The following article is an excerpt from Lev Ginsburg's History of the Violoncello (of which this may be considered a short review), and is representative of the fine work done by Dr. Ginsburg. His book begins with Romberg, and ends with modern cello music and cellists up to the mid twentieth century. The History of the Violoncello (1983, Paganiniana Publications) should be in every cellist's library. If you are looking for a copy, it is out of print, but you may possibly find a used copy at Montagnana Books.

Other European Violoncellists
The Dresden School

(In particular you will find information about Dotzauer, Kummer, Grutzmacher, Schroder, Lee, Prell and Haussmann.)

During the first decades of the 19th century, the art of the violoncello developed markedly in several German towns. This was closely linked,to the development of music in general, of operatic, symphonic and chamber music in particular, of professional music education, as well as to the appearance of conservatoires in Germany. Romberg, then at the height of his creative activity, also undoubtedly exercised a certain influence.

Unlike many countries where the capitals were the centers of musical life for almost the entire century, Germany's political disunity (it was finally united only in 1871), had several music centers -Hamburg, Leipzig, Dresden, Berlin, Munich and others-which sprang up comparatively early.

The feudal disunity of the country had a negative impact not only on its economic, social and political life, but also on its national cultural development. At the same time, the fact that there were many royal and princely courtsvith excellent music chapels was objectively conducive to the early development of music and musical practice in different towns. That occurred against a background of military events (Germany was often at the center) beginning with Napoleonic invasions and ending with the Franco-Prussian war, and a background of great revolutionary changes-the 1830 and 1848 bourgeois revolutions.

Foreign musicians (Czech, Italian, French) also played a definite role during the 19th century in the development of the German music, particularly the violoncello. But with national self-awareness heightened, and with the democratization of its music, the particularity of advanced German art and its base in folk origins, in the achievements of the great German musicians of the past (Bach, Telemann, Handel, Haydn) and of the moment (Beethoven, Mendelssohn, Schumann, Brahms, Wagner) became more apparent.

Progressive esthetic views of outstanding musicians like Mendelssohn, Schumann, Brahms, Liszt, Berlioz had a very positive impact on overcoming the superficiality of the salon and empty virtuosity in performing art, not only in Germany, but in Europe as a whole. The 18th century classical works, as well as those of Beethoven, Schumann, Brahms and their contemporaries were more often included in the repertoires of the most prominent 19th century performers. At the same time, from the beginning of the second half of the century, questions of the artistic interpretation of this music became increasingly prominent.

Simultaneously, the advanced performers, including violoncellists, were greatly attracted to chamber music, especially quartets. This helped to ennoble musical taste and developed a sense of style. It was accompanied, of course, by the struggle between different tastes and trends, a struggle by the advanced musicians for profound content of art, against middle-class conventionality and artistic shallowness.


Dresden - the capital of the Duchy of Saxony from 1806 - was one of the German musical centers of the 19th century. The court chapel, already famous in the 18th century when Johann Hasse was court opera composer, also attracted excellent musicians later. Carl Maria von Weber headed the royal opera house from 1817. Between 1839 and 1861, the illustrious Polish violinist Karol Lipinsky was concertmaster there.

There are sufficient grounds to speak about the Dresden violoncello school of the 19th century, its outstanding representatives being Justus Johann Friedrich Dotzauer and Friedrich August Kummer, with Friedrich Wilhelm GrUtzmacher the leading light of the second half of the century. Because of these masters and their pupils, as well as their pedagogical works which-were used so extensively then, the significance of this school goes far beyond Germany.

Justus Johann Friedrich Dotzauer was born on January 20, 1783 at Haselrich, near Hildburghausen. His father was a local pastor and an ardent music-lover. In his childhood Justus played the piano, violin and cello. The organist and composer RUttinger, who had studied with Johann Christian Kittel-the last pupil of J.S. Bach-instructed Dotzauer in music theory and elementary composition. The young musician also took lessons on the double-bass, the French horn and clarinet. At the age of fifteen, he had already played the violoncello variations by Ignac Joseph Pleyel at the Hildburghausen court concert.

After choosing the cello as his prime focus, Dotzauer left for Meiningen in 1799 and continued his studies there under the then famous German violoncellist and concertmaster of the ducal chapel Krigck-a pupil of Jean Duport.

Two years later, Dotzauer was admitted to the Meiningen court chapel. There he stayed until 1805, when he left for a Leipzig chapel. Dotzauer remained in Leipzig until 1811, and with Matthei, Campagnioli and Voigt he formed a quartet which won great acclaim. In 1810, they gave twelve concerts in Leipzig which were among the first public quartet concerts in Europe.' Ludwig Spohr spoke highly of Dotzauer as a chamber musician, and emphasized the peculiar purity of his intonation and perfection of technique. The famous German violinist and composer also appreciated him as a concert-soloist.

While he was in Leipzig, Dotzauer played in the Gewandhaus orchestra until 1811. He often visited Berlin to listen to Romberg, and whenever the opportunity arose, improved his playing under the latter's guidance. Although these were evidently only occasional lessons, the playing of the great master, then at the height of his world fame, made a huge impression on young Dotzauer and influenced his performing style, which his contemporaries praised for its combination of "solidity and grace," expressiveness and technical skill. Besides his own compositions, Dotzauer's repertoire included concertos by Romberg, Arnold and other contemporaries.

