for cello and piano

John Burge
John Burge
Composition Date: 2007
Duration: 00:07:00
Genre: Strings (bowed), + Keyboard, Cello


Instrumentation Set Number 1:
  • 1 x Piano
  • 1 x Violoncello
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Programme Note:
Liebesleid, for cello and piano, was composed in 2007 for Cindy and Wolf Tormann, long-time colleagues and friends of the composer. Cindy, a pianist, and Wolf, a cellist, both teach at Queen's University's School of Music, where John Burge is also employed. Additionally, as Principal Cellist of the Kingston Symphony, Wolf has been involved in numerous premiere performances of works written by John Burge. The primary impetus for composing this piece was to express appreciation to Cindy for teaching the piano to the Burge's eldest son, Ian, for six years. Cindy is a marvellous pianist, an inspiring teacher who provides all her students with excellent guidance, and a sympathetic ear. Ian has gained much by having the opportunity to study with her.

Given Cindy's love of performing chamber music, often with Wolf, it was felt that a new piece for cello and piano would be of most use to her repertoire. With Wolf's German heritage, and the composer's fondest for the music of Fritz Kreisler (something like having a sweet tooth), Liebesleid was the result. The Kreisler title translates into English as, "love's sorrow," although it is curious the number of occurrences that one can find of the work being referred to as "liebeslied," or in English, "love's song."

The harmonic language and shape of the melodic lines of Burge's composition have an expressive sadness that is in keeping with the sorrowful aspect of the title but the song-like influence also hides underneath the work's structural organization in the way that cello follows a strophic plan by playing three repeated sections of music. To fully capture the emotive possibilities of the cello, each verse moves an octave higher. It is worth observing that the piano accompaniment changes for each repetition with the middle statement's increased tempo and rhythmic activity giving the music a more agitated middle verse. A short coda is added to the final reprise.

Premiere Information:
18/10/2009 Hawksbridge Farm Morton, Ontario Wolf Tormann, cello and Cynthia Tormann, piano


  • Call Number:
  • MI 3213 B954li
  • Genre:
  • Strings (bowed), + Keyboard, Cello
  • Date of Acquisition:
  • April 4, 2011
  • Type:
  • Print-music, Published by CMC
  • Physical Description:
  • 1 score ((5), 8 p.) ;
    13 Pages
    Height: 32 cm
    Parts page count: 4
    1 cello part (4 p.) ;
    Height: 32 cm
  • Additional Information:

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Liebesleid for Cello and Piano: Score and Parts
Score and Parts
(downloadable PDF)
Liebesleid for Cello and Piano: Score
(downloadable PDF)
Liebesleid for cello and piano by John Burge (Score)
Printed on demand
Liebesleid for cello and piano by John Burge (Score and Parts)
Printed on demand
Liebesleid for cello and piano
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