It was a concert that I myself gave in Alsace that drew my attention to this French composer. In Strasbourg’s BibliothŤque National I discovered Marie JaŽll’s Cello Concerto, which was given a very successful premiŤre in 1882 by the cellist Jules Delsart and LīOrchestre Lamoureux.
The reason why, despite this initial success, the concerto was soon forgotten and received no further performances was doubtless guessed correctly by Camille Saint-SaŽns, who remarked to Marie JaŽll that: “S’il y avait un nom d’homme sur vos partitions elles seraient sur tous les pupitres d’Europe !” (“If the name at the top of your scores were a man’s name, they would be on all the music-stands of Europe!”).
Marie JaŽll wrote the concerto the year her husband, Alfred, died. We see this reflected in certain passages, particularly the funeral march in the slow movement. The piece was originally planned to have three movements: moderato, andante, and vivace. The fourth movement – the lento – was presumably added a little later.
The newly-edited score, a product of long research, was given its premiŤre performance at the 2011 Halle Bach Festival
Excerpts of the concert for violoncello and orchestra see: Musical extracts