After being appointed to the post of royal chamber musician in Dresden in 1811, Dotzauer gave a farewell concert in Leipzig.

Dotzauer played in the Dresden chapel for forty years (from 1821 until 1850 as principal violoncellist), taking part in symphonic and operatic performances. For a number of years after 1817 he played there under Carl Maria von Weber and later (1842-1849) under Richard Wagner. Dotzauer played in the premieres of Wagner's operas Rienzi and The f7ying Dutchman.

When in 1841 Hector Berlioz was invited to two concerts in Dresden, he found the Dresden orchestra in its full flower. Effusively praising the Dresden chapel, Berlioz wrote: "Besides the outstanding artists whom I have already named, there is the excellent professor Dotzauer. He leads the violoncellists, but is simultaneously responsible for the performance of the first desk basses, as the double-bassist playing next to him is too old...

Quite often, Dotzauer performed in solo recitals and as a chamber musician, a member of the quartet featuring Limberg, Schmidel, Peschke and himself.

From time to time the violoncellist toured in other towns of Germany, Austria and the Netherlands. Reviews usually centered on the mastery and expressiveness of the Dresden violoncellist's performance, and historians of the violoncello art note the qualities of his playing, such as "great solidity and fascinating sweetness," "combination of power of tone with nobility and gracefulness of style."

In 1850, Dotzauer left his post in the court orchestra and retired. He died in Dresden on March 6, 1860.

Dotzauer successfully combined a concert and teaching career. During his 50 years in Dresden, he taught many excellent violoncellists-Voigt, Kummer, Drechsler, Schubert and his son, Karl Ludwig Dotzauier. Voigt's activity centered around Leipzig; Kummer in Dresden; Drechsler in Dessau; Schubert and K.L. Dotzauer in Kassel.

Dotzauer was no ordinary composer-he wrote an opera (Graziosa), several masses, symphonies, overtures, and chamber compositions. But they lost their artistic significance. This is also true of most of his cello works, which comprise nine concertos, three concertinos, the Double concerto (for two cellos), sonatas, fantasias, variations, divertissements and pot-pourris -so popular at the time, especially in teaching.

Many amateur musicians of the first half and of the middle of the last century made extensive use of the collections of operatic arias arranged by Dotzauer for cello with the bass part (in the 1830s he published six of these collections) which are among the earliest violoncello transcriptions.

Dotzauer's teaching compositions were very valuable, and some are still. The cellist tried to embody his long years of performing and teaching experience in numerous etudes, exercises and methods. He compiled The Violoncello Method Op. 165 (1832), The Violoncello Method for Elementary Teaching Op. 126 (1836), The Method of Playing Harmonics Op. 147 (1837), and The Practical Method of Violoncello Playing Op. 155 (s.a.).

The Violoncello Method Op. 165 consists of two parts: the first is dedicated to the method of violoncello playing, and the second to practical teaching material. This material is primarily schematic and is of little interest from the musical point of View, although the cello part is accompanied by a second cello, which makes it slightly more musical and helps develop the habit of ensemble playing.

As he tries to cover various kinds of technique, the author is not always very consistent in the pattern of the exercises; as he is unable to provide sufficient material for practicing one specific skill, he relies on the teacher and on an additional list of recommended pedagogical literature.

Judging by the drawing of the cellist at the instrument contained in Dotzauer's Method, it was essentially different from that of Romberg's. Though both positions are based on playing without the spike and holding the instrument between the calves, Dotzauer's position is freer and more natural, and the cello is held not very deep. Unlike Romberg's firm "grip," Dotzauer's manner of holding the bow is less tense. Whereas the French schools advised holding the bow at a certain distance from the frog, Dotzauer was one of the first (if not the very first) author of violoncello methods who insisted that the bow be held near the frog-as do today's contemporary cellists. Especially attentive to the freedom of the right hand, Dotzauer was basically correct in evaluating the role of the other parts of the arm, and tried to encourage natural movements throughout the whole length of drawing the bow. The position of the left hand is also close to the contemporary- specifically violoncello.

Besides his etudes and capriccios, in the list of additional recommended literature Dotzauer gives the Method of the Paris Conservatoire (1804) and the Method of Duport (1806). In Dotzauer's Method one can sense a certain influence of Romberg, though his Method appeared only in 1840. At the same time, in some respects Dotzauer takes an independent course.

As far as shifts of positions are concerned, he comes very close to the principles of Davydov, who was the first to systematize in his Method (1888) the development of this important technical device in the sense of expressiveness. Dotzauer thought portamento not suitable for tutti, but suitable for solo concert music, in which case it "could produce quite a pleasant effect."

He worked out the thumb device both theoretically and methodically. In the fingering of scales (he gives alternate fingering with and without open strings) he is a step ahead compared to Romberg, although not yet at the level of Davydov.

Dotzauer presents three alternate fingerings for the C Major scale, the second of which is rhythmical and the third-with the thumb -absolutely outdated.

