Vanhal Cello Concerto in C Major

| posted in: cello  Concerto 

About two months ago there was a posting on the Cello Reddit asking about the Vanhal Cello Concerto in C Major. I was intrigued enough that I hunted up a performance on YouTube and was struck by its similarity to the Haydn C Major Concerto. After listening to it, I wanted to learn to play it. Searching online revealed no good source for sheet music for the piece. I eventually used the university’s inter-library loan to get a copy of the full score from Rice University.

The full score is unfortunately a disaster. The typesetting is too small to be legible, there are numerous musical errors, entire passages for the cello are notated in viola clef, and there were many missed accidentals, leaving melodic lines unresolved.

In order to have sheet music that I could read and play from, I made a transcription using MuseScore As the full score was difficult to work from, I eventually purchased a Viola transcription of the piece as a second source. My cello teacher provided editorial help, and added dynamics, fingerings, and bowings to the piece.

The full score had some anomalies, including lengthy passages where the cello part was written in viola clef. Music from the Baroque era had a quirk regarding changes from bass to treble clef; without an intervening clef, a jump from bass to treble meant that the treble notes were to be played down one octave. As this is not common in modern editions of Baroque pieces, I shifted those passages to the pitch to be played. My transcription also corrects a number of pitches that were plainly incorrect in the source material.

My wife, a pianist and owner of a piano studio, used the reduction from the Viola transcription, along with the full score, to create a piano reduction for my cello transcription. Her goal was to create something that was appropriate, and not romanticized or overly florid. She also found a number of mistakes in the source material, which helped to improve my transcription.

The end result is the full concerto, with separate cello and piano reduction parts. The transcription is available on Sheet Music Plus or Sheet Music Direct.

YouTube performance videos:

I am indebted to my cello teacher and my wife, without whose help I would have been unable to complete this project.

Author's profile picture

Mark H. Nichols

I am a husband, cellist, code prole, nerd, technologist, and all around good guy living and working in fly-over country. You should follow me on Mastodon.