Dotzauer Project: announcing the Twelve Original Piece for Two Cellos, op. 63

This article is an expanded version of the Editorial Notes that can be found in the published edition, available at this link. A promotional video of this score can be here below:



The fifth instalment of the Dotzauer Project completes its first cycle dedicated to the five books of original pieces for two cellos. This edition, on Op. 63, joins Opp. 52, 58, 156, and 159 in a massive collection of seventy-two duets for two cellos. While many of these duets are quite challenging to play, none of them employs the thumb, making them ideal for younger students and, sadly, not crucial for more advanced ones. This helps explain why these duets may have not aged well. By the time a student can employ the thumb, an avalanche of options opens in front of them, leaving no room for this kind of pieces. It is a sad outcome, given their beauty, and I would suggest teachers to reconsider at least some of them, as they provide useful practicing ideas that will make their students’ technique gain in solidity.

This collection, for example, is possibly the hardest one of the five, hence the decision to publish it last. Tenor clef and 32nd-notes are the norm here, as are double stops and complex contrapuntal writing. What makes this the most challenging collection of the five, though, is the length of some of these pieces: three pieces occupy three pages each in the score, while two occupy four pages. They have deeply developed forms, which will be analysed later in these notes. Five of them, though, are very short, in song form, and taken from famous opera themes by Mozart and Rossini, providing appealing material for encores and student concerts.

Hunting for the source

This collection has one peculiarity: it is the only one to have survived in a modern reprint, albeit not in its original form. The other four collections had two main sources beside the Urtext: Johannes Klingenberg’s (1852—1905) collection of “57 Duets”, published by Henri Litolff Verlag, and Carl Hüllweck’s (1852—1910) edition, published by Breitkopf & Härtel. Both of them appeared between forty and fifty years after Dotzauer’s death, and have heavily altered the text. Op. 58 has an additional French edition published by Janet & Cotelle under the erroneous catalogue number of Op. 52, while Op. 63 has an additional American edition by International Music Company, penned by German-American cellist Alwin Schröder (1855-1928). Notice how these three editors belong to roughly the same generation, a fascinating point of understanding.

The first edition, from the hand of Johann Justus Friedrich Dotzauer (1783—1860) himself, was published by Breitkopf & Härtel in 1823, bearing plate n° 3581, and the title, in Old French: Douze Différentes Pièces pour Deux Violoncelles à l’usage de commençans composés par J. J. F. Dotzauer. Below on the cover, the Œuvr. 63 marks the opus number and the Livr. 3 reminds us that this is the third book of the collection. A copy of this jewel was kindly sent to me by the Universitätsbibliothek—Leihmaterial / Medienbearbeitung of the Universität der Künste in Berlin, Germany. Further copies of this are available in other libraries, making this collection the easiest to find for researchers.

What’s in this Edition

This edition will come, as usual, as an Urtext first, alternative sources second. It will offer a score and a set of parts based on Breitkopf & Härtel’s plate 3581, yet polished and converted to modern notation wherever necessary, available separately or as a bundle. A Collectors’ Edition will then follow, this time not including Hüllweck’s version, which was not found, but a score and part set of Schröder’s version, and a score and part set of Klingenberg’s version. Klingenberg decided to omit piece No. 4—a long fugue— from his collection. Each of these additional versions will be enriched by a list of all changes their editors applied to the original Urtext.

Playing from the score will be difficult for most of these pieces, but I have done my best to make it at least possible with the printing of one or two extra pages. Parts, instead, have been carefully crafted to allow seamless page turnings. The sheer length of No. 11 will require to turn a page for the “Da Capo al Fine”, but that’s it.

All versions are offered as professional Press Quality PDFs.

The Twelve Original Pieces, Op. 63, in detail

All of these duets use the tenor clef, with the highest note being C#5 in extended seventh position, at the end of No. 8.