In the Method there is material to help develop the technique of double stops (including fourths and fifths) and as a rare example for the cello, the octaves played with "Fingersatz": 9 -3; 1-4. Dotzauer gives the rich scale of embellishments (ornamentation) its due place. Vibrato is also included.

Much attention is given to bowing, with three main strokes differentiated. The first one is the long stroke (semibreve notes in slow tempo) for which he recommends "economy" of the bow and performance of each long note crescendo and diminuendo. The second stroke is "wave-like," performed by the hand on two or more alternating legato strings. The third one is a short and emphasized stroke. He advises to play the strokes upbow, when it is easier and more natural to play them downbow, and vice versa.

Dotzauer considers about 120 stroke combinations and introduces a visual schematic table of strokes. Here, dotted strokes and various kinds of arpeggios are of great interest. Of the specific strokes, Dotzauer emphasizes staccato on one bow motion. In his Practical Method he writes about a spiccato stroke, which he is more tolerant of than was Romberg.

In the esthetic sense, Dotzauer's principles as presented in his Method indicate his opinion as relatively progressive and close to the basics of the French schools and of Romberg's Method, published eight years later.

Dotzauer considered tonal power and purity extremely important. He evidently was very concerned that the sound be warm, with vibrato (he calls it tremolo), though in the Method he links its application only with the "sustained sounds." According to the spirit of the time he, like Romberg, made limited use of vibrato, although he wrote that with long notes it produced a very sweet impression.

Differentiating between the sound requirements of a soloist and an orchestral or chamber musician, Dotzauer wrote: "When overcoming the most difficult passages seems to be a brilliant achievement, infinitely superior is the merit of producing a beautiful tone and the ability to play melodiously; the sound of the noblest instrument approaching the human voice remains an incontestable example and model for every musician."

Quoting Rousseau's Dictionnaire de musique (1768), Dotzauer spoke of the importance of musical taste being based on simplicity.

"A musician, who, as they used to say, does not leave a single note undistorted, who frames simple and quiet singing with embellishments and plays either with harmonics, or pizzicato, or ponticello, either up the fingerboard, or down, torturing the ear with different strokes ... such a musician is a bad performer, who has no notion of beautiful simplicity. He vulgarly insults good taste."

Dotzauer pays special attention to the accompaniment of recitatives. Demanding that a violoncellist have complete command of the instrument and knowledge of harmony, he speaks about the correspondence of the sound force to the "main effect," about the submission of the accompaniment to the solo singer.

He warns the cellist accompanist to refrain from superfluous embellishments and passages-the sin of many musicians of the time -which distracted listeners' attention from the vocal part. Dotzauer distinguished the "simple recitative," in which the cellist only supported the declamation of the singer, from the "obligato recitative" in which the orchestral instrument played an independent role.

The Practical Method comprised four books of etudes and exercises in order of progressively growing difficulty: "Elementary teaching and eighteen progressive exercises" (for beginners with the accompaniment of a second cello); "Twenty etudes and scale-like exercises in the first positions" (containing material for practicing finger technique, shifts and bowing); "Twenty duets with the thumb" (the last three are of virtuoso character) and "Twenty-four daily etudes to achieve virtuosity" (double stops, cadenza-like passages and various complicated strokes are employed).

The Method of Playing Harmonics includes the methods of this device, double stops, scales and exercises in harmonics, plus an additional section on pizzicato played by the left hand.

As justly stated by Eckhardt, Dotzauer's methods do not contain interesting enough material in the musical respect, but because of their methodic and pedagogical qualities were quite popular for many successive decades. Many re-editions by Schroder, Salter, Becker and Klingenberg (Op. 165) as well as translations attest to their pedagogical value and popularity even-in the present century.

Dotzauer's Daily Exercises were his most successful piece of fortune, and were very popular especially in Germany, as material for teaching and practice purposes. Almost all prominent German violoncellists and pedagogues wrote exercises of this type, trying to make a sort of compendium of exercises covering different techniques and helping to preserve and develop them. But as time went by, the rational and differentiated use of this kind of manual evolved into formal daily playing of all exercises without an intelligent selection of the most suitable of them for each individual musician at a definite stage of his education. By the end of the last century, in German teaching of the violoncello, such use of "daily exercises" often led to formalism, to substitution of the nurturing of an artist by the training of a professional dabbler.

The merits of Dotzauer's many etudes lie in their exceptionally varied technique, in their pedagogic rationality and in the different degrees of difficulty -from elementary exercises to the most difficult virtuoso etudes. Dotzauer's 113 etudes, selected and edited by Johann Klingenberg," a pupil of Friedrich GrUtzmacher, are still widely used during the entire period the violoncello is taught.

Dotzauer's Preludes and Fugues for Violoncello Solo Op. 178 deserve special mention, as they might be a valuable aid when working at polyphony and preparing a young cellist for the study of Bach's solo suites.

Of special note is Dotzauer's early edition of Bach's Six suites for violoncello solo, first published in Leipzig in 1825 (by the Probst editorial board) -without the name of the editor. Only a year later-also in Leipzig-(by Breitkopf and Hertel) the suites. were republished in Dotzauer's edition which differed from the previous one in strokes and dynamic marks.

