. TRIEMER and RIEDEL. They seemed to have taken up the cello as early as 1680 and certainly by 1700. This is evident since many court bands already had cellos in the instrument room and cellists on their registries.

Selections From the Period

In the musical selections I have taken excerpts from Triemer’s set of Six Sonatas. As the earliest cellist/composer in Germany, naturally his work must be represented.

Other cellists chosen will be Schetky, Arnold, Uber, Baumgärtner, and even J. L. Duport. Duport is well known of course, but I could not resist the opportunity to include his most famous etude: in G minor.

While there are a plethora of compositions to choose from, most of them are so technically demanding (as is customary of the Baroque era, there is much florid ornamentation) I have opted to avoid them. Time is of the essence.

The numbers I have chosen are interesting and pleasant. Some of them target students in the earlier or middle stages of cello studies. And one in particular is a solo but called A Duet for One Cello. Cellists regularly played double-stops in this era, so I am not really clear about the reason for giving it a “Duet” title.


If you are looking for some professionally printed music, rather than copied sheets (all of the music I play and record is in the public domain) go to Sheet Music Plus. They provide a warehouse of  1 million pieces of music to search through. Click on the link below or the hyperlink above.

https://www.sheetmusicplus.com/search?Ntt=georg+goltermann”?aff_id=721495″

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