Starting from musical form, we have:

  • Song form: (either A-B-A, or a simple harmonised melody throughout) nos. 1, 3, 6, 7, 10
  • Theme with variations: nos. 2, 5
  • Fugue: nos. 4, 9, 12
  • Figurative dance: no. 8 (also based on an operatic theme)
  • Canon: no. 11 (in Scherzo & Trio form)

This time we have the sheer dominance of the song form, with five out of twelve (42%) being short, attractive pieces based on song melodies. Counterpoint follows right behind, but, compared to the other collections, there is a new entry: canon. Piece No. 11 is a Scherzo & Trio whose first part—81-bars long—is a canon at the unison, where the second voice starts one bar later. The Trio keeps a contrapuntal nature as well, but is more subtle in every respect. Counterpoint, therefore, takes up second place thanks to the three fugues with one third (33%) of the entries. There are, then, two Theme with Variations (17%) and a Figurative Dance (in concealed Gavotte form) (8%).

Looking at key signatures, we have a quite variegated picture, with nine different keys and only three of them doubled :

  • C major: no. 1
  • G major: no. 2
  • E-flat major: nos. 3, 12
  • G minor: nos. 4, 11
  • B-flat major: no. 5
  • D major: nos. 6, 10
  • F major: no. 7
  • A major: no. 8
  • D minor: no. 9

None of these pieces uses more than three accidentals in its key signature.

Finally, we look at meter, to see how it was distributed:

  • 6/8: nos. 1, 3, Allegro of no. 5
  • 2/4: nos. 2 (with 8th-note upbeat), 8 (with 4er-note upbeat), 10
  • 4/4 (or C): nos. 4, 5 (with 4er-note upbeat), 7, 12 (introduction only)
  • 3/4: nos. 6, 11, 12 (fugue only)
  • 2/2 (or cut-C): no. 9

This ends up with simple binary dominating with (32%), followed by simple quaternary with (28%), simple ternary (20%), and compound binary (20%).

My suggested practicing order is as follows: no. 10, 6, 1, 3, 9, 7, 4, 11, 8, 5, 12, 2. This is not a fixed-in-place imposition, rather a mild recommendation to give your students the best learning experience available.

Let’s now take a brief look at each of the twelve pieces.

No. 1 in C major

The collection opens with a short Aria from Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s (1756—1791) opera ”La Clemenza di Tito”, more precisely Sextus’s aria “In deinem Arm zu weilen — Deh prendi un dolce amplesso”. Dotzauer’s version is very short, and proves to be a perfect introduction to tenor clef, since it never surpasses G4. There’s only one instance of double-stops in b. 5 as a minor sixth.

No. 2 in G major

Possibly the most complex piece of the twelve, this theme with variations starts with an original and apparently innocent melody, which should not be taken too fast. The First Variation already throws 32nd-notes and 16th-note triplets into the mix, a perfect chance to practice the discipline of the middle-third of the bow. The Second Variation is almost homorhythmic, and very challenging for intonation and sound balance. The Third Variation is all about 16th-note triplets, while the second cello calmly accompanies its companion’s show. The Fourth—and last—Variation has the second cello play the opening theme, while the first cello launches in a 32nd-note run throughout. Two bars here provide a trap for the inattentive reader, which only the first rehearsal will be able to spoil.

No. 3 in E-flat major

The third piece is, once more, an opera excerpt, this time from Gioacchino Rossini’s (1792—1868) Tancredi, in the form of the “No che il morir non è” aria. The original, in B-flat major, is here transposed to E-flat major. This is a short piece, and should be used to teach students how to manage a lyrical melody as a singer would do, making the bow sing for us.

No. 4 in G minor

We were starting to wonder where they had gone, but here finally comes the first fugue of the collection, in the obscure key of G minor. The 4-bar-long subject in the second cello is answered a perfect 5th above by the first cello, and developed masterfully for 84 bars. At this point, the stretti section begins, with ample use of double stops in both voices, with the final coda bringing a close after 126 bars!

