Concerto for Cello and Orchestra in D Minor

By Edouard Lalo

Édouard Lalo (1823-1892) was a prominent French romantic composer. He attended the Paris Conservatory and was active as a string player and teacher. He became well-known as a composer of orchestral and chamber music, including such works as the Symphonie Espagnole for violin and orchestra, his symphony in G minor, and the D minor ‘cello concerto.

This concerto is in three movements. A slow opening 8-bar orchestral theme (Prelude-Lento) leads to a fantasy/recitative between the solo ‘cello and the orchestra, before jumping into the dramatic main theme (Allegro maestoso). The middle movement has two contrasting sections – a romantic wistful Andantino, followed by a sprightly Spanish-style Allegro presto; both are repeated, with the movement ending in soft pizzicati by soloist and orchestra. The last movement opens with a somber ‘cello recitative (Introduction-Andante); after a brief orchestral statement in the minor key, the ‘cello sets the tone for a joyous rondo in D major (Rondo-Allegro vivace). The Rondo features brilliant solo passagework set off by contrasting orchestral sections.