The instrument we know today developed from the "bass violin" and came into general use in the 17th century. Through her research of performers and teachers, from Boccherini and Romberg to Casala and Jacqueline du Pre, author Margaret Campbell presents a rich picture of traditions handed down the generations and developed internationally, and recreates the magic of the greatest cellists in history.
The Great Cellists is a comprehensive and authoritative history of the lives and work of the cello's great performers and teachers, from the emergence of the solo instrument in the seventeenth century to the present day. In its early history, the cello was a genuine 'bass' violin that came in three sizes and from the thirteenth century was played side by side with viols and later violins. The instrument we know today came into general use by the time the great makers of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries - such as Amati, Stradivari and Guarneri - brought their craft to perfection and made numerous of the instruments most sought after by today's virtuosi. Many of the earliest known professional cellists were employed as court musicians, but their names have not been widely known. The most familiar names belong to those early cellists who were also composers: Boccherini, Romberg, Piatti and Popper. In more recent times, the great Europeans Becker, Klengel and Salmond led to Feuermann, Piatogorsky, Fournier, Rostropovich, and above all to Casals; and they, in turn, have greatly influenced contemporary musicians such as the late Jacqueline du Pre and the manifold brilliant players from Russia, Japan and the USA. The Great Cellists reveals a splendid range of personalities from the conventional to the eccentric.
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