Wanda Sobieska


for Violoncello & Ensemble

Ensemble Options

This piece features cello as the solo instrument.

The accompaniment may be provided
by any of the following combinations:

The second violin part is optional
and may always be included.

If there is no bass,
but one or more "section" cellos are present,
they should play the bass line.

In the absence of an instrument
playing the bass line,
it may be provided by the viola
playing the transcription thereof.
Common-use cases for this
would be a VIOLIN-VIOLA-CELLO trio
or a standard STRING QUARTET.

In the absence of piano and violin(s),
a "Treble Shim" is available
to provide a simple version
of the upper register of the accompaniment
by any available C instrument
with the appropriate range.

Performance Notes

The tempo is marked as 66 to the dotted quarter.
While such a marking naturally allows
for a reasonable range of interpretive flexibility,
the piece should be played "in three"
rather than "in nine".

Ultimately, the underlying unit of the piece
is neither the beat nor the bar
but rather the four-bar phrase
and subsequent derivations thereof.
So in that sense, the piece is actually "in four"! ;-)



Parts with Cue Staff

As an optional convenience,
these parts include the solo cello staff
for ease of ensemble.


This is strictly a matter of personal preference,
but I find it easier to wrap my mind
around the first violin part when I play it
if it follows a regular four-measure layout.
The print gets pretty small though.
I am including it here in case anyone else
finds it useful.


Piano Quartet Version

About this Performance…

This video is from a live performance: the public premiere of the piece, which took place during a production of the opera Mozart and Salieri by Rimsky-Korsakov. It was presented by The Cleveland Opera at various locations throughout Cleveland in May of 2023.

The piece provided music for the most dramatic set change of all time between the two scenes of this one-act work, and featured superb cellist Kent Collier as the soloist. He was joined in the pit by Jacek Sobieski (my dad) on piano, Wanda Sobieska (myself) on violin, and viola hero Joshua Bowman.

String Orchestra Version

About this Performance…

The world premiere of the string orchestra version of the piece with the Youngstown New Music Guild Festival Orchestra under the direction of Dr. Robert Rollin at Saints Peter & Paul Croatian Catholic Church, also in May of 2023.

Victor Cediel is the marvelous soloist. A special note of thanks to Father Joseph Rudjak for his many years of incredible and unwavering commitment to the arts in Youngstown, and to the remarkable Thomas Osuga who so graciously joined in on piano for this performance.

The Story

The genesis of this piece came about while I was playing a run of a rather obscure musical called The Quilters. As is typical for a musical theater production, the musicians in the pit are obligated to show up a half an hour or so before the show starts. Two or three weeks into the run, everyone knows their parts, but we still need to be there ahead of time, so we show up with not much else to do and twiddle our thumbs.

Finding myself in this predicament yet again, I looked at my fellow string players one day and asked, "If I wrote a piece for the three of us, would you guys read through it with me before the show sometime? Because… I'm bored."

Our section consisted of a violin (myself), a cello, and a double bass, which made for a strange ensemble to write for. The only way I could think of making it work was to essentially write a cello solo with the other two instruments accompaning.

Aaron and Jeremey, the cellist and bassist, graciously accepted my invitation, and that is how the piece came about.

Since then, I have expanded it to accomodate a variable number of configurations. It may be used for many different purposes or in many different contexts — within the pit and without!