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1873 - 1943

File:Sergei Rachmaninoff, 1892.jpg

link to biography of Rachmaninoff

Lento e Allegro moderato
for cello and orchestra

an orchestral arrangement by Mark Starr
of the first movement of Rachmaninoff's Sonata
for cello and piano
, Opus 19 (1901)

A demo recording of this arrangement -- realized with digital musical sounds -- will begin to play automatically upon opening this page.  If you do not wish listen to it, please click on the STOP button (or the PAUSE button) on the media player, below.  You may wish to adjust the volume on your computer to a more comfortable level.


The Lento e Allegro moderato for cello and orchestra is Mark Starr's orchestral arrangement of the first movement of Rachmaninoff's Sonata for cello and piano, opus 19, composed in Russia in 1901. At the time of composition, Rachmaninoff was touring as piano accompanist to the celebrated Russian cellist Anatoly Brandukov. On December 2 of that year, the two premiered the work in Moscow.

Cellist Anatoly Brandukov with P. I. Tchaikovski

When the work was published by Gutheil in 1902, it was initially entitled Cello Sonata. But Rachmanninoff insisted that the title be changed to Sonata for Cello and Piano to reflect the equal importance of the piano accompaniment. (Some cellists have complained that the piano part dominates over the cello -- but that is hardly true in the hands of great interpreters who have the commensurate tone and technique.)
The accompaniment is indeed of unusual scope and complexity for any turn-of-the-Century sonata for a stringed instrument and piano.  Moreover, the piano part is filled with many orchestral effects and long, sostenuto passages. Thus, it suggests an orchestral accompaniment.

Indeed, in this orchestration by Mark Starr, the movement resembles some sections of Rachmaninoff's Piano Concerto No. 2, opus 18, which was also published in 1901. It is important to note that both of these works were composed at more-or-less the same time.

The Lento e allegro moderato for cello and orchestra is available now for performances and/or recordings in the U. S. and Canada.  In 2013, when Rachmanninoff's music falls into the public domain in all those countries that follow a post-mortem plus 70-year regime, Mark Starr's orchestral arrangement will also become available in the E. U. and in similar countries.

The score and parts are available on rental from Noteworthy Musical Editions.  The solo cello part matches the cello part in the sonata.

Duration 13 & 1/2 minutes


2 flutes
2 oboes
English horn
2 clarinets
bass clarinet
2 bassoons
4 horns
3 trumpets
tambourine basque
bass drum