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Friedrich Grützmacher: Technologie des Violoncellospiels op 38

Bärenreiter-Verlag BA 6997
October 2006

Friedrich Grützmacher
Technology of Violoncello Playing op 38
ed and with a text volume by Martin Rummel

Grützmacher's etudes op 38 have scared generations of students and I must say that some of the things he writes especially in the last ones are slightly over the top. Runs in tenths, double harmonic passages and other gimmicks are clearly an attempt to imitate virtuoso violin techniques on the cello. As a lot of this is - because in the higher register we do not have the thumb on the neck to stabilize a sense of position - is much more difficult than on the violin while at the same time never as effective, most of these techniques have never found entry into the "real" repertoire (eg the only place where I know a run in tenths is one bar in the Prokofiev Sinfonia Concertante), a few cellists' concertos such as Davidoff maybe as exceptions. Yet it is great to get to the point where one theoretically would be able to do it ...

The only edition available before my Bärenreiter one was one by Klengel in two volumes, and it was rather tricky to locate the two remaining copies of what we then believed to be the first print. One is in the US and one is in the Domarchiv in Salzburg. The librarian priest there was extremely helpful which made the editing process easy. I decided to put the two volumes back together in one as I think the motivation of buying and studying volume two separately might be smaller than getting through one book with an increasing demand of discipline. It is only few students who have the nerve to do this, but whoever does should be immensely proud of themselves.