No. 5 in B-flat major

A new theme and variation opens the fifth piece. Even if there is a double barline every eight bars, the theme lasts two full periods before entering the variation phase. The theme is from the end of Act 1 of W. A. Mozart’s Die Zauberflöte (The Magic Flute). The First Variation is a simple elaboration of the theme on dotted rhythm. The Second veers to 8th-note triplets, while the Third one proceeds with 16th-notes. After this, a section marked Lento explores the key of B-flat minor, with the two cellos playing counterpoint with each other for one period and the second cello accompanying the first for the remaining part of this section. A final Allegro, in 6/8, comes back to B-flat major and merrily concludes this duet.

No. 6 in D major

Rossini comes back in this sixth duet, again from Tancredi, with an arrangement of the Aria ”Più dolci e placide”. This is a good exercise for first-string playing and, thus, arm angle and position shifting. The constant repetition of the same rhythm in two different places of the bow allows practicing of sound balance.

No. 7 in F major

This duet in F major is, once more, in song form, but I couldn’t find a reference in the literature. It starts with the two voices playing question and answer. The second part shifts to D-flat major with a soaring, beautiful melody accompanied by arpeggio-sequences, repeated at inverted parts in A major, the furthest possible key. A flourished version of the first part comes back to conclude the piece.

No. 8 in A major

While this duet is in Gavotte form, it is yet another excerpt from Mozart’s La Clemenza di Tito, more precisely the aria “Ach verzeih du Auserwählte — Ah perdona al primo affetto”. This arrangement masterfully mixes the vocal part with the orchestral accompaniment. It is also the piece that reaches the highest note of the collection, C#5, and the shortest note value, 64th-note.

No. 9 in D minor

This fugue in D minor gives the first cello a chance to begin, followed by the second cello, a perfect fourth below. It is a rather short piece, ideal for teaching the form and notes up to the fifth position, with the occasional double-stop.

No. 10 in D major

This piece’s source was somewhat harder to find: it is an adaptation from Gioacchino Rossini’s Ciro in Babilonia. There, the choir sings “Intorno fumino gl’arabi odori” in F major, while Dotzauer opts for the more cello-friendly key of D major. It is, once more, a short and light piece, with a playful accompaniment throughout.

No. 11 in G minor

If Dotzauer wanted to show off his contrapuntal skills, he manages to do so here. The Scherzo of this “Scherzo and Trio” is a canon at the unison with a one-bar offset that lasts 81 bars! A truly impressive feat. The Trio keeps some imitative features, but is, overall, a closed binary form with repetition (AA-BB).

No. 12 in E-flat major

The last piece of the collection comes in the form of a Prélude and Fugue. While the key is set in E-flat major, the whole introduction is in minor mode. The subject of the fugue, announced by the second cello, is quite long, clocking in at eight bars. The simple ternary meter gives room to hemiolas and other rhythmical illusions. It is a very intense and long piece, concluding with a total of 136 bars.

Editorial annotations

Very few annotations were necessary at this stage and, where so, they received a square bracket around them. The only exception is a slur which was clearly missing and that was added in dashed typeface.

For all changes between Urtext and Klingenberg, and between Urtext and Schröder, you will find a dedicated section at the end of the respective documents describing them in detail.


A heartfelt thank you to the Universitätsbibliothek—Leihmaterial / Medienbearbeitung of the Universität der Künste in Berlin, Germany, for providing me with a copy of the original first edition of this work.

Thank you to all those who are supporting me and my work in one way or another in these challenging times.

I hope you will enjoy playing through these pieces and teaching them to your students, spreading the true joy with which Dotzauer created them.

The Editor

Michele Galvagno

Saluzzo, Italia — October 24th, 2022

Published by Michele Galvagno

Professional Musical Scores Designer and Engraver Graduated Classical Musician (cello) and Teacher Tech Enthusiast and Apprentice iOS / macOS Developer Grafico di Partiture Musicali Professionista Musicista classico diplomato (violoncello) ed insegnante Appassionato di tecnologia ed apprendista Sviluppatore iOS / macOS

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