Though Dotzauer's edition is outdated and is only of historical significance now, its value is in no way denigrated, as it was the first edition conceived from the point of view of a performer, proving Dotzauer's early interest in Bach's music and showing that he did try to include the suites in the concert and teaching repertoire. But neither Probst nor Dotzauer call them suites. Probst calls them Six Sonatas or etudes, while Dotzauer uses Six Solos or etudes. He seems somewhat hesitant about the definition of their musical and instructive character. Although the incontestable artistic value of the suites was acknowledged much later, Dotzauer's role in the rebirth of these works should not be underestimated, especially if we remember that Bach's violin solo sonatas and partitas in Ferdinand David's edition appeared only in 1843.

Like Dotzauer, Friedrich August Kummer made his name in violoncello history as a talented performer, teacher and author of many teaching compositions for the cello. He was born on August 5, 1797 in Meiningen, the son of an oboist. When the boy was very young, his father was invited to the Dresden court chapel, and the family moved to Dresden. When Dotzauer began his career there in 1811, Kummer, who had previously studied oboe, became a pupil of his. According to Franqois-joseph Fetis, the young cellist took several lessons from Bernhard Romberg, who frequently appeared in concert in Dresden.

By the season of 1812/13, Kummer had already played in opera orchestra rehearsals as a trainee. A year later, he was admitted to the Dresden chapel, but because there was no violoncello vacancy, he entered as an oboist first. Carl Maria von Weber, who arrived in Dresden to supervise the glorious royal opera house, became very interested in the young musician, and Kummer was appointed a violoncellist in the theatre orchestra in 1814.

Determined and enthusiastic study of the cello combined with natural talent yielded brilliant results, and quickly led to Kummer's acclaim as a top-notch performer. In 1850, he succeeded Dotzauer as principal violoncellist in the court chapel, and remained there until his retirement in 1864 when his 50th anniversary was festively celebrated. Kummer died on August 22, 1879, in Dresden.

After visiting the Dresden Opera in 1858, Alexander Serov wrote delightfully about its orchestra, noting that "the famous Kummer was at the violoncello." Kummer often appeared in solo recitals as well-not only in Dresden, but in Leipzig, Berlin, Weimar and Rudolfstadt. He also won acclaim in Vienna, Prague, Milan, Copenhagen and other cities. In Vienna during the 1820s and 30s, he even competed with Romberg and Borer.

After 1840, Kummer did not tour often, as his time was consumed by the orchestra. But aside from the court concerts in Dresden, he, common to the period, often performed as a soloist in the intermissions during opera performances. Pietro Raimondi's opera La Donna Colonnello is known to have been "saved" by Dresden musicians-among them the violoncellist August Kummer and the violinist Antonio Rolla -who played concert pieces during intermissions.

Kummer was also an excellent chamber musician. In Dresden, he played in a quartet with the concertmaster and violinist Franz Schubert, and with Karol Lipinsky. Kummer repeatedly appeared with Schubert in concert duets, enchanting audiences by their amazing sense of ensemble playing.

From the 1839/40 season on, the quartet "academies" organized by Karol Lipinsky in Dresden rose to fame. Kummer played in the Quartet along with F. Schubert and B. Milller. Their repertoire consisted mainly of the works of Haydn, Mozart and Beethoven, including his last quartets. Wiktor Kazyfiski heard their brilliant performance of the Beethoven quartets Op. 95 and 131 at the home of Lipinsky.

A Dresden reviewer highly praised the Lipinsky ensemble's performance of quartets by Haydn, Mozart and Beethoven in 1856. He mentioned the technical mastery, expressive interpretation and faithfulness to the style distinguishing the ensemble. At the time, the members were K. Lipinsky, F. Hiflweck, L. Hering and Kummer.

In 1838, Robert Schumann heard Kummer in a Quartet performance in the Leipzig Gewandhaus, where the first violin was Pierre Baillot, the second, Karol Lipinsky, and the viola, Felix Mendelssohn. In 1844, Kummer played in an ensemble with the Russian violinist Aleksey Lvov, to whom he dedicated the tables on instrumentation that he edited in Dresden.

When in 1856 a conservatoire opened in Dresden, Kummer was invited as professor of the cello class, and held the post almost until the end of his life. Among his many pupils were his sons Ernst and Max, Bernhard Cossmann, Justus Goltermann, Arved Poorten, Richard Bellmann and, according to some sources, Robert Haussmann.

Kummer possessed a powerful, beautiful tone and remarkable knowledge of the fingerboard. The outstanding features of his style, reflecting Romberg's and Dotzauer's influences, were its nobility, lack of excessive affectation and the aspiration to penetrate the spirit of the work being performed. His playing might have seemed somewhat stiff and overly academic, but it always remained simple and natural, and never overstepped the boundaries stipulated by the nature of the instrument.

