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E. Jonas Liebeslied (Excerpt)

E. Jonas Liebeslied, Op.58 - Full Piece Recording 

Composer: Ernst Jonas (1845-1889)


It took some digging around to find much on Jonas.  IMSLP only mentions a note in an 1889 edition of the The Musical Courier about his death in Berlin.  The Courier referred to him as a talented cellist a gifted composer.

I found a link on a vaguely buried YouTube video to a biography of Jonas.  He played as a cellist in the Boston Symphony Orchestra in the 1880s.  He also lived in New York and Berlin and lived for a time in Brussels with his teacher Adrien-Francois Servais, "one of the most influential cellists of the 19th century."  Based on that company, I think it's safe to say Jonas's reputation as a talented cellist probably was deserved.

(Side note: the website with the bio is for Alwin Schroeder, a German-American cellist who also played with the BSO.  Schroeder became principal cellist after Jonas left the orchestra, but maybe they were in the cello section together before that.)

I'm not sure what nationality Jonas was.  He died in Berlin, but also studied in Belgium, and lived in the United States.  Guessing he spoke German based on the title of this piece, but that doesn't really narrow it down too much.  (German is a national language of Belgium and it's not like American's can't speak German.)

Date: Published in 1884


Original Instrumentation: 2 violins, viola, cello

Why this one:

Nothing exciting here.   Looked easy and was short.  I like to have something short and not too difficult in reserve in case I'm in a recording session and I finish a piece faster than I was anticipating.  

Liebeslied means "love song," btw.


Key:  Bb

Time: 3/4  BPM = 55


This is a pretty simple song in Bb built around a 9 measure theme in the violin 1 (left).  The violin 2, viola, and cello are in support filling out the harmony.  There's some motion in the cello, but the violin 2 and viola are mostly pulsing on the same note in any given measure.

After the second time through the theme there's a transition to a bridge of sorts (starting at about 1:04) that then melds back into the main theme for the ending.

It's not too harmonically complicated throughout, being mostly built around the I-IV with some dips into the V and vi.    There's probably a key modulation in the bridge; I can't quite put my finger on it but it's the only part with an obviously non-diatonic chord in it.



I recorded the cello part first with extremely little prep.   The day before the recording session I played through it only a few times, just in case I had extra a time.  I wasn't quite sight reading it at the session, but it was pretty close.

I did the cello and viola in the same session, as they were both easy, being mostly quarter notes with only two very short fast descending passages.

I did the remaining three parts in the same session in about an hour.  I was a lot more prepared on the violins and viola parts in that I actually methodically practiced them beforehand.  Which was good because all three parts had a couple of measures that would have been a nightmare if I had been as unprepared as I was on the cello.  (They weren't all that hard, but required a little bit of strategizing up front; I was lucky the cello was as straightforward as it was.)

No real issues during the recording, though I had some concentration issues when doing both the violin 1 and the viola part.  On these really slow and not technically demanding pieces, it's easy to get kind of complacent and have a few mental lapses.  Also, it was on the heels of a really tough session with the Rey violin part so I was wearing down a little. 

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