Now 37 guests online

We accept

Join Us in Telegram:



Shostakovich - Cello Sonata d-moll op. 40

Shostakovich - Cello sonata op. 40. You can download the PDF sheet music Shostakovich - Cello sonata op. 40 on this page. The Cello sonata in D minor, Op. 40, was one of Dmitri Shostakovich's early works.It was written by Shostakovich in Moscow in 1934, at the express request of an impresario friend, Viktor Kubatsky, who gave the first performance, with the composer at the piano, on 25th December 1934, in the small hall of the Leningrad Conservatory. Revised several times, it was not until the critical edition of 1982 that all the modifications were taken into account. According to the dedicatee, who lived in Moscow with the composer, the first movement, Allegro non troppo, was written in the space of two sleepless nights when Shostakovich had just quarrelled with his wife, Nina, who abruptly went back to Leningrad.
Cello part edition by V.Kubatsky, fingering and bowing by Rostropovich.

To download PDF, click the "Download PDF" button below the appropriate sheet music image.
To view the first page of Shostakovich - Cello sonata op. 40 click the music sheet image.


PDF format sheet music


Cello part: 14 pages. 3445 K


Piano part: 41 pages. 9304 K


Instrument part - First page Piano part - First page
Download PDF (14.99 €) Download PDF (14.99 €)

Movements description:

I - Allegro non troppo

The sonatina form first movement contrasts a broad first theme in cello, accompanied by flowing piano arpeggios, developed by the piano towards an intense climax. As tension abates, a ray of light appears with the tender second theme, with unusual tonal shifts, announced by the piano and imitated by the cello. In the development a spiky rhythmic motif penetrates through the flowing textures of the first theme, but soon the gentler second theme reappears. All seems in order, until however, convention is cast aside as Shostakovich introduces an unusual pianissimo "recapitulation" section where all moves in slow motion, with staccato chords in the piano and sustained notes in the cello.
II – Allegro

The second movement has a perpetual motion energy, its thrusting repeated ostinato pattern relentlessly shared while a delicate first theme – almost incongruous – is presented by piano in widely spaced octaves, a sonority often used by Shostakovich. The cello’s more light-hearted theme is later imitated, Pierrot-like up in the piano’s brittle high register. Piquant wit abounds in familiar classical gestures set askew, sudden lurches into unrelated keys, until the initial driving ostinato resumes, leading to a sudden conclusion.
III – Largo

The bleak expanses of Russia are evoked in the soulful slow movement, piano providing a dark backdrop for the cello’s rhapsodic, vocal theme. It is one of the earliest examples of a mood that was to feature in many of Shostakovich’s most powerful works, reflective introspection through icy dissonances that touch yet do not settle on warmer consonances, until the music eventually fades into the impressionistic twilight.
IV - Allegro
Caustic with colours the brief yet ebullient finale, a type of rondo in which the main playful theme appears three times, imitated by both instruments, interspersed by episodes full of sparking scales. In the second of these, the piano is let loose in a cadenza of helter-skelter zest, ebulliently veering into unexpected tonal highways. The theme returns, to round the movement off in abrupt yet decisive brilliance.

The cello opens the dialogue with a serene, almost Tchaikovsky-like melody, which develops smoothly. The melodic idea that follows, tranquillo, is the first use of a theme that we will encounter again, magnified in the Fifth Symphony to come. The cello expresses successive emotional states, clearly specified by abundant metronome and dynamic markings, with as much splendour as in the finest Rachmaninov: rubato impetuoso, the frequent alternation between pizzicato and con arco, up until the linked Largo (bar 200) which takes up the altered opening theme in an almost tragic tempo. The second Allegro is a true scherzo in the intentionally ironic and provocative folk style that one finds in the ballet The Golden Age and in the opera Lady Macbeth of the Mtsensk District. The piano accentuates the lively intermezzo nature of this scherzo with its clear-cut, metallic rhythms and dynamics ranging up to Iff, while the cello executes a few acrobatic figures in the key of G in the thumb position, on limited glissandos, up until the coda, marcato, which is perhaps a first example of satirical plagiarism against Prokofiev. The atmosphere of the following Largo is in sharp contrast: the Golden Age-style has given way to one of Shostakovich's earliest existential meditations, considered "fresh and lyrical" by officials of the time. Here, he is already composing a monologue in the manner ot Pushkin, wherein the cello replaces the voice. For the first time, the dynamic marking pppp appears (bar 83). The closing Allegro is a lively, sarcastic rondo in which provocation and the grotesque appear in the piano part: on condition that it masters this furious round in which the cello must await bar 227 before imposing itself. After this burst, it goes off in a moto perpetuo form (detached crescendo) that leads to the final risoluto, requiring an intensity rarely available from the fingers of a salon cellist.

© 2022 Viola Music Plus. Tel: +4917637837730 (SMS)   
PDF Sheet music for viola, violin, cello and other strings