K. Miltitz, a music critic who played the cello himself, provided Kummer as the example when speaking of the German way of playing, and specifically, about the trend that featured nobility, seriousness and solidity. Another reviewer wrote: "Kummer is distinguished for his peculiar composure while performing great feats of virtuosity. But the main thing about him is his elegiac playing; how wonderfully Kummer can reveal it, and how often he brings the listener to this mood ... E. van der Straeten considers Kummer one of the greatest German violoncellists of his time, who made an intrinsic contribution to the further development of the art of the cello. A classical style of performance, great and noble tone, and virtuosity were the highlights of his playing, but he was a stranger to the lighter and more brilliant bowing technique of the French and Belgian schools .

A similar appraisal of him was made by Wilhelm Wasielewski: "Kummer's playing bore the stamp of great precision and correctness, united to powerful and solid intonation. His technique was in every point thoroughly cultivated, but to acquire the 'finesse' of a virtuoso he was of too simple a nature, which was better calculated to occupy itself with the sphere of music in its intellectual aspects than in brilliant display... His manner of rendering was always strictly objective and according to rule."

Judging by the Method of the Violoncello published in 1839, the main aim of one learning the cello, according to Kummer, was to achieve a full and powerful, but not stiff tone. He emphasized the character of the instrument's expressive means: "Because of the beautiful sound of the cello, its most characteristic feature is the influence upon the mind and the heart, only when used with mind and heart. As for the intensification and modification of sounds, which is the basis of playing melodious parts, we must follow the example of a good singer. The performance should be simple and natural, one should avoid overloading it with embellishments. Several notes played on the violoncello often have a greater effect than numerous and difficult passages."

Kummer's point of view, both as a cellist and an interpreter, on the aims of a virtuoso is very characteristic: "The highest mission of a virtuoso is that he must breathe life and soul into a body which a composer has created out of sound. The force serving this aim is within the artist himself; it is the product of his feelings and is manifest in its highest purity and nobility only when it radiates unadorned, natural simplicity." Kummer warned his pupils of excessive use of expressive means such as vibrato, portamento and rubato, although he did acknowledge they were important tools of expression.

Kummer's Method was of more practical significance than the Method of Dotzauer. Its chapter on methods, though, is interesting for its systematic exposition and progressive nature of certain statements.

The picture of the position at the instrument furnished in the Method is in many ways similar to that of Dotzauer's; but it is more natural, although the low elbow position is still characteristic (not as low as with Romberg, but lower than with Dotzauer). That this type of position was typical of the German violoncello school, at least by the middle of the last century, can be seen from the same picture being repeated in the Method of Sebastian Lee, published in 1845.

Kummer was eager to develop a natural position and natural movements. He approached the contemporary idea of the function of certain fingers on the frog of the bow, and considered the freedom of its movement more important than the force of the pressure. When evaluating the role of the arm, Kummer sometimes overestimated wrist movements.

Emphasizing the intrinsic influence of strokes on the character of the piece performed, he suggested at the same time that the pupil, where possible, keep to the rule that the downbow be used on the first beat of the bar, though he specified exceptions from this outdated mechanical regulation. Kummer gives fewer stroke variants than does Dotzauer, but they are more carefully selected and methodically arranged. He gives the distribution of the bow needed due attention.

Kummer forms the left hand positions on the basis of the C major scale (while Davydov bases his on the diatonic major scale from each string, which is organically connected with the modus thinking). In the chromatic scale, Kummer's fingering, like that of Dotzauer, is more advanced than the Romberg fingering. Kummer gives the fingering of all scales, going through five octaves; the double stopping division is quite subdued. A table of all natural harmonics is presented in the Method and the artificial harmonics Are also described.

The music material of Kummer's Method is more interesting musically than that contained in Dotzauer's Method and is presented with the accompaniment of a second cello. A great number of melodies-etudes (No. 67-69) appear in the section "Exercises in interpretation." Romantic in spirit (close to Mendelssohn and Spohr), they are good exercises in cantilena.

As additional material, Kummer suggested etudes and caprices by Dotzauer, etudes by Merk, caprices by Franchomme as well as GrUtzmacher's exercises.

Among Kummer's many other teaching compositions are the Daily Exercises (Op. 71 and 125), the Violoncello duets to be played at sight and a great number of etudes ("Ten melodic etudes" with accompaniment by a second violoncello Op. 57 still retain their pedagogical value). Kummer employed an interesting new form for histeaching material - Repertorium and Orchesterstudien - a collection of fragments from complicated orchestral parts.

Now outdated, concert works for the cello reflect the romantic tendencies of his period. Among them were: a Concerto, Concertino, in the form of a vocal scene (analogous to Spohr's violin Concerto in the form of a vocal scene); the concertino Souvenir de Swiss; Konzertstfick for two violoncellos; the Fantasia on themes from Meyerbeer's opera Robert the Devil; variations on themes from the Gounod opera Romeo et Juliette. Kummer wrote a number of pieces on Russian, Czech, Hungarian and Scotch folk song themes, thus undoubtedly following Romberg's example. There was great interest by his contemporaries, especially amateur cellists, in his arrangements of Schubert's lieder-among the earliest cello tran;criptions.

The Dresden violoncello school in the second half of the 19th century was continued by Grutzmacher-an illustrious German violoncellist, performer and teacher who wrote numerous compositions for the cello and edited the classic works.

