Cello Concerto No. 2 in D Major, movement 1
In this masterclass, Chu Yi-Bing discusses how to play the first movement of Haydn’s D Major Cello Concerto following the conventions of Classical style. Chu urges the student to avoid playing romantically; instead, the performer must play cleanly and simply, and use small details to create beauty in the music.
In accordance with the Classical style, the triplets must always be even. Moreover, Chu warns against too much fluctuation of tempo, especially when presenting this concerto as an audition piece. He encourages the student to listen to the pianist and follow the same tempo while still remaining in a leadership role. Additionally, he emphasizes the importance of giving full weight to sixteenth notes, so that the music doesn’t rush. Finally, Chu helps the student find a sustained, singing quality of sound that captures the spirit of Haydn’s melodies.
Balancing and maintaining tempo with the pianist.
Capturing the style of Haydn and the Classical era.
Giving presence and full value to the fast notes.
Producing a singing quality.
Playing clear triplets.
Joseph Haydn’s concerto was composed for cello and orchestra in 1783 and was mistakenly thought to have been an homage piece to famous cellist Antonin Kraft. It premiered in London in 1784. The authorship of the piece was also in question for a while, as some people thought Kraft wrote it himself. In 1951, Haydn’s signature was uncovered on the score, putting an end to the rumours.
The piece is classically structured in three movements with the first being light and soothing, the second being a major shift and the finale being both somber at first and more cheerful at the end.
Aim for excellence! You can improve your skills with expert advice. Download the annotated sheet music of this cello masterclass. Please note that this piece has been annotated in accordance to Chu Yi-Bing’s feedback and comments.
Winner of the International Music Performance Competition in Geneva in 1986
Born into a family of musicians, Yi-Bing Chu began to learn the cello at the age of 8 with his father, who was professor at the Central Conservatory of Music (Beijing, China). At an early age he began to perform, and at 10, he recorded his first disc. At that time, the Cultural Revolution in China was still underway and classical music was banned. Chu eventually enrolled in a class taught by celebrated cellist, Maurice Gendron, at the Conservatoire National Supérieur de Musique in Paris. He graduated in 1987 with a Premier Prix. Furthermore, he won First Prize at the Concours international d’exécution de musique in Geneva in 1986.
In 1989, Chu became principal cellist at the Basel Symphony Orchestra, Switzerland, and stayed there until 2004. From 2004 to 2018, he was appointed cello professor at the Central Conservatory of Music in Beijing. There, he passionately contributed to the spread and influence of chamber music throughout China. With this, Chu founded the China Philharmonic Cellists, made up of his cellist students. With them, he has given hundreds of concerts across the country.
He has performed for prominent figures, such as the presidents of China, France and the United States. Chu is keen on spreading classical music to as many people as possible, by giving concerts in universities, hospitals, factories and jails for millions of Chinese people who have little access to this genre. He also founded the SuperCello Festival, Beijing, and produced three recordings with his cellist students.
Born in Austria in 1732, Joseph Haydn is widely regarded, along with Mozart and Beethoven, as a bonafide representative of Viennese classicism. He was raised in a musical family with a family of music lovers. At eight-years-old, he was recruited to serve as a choirboy at the Stephansdom in Vienna, Austria. Here, the young musician rehearsed and sang in performances of the most prominent classical music of the time. The experience would fundamentally shape his musical intellect and future.
Joseph Haydn eventually landed a job as a Kapellmeister (Music Director) where he composed his first symphonies and divertimentos. In 1761, his career would continue to flourish after gaining new employment with Prince Paul Anton of Esterházy, and later his brother Prince Nikolaus of Esterházy. Fortunately for the composer, he had the privilege to work with one of the best European orchestras of the time, for which he wrote most of his works. By the 1780s, Haydn’s works were gaining even more popularity and recognition. At times, he was occasionally compared to Mozart.
Prince Nikolaus died in 1790, and his successor, Anton, decided to dissolve the court orchestra led by Haydn. After this, he took up residence in Vienna, and then took the opportunity to make several trips to London, where his music was celebrated by the public.
The composer spent the last years of his life back in Vienna, where he continued to enjoy international recognition until the day of his passing at the age of 77, on May 31, 1809. In spite of his death, Joseph Haydn continued to be regarded as one of the most prolific and important composers of the Classical era. A common characteristic of his music is the evolution of larger structures out of simple and short musical motifs. His works are key to the development of the sonata form, as well as towards the establishment of symphonies. Overall, Joseph Haydn produced an astonishing volume of music including 108 symphonies, 68 string quartets, 32 divertimenti, 126 trios for Barton, viola, and cello; 29 trios for piano, violin, and cello; 21 trios for two violins and cello; 47 piano sonatas; 14 masses, 20 operas; 2 cello concerti; and 6 oratorios.