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Stojowski - Cello sonata

Stojowski - Cello sonata. You can download the sheet music Stojowski - Cello sonata on this page.

Sonate pour Piano et Violoncelle, op. 18 was written in Kissingen and Paris sometime in the early part of the last decade of the 19th century. The manuscript is found in the Zygmunt and Luisa Stojowski Collection, and "Op. 17" is written on the manuscript. The printed score, however, has been published with both 17 and 18 as the given opus number. The first edition, dating from 1894, is dedicated to Stojowski's teacher, mentor and lifelong friend, Ignacy Jan Paderewski (1860-1941). With this is mind, it is easy to understand why the piano part is technically more demanding than the cello part, a characteristic of the Polish cello sonata.

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PDF format sheet music

Cello part: 11 pages. 854 K


Piano part: 48 pages. 3559 K


Instrument part - First page Piano part - First page
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The work explores the cantabile character of the violoncello, and is cyclic in form. Stojowski uses sonata allegro form for the first and last movements, while the second movement is A B AI B1 A2. The opening theme of the first movement and the second movement's contrasting theme (B) are based on the rhythm of the Polish folk dance, kujaxviak. The thematic material is based on modal scales. The first is a pentatonic scale (e f# - a - b c#) and the second is the hypolydian scale (g - a - b-flat - c - d e- f-g) [Suchecki, Krystyna and Roman. "Polska Sonata Wiolonczelowa" (The Polish Violoncello Sonata), in Zeszyty Naukowe X. Gdansk: Wyzsza Szkola Muzyczna w Gdansku, 1972. 203-223.].

The Sonata's first performance took place with French cellist Joseph Salmon (1864-1943) accompanied by the composer at the Salle Erard in Paris in May 1896. Pablo Casals (1876-1973) also performed the work with the composer in Paris in May 1900. It was Casals, along with pianist Harold Bauer, who recommended Stojowski to Frank Damrosch for the position of professor of piano at the Institute of Musical Art in New York City. Stojowski accepted the post in 1905, becoming a founding faculty member of that school which was later incorporated into the Juilliard School of Music. In America, Stojowski performed the Sonata with Alwin Schroeder (1855-1920), principal cellist of the Boston Symphony Orchestra in 1910, and, in 1917, with Herman Sandby (1881-1965), principal cellist of the Philadelphia Symphony Orchestra. Thaddeus Brys (b. 1929), professor emeritus at the University of Louisiana in Baton Rouge, who studied piano with Stojowski as a young child before switching to the cello, performed the work together with Luisa Stojowska during a Stojowski memorial broadcast for New York radio station WNYC-NY on April 30, 1952.

Zygmunt (Sigisniond) Denis Antoni Jordan Stojowski, born in Strzelce near Kielce on 8 April 1870, first studied composition with Wladyslaw Zelenski in Cracow. He later continued his compositional studies with Léo Delibes, harmony with Théodore Dubois, and piano with Louis Diémer at the Conservatoire National in Paris (1887-89), where he won first prizes in piano as well as in counterpoint and fugue. Following graduation, he continued his musical studies with Wladyslaw Gôrski and Ignacy J. Paderewski, and also received a Bachelor of Letters Diploma at the Sorbonne University.

In 1905, Stojowski settled in New York, where he became the head of the piano department of the new Institute of Musical Art. In 1926, it merged with the Juilliard Graduate School to form the Juilliard School of Music. In New York, he had the distinction of being the first Polish composer to have an entire programme of his music performed by the New York Philharmonic Orchestra on I March 1915. As a pianist he gave recitals throughout Europe, North and South America and performed with the most outstanding orchestras of his day. As a pedagogue he was in such demand that he resigned from his academic teaching position to open his own "Stojowski Studios" in Manhattan, and for 20 years gave summer master classes throughout the USA. As a pianist he performed with the best orchestras of Europe and America, including six performances with the New York Symphony Society and the New York Philharmonic Orchestra.

Stojowski was one of the most highly respected post romantic composers of his day. His prize-winning Symphony in D minor was performed in the inaugural concert of the Warsaw Philharmonic Orchestra in 1901, and he was featured as both composer and pianist during the inaugural concerts of the Lwôw (now Lviv, Ukraine) Philharmonic Orchestra in 1902. Unfortunately, after the outbreak of WW I, Stojowski returned to Poland only once.
That was in October 1929 when he performed his Second Piano Concerto on the opening concert of the Warsaw Philharmonic's season.

His music is noted for its rich lyricism and chromatic complexity. In the later works, Stojowski's chromaticism reaches beyond the borders of tonal music, and occasionally abandons tertian harmony using instead the fourth, the fifth and diminished fifth to create his harmonic textures. Influences of impressionism are also found in his works such as the frequent use of the tritone, the melodic use of whole-tone scales as well as the harmonic use of whole-tone collections, parallel harmonic progressions and colouristic techniques such as the use of harmonics on the piano.

In addition to his musical career, Stojowski was extremely active in the American Polonia (the Latin word Poland uses to describe her diaspora), working untiringly for the Polish cause during World War I and championing the newly independent nation after 1918. The United States Treasury Department awarded him the Distinguished Service Medal on 10 July 1919. On 28 November 1926, in recognition of his efforts for the rebirth of a sovereign Polish state, Stojowski was awarded the highest order that the Polish government could confer upon a civilian, Polonia Restituta. During the 1920's Stojowski also served on the National Council Advisory Board for the newly formed Kosciuszko Foundation in New York. He was the president of the Koto Polskie (Polish Circle) in New York for over 20 years, a charter member of the American Polish Chamber of Commerce and Industry, a co-founder of the Polish Institute of Arts and Letters, and a frequently published author of articles on both music and Polish history. As a septuagenarian during World War II, he was the founder and chairman of the Polish Musicians' Committee, which helped displaced Polish musicians in Western Europe, and the president of the Polish Review, a weekly magazine published with the assistance of the Polish Government Information Centre.

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