Friedrich Wilhelm Ludwig Grutzmacher was born on March 1, 1832 in Dessau, but spent most of his life in Dresden. His father, a member of the Ducal band, was his first teacher; then he took lessons from Karl Drechsler, the first violoncellist at the same chapel and one of the best pupils of Dotzauer, whose playing was acclaimed far and wide for its purity of sound, perfection of the finishing graces, and excellent musical taste. Under his guidance Grutzmacher became such an accomplished cellist that at the age of eight he made his first public appearance, and in 1848 began his professional musical career in one of Leipzig's orchestras. After a short while, he took part in the Gewandhaus-and Euterpaconcerts, in one of them making his debut as a soloist in a performance of Variations by Franchomme (1849).


The talented cellist soon attracted the attention of the celebrated violinist Ferdinand David, concertmaster at the Gewandhaus and Mendelssohn's associate in the development of Leipzig musical life. David took the initiative of nominating the 17-year-old Grutzmacher principal cellist of the Gewandhaus violoncello section. Julius Ritz, the follower of Mendelssohn's traditions who held a very high opinion of Grutzmacher's talent, headed the glorious orchestra at the time. For several years the cellist played in the David Quartet.

The young cellist's popularity grew rapidly, and when in 1850 soloist Bernhard Cossmann, professor of the conservatoire and the leading pupil of Kummer, left Leipzig for Weimar, Grutzmacher succeeded him.

Among his many appearances in the Gewandhaus deserving special mention is his part in the performance of Anton Rubinstein's Trio Op. 15 with the composer and Ferdinand David in December 1854 and of his Trio Op. 52 with the same musicians, in the autumn of 1857. Alexander Serov often heard Grutzmacher in the Gewandhaus concerts in 1859 in an ensemble with Hans Bulow and Ferdinand David, specifically when they played Schubert's B-flat Major Trio.

During Karl Davydov's dazzling debut in Leipzig in 1859, (he played his B Minor Concerto with the Gewandhaus orchestra, Julius Ritz conducting) Grutzmacher met the Russian cellist, whom he regarded with reverence and from whom he later frequently sought advice.

The following year, Ritz was appointed head of the Dresden court chapel and also invited Grutzmacher there (at the Gewandhaus and the conservatoire, he was succeeded by Davydov). From that time on, Grutzmacher's musical career was totally linked with Dresden: he was concertmaster of the court orchestra and professor at the conservatoire, and often performed as a soloist and chamber musician. For many years he headed the Dresden Musical Society.

Grutzmacher appeared successfully in different towns of Germany, Austria, Italy, England, Holland, Scandinavia and Switzerland, as well as in Russia (1878 and 1884). In St. Petersburg at the end of January 1878, he played the concerto by Raff (A. Rubinstein was conducting), Mendelssohn's Song without words, a romance by Schumann and a waltz by Schubert. In February, he repeated the same program in Moscow.

The outstanding features of the playing of the German violoncellist were his musicality, impeccable purity of tone, and perfect bow technique, although he was frequently rebuked for certain stiffness in his performance.

The reviews by Russian critics contained much in common with the opinions of European authors. They all described Grutzmacher as a performer with a fine command of the instrument's technique (fingerboard technique in particular), good musical taste and excelling as a chamber musician. A not forceful enough sound and restrained emotions (very moderate use of vibrato) somewhat restricted his resources as a soloist, but he still appeared, and always with success, on different European platforms.

Unlike some of the contemporary virtuosos, Grutzmacher included in his repertoire chamber sonatas by Beethoven, Mendelssohn, Chopin, Grieg, etc. As a cello soloist Grutzmacher played in the first performance of Richard Strauss' Don Quixote in Cologne in 1898. In 1902 he retired, and on February 23 of the following year he died in Dresden.

Grutzmacher was a gifted teacher (from 1877 he was professor at the Dresden conservatoire). Among his pupils were his younger brother, Leopold Grutzmacher, his nephew, Friedrich Grutzmacher, Emil Hegar, Bruno Wilfert, Friedrich Hilpert, Johann Klingenberg, Wilhelm Fitzenhagen and Hugo Becker. The fruitful activity of these and many other Grutzmacher pupils greatly helped spread the best principles of the Dresden school, which tried to combine perfect technique and musicality of playing, to free the concert repertoire of drawing-room compositions, to unite solo, chamber and orchestral playing, to bring teaching and practical requirements as close together as possible, and to develop rational methods.

But not everything mentioned above did in fact materialize in the person of the Dresden school representatives; other schools of the 19th century, the Russian (Davydov) and French particularly, continued its trends, making more consistent and progressive contributions to the development of the art of the violoncello. This does not detract from the practical significance of the Dresden school and of its principal representatives- Dotzauer, Kummer and Grutzmacher.

