Being an intermediate student is quite an achievement. It means you successfully passed the hard first years where nothing really sounds quite right, and your family doesn’t leave the house anymore every time you practice! So now that you are in that wonderful stage where you crave more knowledge, and you have a fair understanding of how the cello works, all you need is to practice hard to become an advanced cello player.
It’s important to know that there is a very big repertoire of fun, challenging, and beautiful pieces for the intermediate level. You can choose from sonatas, concertos, short pieces, duets and many other forms to help your technique and musicianship.
We have all heard the beautiful cello concertos all cellists aspire to play – Dvorak, Elgar, Saint-Saëns, Lalo, etc. But before you get there, there are some great concertos and concertinos that are challenging and demanding, and will help your technique to eventually play these major pieces!
Concerto No. 4 in G Major Op. 65 – Georg Goltermann
This concerto is perfect to introduce the form to the student. It is usually known as the “Student’s Concerto”. It is somewhat romantic in style and prepares the student for more challenging music.
Concertino in C Major Op 7 – Julius Klengel
Slightly more challenging than the Goltermann Concerto, it is intensive in the shifts on 6th, 7th, and 8th position. It is somewhat reminiscent of the Haydn Cello Concerto in C Major and helps students reach that level.
Concerto in g minor for Two Cellos – Antonio Vivaldi
A great piece to develop your musicality, as you have to be in sync with another cellist. It is both demanding and energizing with fast passages.
Sonatas are a great way to improve your technique and expand your repertoire. They are smaller pieces than the concertos but can be just as challenging.
Sonatina in d minor – L.V. Beethoven
This Sonatina is perfect for an early intermediate student. With only two movements, this is an accessible piece and a great introduction to Beethoven.
6 Cello Sonatas – Luigi Boccherini
Boccherini didn’t want to make these sonatas known because he composed them before he reached a maturity as a composer and he was well known. The truth is that these sonatas are a gem and are great for cellists that want to solidify technique.
Seven Sonatinas for Cello and Piano
This book has 7 Sonatas (Beethoven’s Sonatina included) that are great to develop musicality and technique. You will find Sonatas from Mozart, Beethoven, Haydn, and Schubert. It’s a great book to add repertoire.
Pieces and Songs
Pieces and songs are a great way to improve your technique and to show what you have learned so far. They are faster to learn and really fun to play!
Élégie – Gabriel Fauré
This Élégie might seem simple to play at first, but when you reach those fast notes you’ll feel like your fingers will fall off the fingerboard. This piece is great to show off great technique and it’s not terribly difficult (when you study it slowly).
The Swan – Camille Saint-Saëns
This piece is part of Carnival of the Animals. It’s a very popular piece and it’s not difficult to learn. It’s very expressive and will definitely help you improve your musicality.
Cello Suites 1, 2, 3 – J.S. Bach
The cello suites are a school all by themselves. For the intermediate student though, Suites 1, 2, and 3 are perfect to improve technique and are accessible for the level the student is at.
The repertoire for the cellist who is at an intermediate level is vast and really fun. It’s a great opportunity to work hard to make great recitals and entertain an audience, as well as continue working towards a better technique through great music.