Reveling in Ravel while Lost in a sea of scores…

Duo Parnas

As I search through the duo violin/cello repertoire I’m finding so many interesting gems as well as polished turds.  Not that the latter are bad things but when you’re working with others you obviously just can’t take your own taste into account.

The past couple of weeks Thursday afternoon I’ve been reading through movements of the Ravel Sonata for Violin and Cello.  It’s a work I never had the opportunity to publicly perform though I did spend some time learning and performing in a masterclass with members of the American String Quartet.  It’s a delightful piece which requires the player to be somewhat agile.  But for some reason back then (and now) I find it fits much of my skill set very well and I really don’t find it that cumbersomely difficult.

I’m remembering back then and the resources I had–a taped copy of Jaime Laredo and Leslie Parnas (ironically, I couldn’t remember who the cellist was and had to look it up) from a Marlboro Festival recording and a couple of other recordings of artists I can’t even recall now in the Music Library of my music school.  It’s doubly ironic as I loved the live video (which seems to be no longer available on Youtube) of duo Parnas (granddaughters of Leslie Parnas).

Despite the absence of the Duo Parnas video, that is something that has changed–there are tons of videos of this work by artists of various skill levels.  In some cases, the videos are just stills of recordings with the audio as a soundtrack.  The wealth and ease of information we have in this day and age is just astounding!

As I’m searching for other violin/cello duo repertoire, another resource I have at my hands is the Internet Score Database.  Three separate pages at this site list various public domain scores for this combination of instruments:

These lists, obviously, are hardly exhaustive, but offer several dozen repertoire building pieces for anyone looking to build a library for this instrumental combination.

I’ve scattered videos of all four movements throughout this post–in the order of the movements.  These are by no means my favorites of the bunch (as I haven’t listened to every one of the yet) but all are fine performances of the Ravel Sonata.

Sadly, I missed another chance to hear this performed live as I completely forgot about the Elliston Duo‘s recital (Patricia Rudisill, violin; Nicholas Gold, cello) at WKU a couple weeks ago.  I don’t think I was even free, but it would have been nice to see especially after having watched dozens of video performances.  But nothing can replace the live experience!

The other thing I’ve discovered over the past couple of months (especially after the recital I played the Beethoven Clarinet Trio on) is that I miss playing Classical Chamber Music.  I’m just glad to be able to step back into it after so many years stepping away from it!



2 thoughts on “Reveling in Ravel while Lost in a sea of scores…

  1. I absolutely love IMSLP. More people need to use and contribute to it. Especially with lapsed-copyright works, I don’t see why we need to charge exorbitant prices for scores of such beauty. That just aids in the death of ‘classical’ music as a popular art form and mass entertainment.


    1. IMSLP is one of the greatest things on the net these days! And yes–more people need to contribute to it especially as there are many tens of thousands of scores outside of the Western oeuvre which may benefit greatly from inclusion in that wiki!

      Very true about pricing being one factor on the death knell of classical music–I know so many non-professional (as well as professional) musicians and amateurs who use the site as much for personal pleasure as well for actual professional engagements. The more people we have who can read music and have easy access to it, the better!


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