Grutzmacher wrote several instrumental works, among them a concert overture, a quartet and a trio; three concertos for cello and orchestra (A Minor, G Major, E Minor) and some pieces (Hungarian Fantasia, Variations on an original theme, and romances) were popular in his time. The series Pieces for amateurs featured Grutzmacher's fantasias on themes from the operas Fidelio by Beethoven, Norma by Bellini, Wilhelm Tell by Rossini, Robert the Devil and Les Huguenots by Meyerbeer, and Tannhduser and Lohengrin by Wagner. Today these works really do not have any value. Only his concertos (E Minor Op. 46, in particular) might be used to a certain extent in teaching.

His Twenty-four etudes (Op. 38) have retained greater significance; varied in technique, they were written with the excellent knowledge of the nature of the instrument's expressive and technical resources. The first book of the collection (twelve etudes) is the most widely used today, though the second one, which has become a bibliographical rarity, is equally interesting and as far as virtuoso technique is concerned ' even more complicated and useful. Here is an example from the cadenza to etude No. 24-an exceptional case of the simultaneous use of double artificial harmonics, the third and the fourth:

Among Grutzmacher's other teaching compositions are Twelve etudes (Op. 72) and Daily exercises (Op. 67), later re-edited by Hugo Becker. They are also used to some extent in teaching today.

He introduced a new form of the teaching material -"Selected etudes from the works of the celebrated old masters of the violoncello." Berteau, Boccherini, Duport, Breval, Romberg, Stiastny and others-with additional performing instructions (fingering, bowing). The merit of the collection is that instead of schematic and formal exercises for building up performing skills there were useful works or fragments from them, which could interest a pupil from the artistic point of view as well.

Grutzmacher's work as an editor was of special significance, for it initiated the rebirth of many violoncello classical works that had already been forgotten and were preserved only in manuscripts. Outstanding works like the suites for cello solo by J.S. Bach, six sonatas and the Concerto B flat Major by Boccherini, and Haydn's Concerto in D Major were published in his editions. They appeared at a time when superficial pieces of sheer virtuosity were the dominant concert works, thereby enriching the repertoire of the cello soloist. In 1891 in Leipzig, a vast series of classical works for the cello, entitled Hoche Schule des Violoncellspiels appeared. The violoncello concerts (A Minor) by C.P.E. Bach, Boccherini (B flat Major) and Duport (E Minor), the sonata (A Minor) by Geminiani and other works were included. Additionally to Grutzmacher's credit is the. fact that he introduced to the cello repertoire gamba sonatas that he himself edited, including those by J.S. Bach, Handel, C.P.E. Bach and the gamba concerto by Tartini. He also edited all of Romberg's concertos, as well as all the cello works by Beethoven, Mendelssohn, Chopin and Schumann. At the end of the last and beginning of the current century they were often used as concert pieces and in teaching.

With all the artistic value of Grutzmacher's editions of the classical sonatas and 18th century concertos, it must be pointed out that in trying to "adjust" this music to the concert practice of his time, he often made vital deviations from the original, and in the piano parts which he composed according to the part of the thorough bass, he frequently violated the style of the composition. This is true primarily of his first edition of the Suites for the Violoncello Solo by Bach that appeared in Leipzig circa 1866. The book title said: "The new edition, revised and arranged for the concert performances by Friedrich Grutzmacher." The Bach text was in some places substantially changed, "embellished" by chords and ornaments; voices and virtuoso strokes, etc., were added. The Sixth Suite was transposed from D Major to G Major, and in the Courante from the Fifth Suite, a bass part was added in the form of an ascending and descending scale-like progression.

Grutzmacher's second edition of Bach's suites published in Leipzig circa 1900 attests to the evolution of his artistic views and tastes.

Here he rejected any changes of the original text. The title page bore the notice: Original-Ausgabe. The text is presented by the editor according to the edition of the Bach Society (1879); ornaments added previously appear in brackets. The editor only inserted detailed performing instructions (fingering and bowing) reflecting his views on methods and his comprehension of musical phrasing.

Despite all the criticism of Grutzmacher's editions of old music, it still must be admitted that he was one of the first (if not the very first) who tried to interpret Bach's suites in the concert aspect, and not as etudes. He wrote cadenzas to-the concertos by Boccherini (B flat Major), Tartini (D Major, gamba) and Haydn (D Major, "little") which are played even today, and which attest to Grutzmacher's extensive knowledge of the instrument.

Grutzmacher's interest in the artistic values of pre-classical, classical and romantic violoncello music, as well his performing style are evidence of the so-called "academic" tendency in the history of the art of the cello that evolved in the final quarter of the 19th century as a reaction to the degeneration of the romantic virtuoso trend.


Karl Schroder (1848-1935) was very close in significance and creative style to Friedrich Grutzmacher. They both studied with Karl Drechsler; that is where Schroder's ties with the Dresden school originate. His versatile musical activity primarily centered in Zonderhausen, Leipzig, Hamburg and Berlin. An excellent cellist, he played solo in a number of chapels (in the 1874-1881 period-in the Leipzig Gewandhaus) and for a long time in a quartet with his brothers Hermann, Franz and Alwin.


Schroder figures in the history of the German art of the violoncello mainly as a teacher at the Leipzig (1874-1881), Zonderhausen (1890-1907) and Berlin (1913-1924) conservatoires, and also as the author of numerous editions of classical violoncello music. In this respect he followed Grutzmacher. His editions of the cello sonatas by Marcello, Bononcini, Pasqualini, Cervetto, Gasparino, Vandini, Lanzetti, Grazioli, Boccherini and others were used extensively in concert and teaching. Schroder's editions of Bach's two solo suites rearranged for the cello with piano accompaniment shows, on the one hand, his recognition of the concert significance of these works., but on the other, a misunderstanding of the musical essence of the suites, which do not need any accompaniment.

Schroder's teaching compositions -schools, etudes, and exercises-are of little use today. His Method Op. 34, Method of scales and chords Op. 29, Method of trills and staccato Op. 39 as well as his etudes compiled of the solo parts of the old masters' works might be mentioned.

The Catechism of Violoncello Playing which Schroder edited in 1890 can be called a manual for the cellist. It provides the main information about the history and design of the instrument, about the development of the technique and the performing style of a cellist. The author mentions the Triple Concerto by Beethoven, the D Major Concerto by Haydn, concertos by Schumann and Folkmann, the gamba sonatas by J.S. Bach, and concertos by Rubinstein, Dvorak, D'Alber and Saint-Saens. The chapter on performance in the Catechism is evidence of Schroder's progressive esthetic ideas.

There were other German violoncellists who acquired fame in the 19th century, among them Sebastian Lee, Max Bohrer, Georg Goltermann, and Robert Haussmann. Sebastian Lee (1805-1887), a talented musician whose performing style was called classical by his contemporaries, was a pupil of the Hamburg cellist Johann Prell (1773-1849), who in turn studied with Romberg. In 1837-1843, Lee was soloist in the Grand Opera orchestra in Paris; he taught there until 1868, and then returned to Hamburg.

In both his playing and the violoncello Method that he edited in 1845, Lee combined features of the German and French trends. His Method was accepted as a manual at the Paris conservatoire and was dedicated to Louis Pierre Norblin, a professor there. As it contains certain praiseworthy methodics material and melodious music, it was republished in different countries, including Russia." In the Soviet Union, the Method was published in Andrey Borisjak's edition (1940). Lee's etudes and cello duets have also been used in teaching in more modern times.

Johann Prell's son August Christian Prell (1805-1885) was also a pupil of Romberg. He taught Eduard Georg Goltermann (1824-1898) who later took advanced studies under the Munich cellist Joseph Menter, father of the famous pianist Sophie Menter. Goltermann toured in many countries and won extensive popularity because of his eight cello concertos and many pieces. Unlike most of his compositions which completely lost any value because of the sentimental, often salon style (the violoncello was "an instrument of soul" there, which was so typical of the sentimental romantic tendency in the art of the cello), due to their melodiousness, clear form and naturally used technique (thirds in the first concerto, octaves in the second, and sixths in the third) the concertos still retain their teaching value.

Robert Haussmann (1852-1909) was widely renowned as a soloist, quartet musician and teacher in the second half of the last and beginning of our current century. A pupil of the famous German cellist Theodor and Wilhelm Muller (Haussmann studied with the latter in the Higher Music School in Berlin), he took advanced studies of the cello from Alfredo Piatti in London and in Italy. In 1872-1876, he played in the Dresden Quartet, and later taught at the Higher Music School in Berlin.


For many years (1879-1907), Haussmann was a member of the celebrated Joseph Joachim Quartet. In 1887, he and this illustrious violinist played in the first performance of the Brahms Double Concerto, which was composed specially for them. When the work was played in Vienna in 1889, Hanslick wrote about the exceptional triumph of Joachim, "the king of all violinists," and Haussmann "a virtuoso cellist of hardly lower standing," who played with their usual mastery and nobility."

As far back as 1885, after hearing in Vienna the beautiful performanc.e of his E Minor Sonata by Haussmann and Baumeier, Brahms promised to compose a new work for the cellist. Initially, he thought of a concerto, but later, in 1886, he wrote the Sonata in F Major. It was first performed by Haussmann and the composer himself from manuscript on November 14 of that same year in Berlin.

Though Haussmann was far better known as an excellent chamber musician and teacher, he appeared with remarkable success in solo recitals, playing works from the classical and romantic repertoire. His close artistic contacts with Joachim and Brahms enabled Haussmann to grasp their esthetic concepts; this had a fruitful effect on his taste, performing style and repertoire.

In 1883, Robert Hussmann arrived to play in St. Petersburg, and on January 22 he played the concerto by Schumann with Anton Rubinstein conducting the orchestra. Speaking of the German cellist's great success, a critic praised his good tone and technical perfection, but reproached him for insufficiently vivid phrasing. Several days later, the cellist played the A Major Sonata by Beethoven, the Larghetto by Mozart, At the Fountain by Davydov, and the Adagio and Allegro by Boccherini. Karl Davydov had a very high opinion of Haussmann, and dedicated the first piece of the series, Silhouettes Op. 41 -Morning, to him.

Among Haussmann's editions of classical music, his edition of the Bach suites for solo cello (1898) deserves special notice, as it is distinguished for its closeness to the original text. He also compiled an edition of the Mendelssohn sonatas and variations, and an arrangement of his viola pieces, Marchenbilder.

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