Sinfonia in F


Source of the double bass solo in Stravinsky’s Pulcinella Suite

Composer: G.B. Pergolesi
Keyboard realisation: Timothy Jones

Instrumentation: Double bass and piano

Difficulty: Suitable for advanced players
Exam syllabus: Grade 8

The printed edition includes both the bass part and piano accompaniment

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In his short life Giovanni Battista Pergolesi (1710-1736) achieved a high degree of fame and when he died much of his music was unpublished so that in subsequent years many pieces were wrongly attributed to him. Indeed we cannot know for certain that Pergolesi wrote this Sinfonia. We do know, however, that the Sinfonia was originally composed for cello and that one of his patrons was a proficient cellist.

No edition of the Sinfonia in F major for cello and continuo is possible without reference to Stravinsky’s arrangement of the 4th movement in his suite Pucinella. 

In this arrangement of the Sinfonia for double bass, the piano part has been realised by Timothy Jones and the bass part edited by Cathy Elliott. Very few bowing indications and dynamics have been added to give the performer freedom to experiment, as was the custom in Pergolesi’s time.

The 1st movement provides a short introduction to the second movement Allegro. It lies well under the hand.

The 2nd movement dances along in 3/4 in the home key of F major moving to G minor for a short while.

The 3rd movement is a beautiful melody in D minor with some large intervals requiring good light shifting movements.

The 4th movement is the movement Stravinsky used in his Suite Pulcinella. With that in mind some slurs have been added in the last movement where we are used to hearing Stravinsky’s slur, but none exist in the original. In other places the editor has deferred to the 18th century manuscript rather than Stravinsky’s arrangement.

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ISMN: 979-0-708191-31-5


Exam syllabus

Set for Grade 8 exams by

  • MTB (since 2019) Any two movements (Gd 8)
  • Trinity (2020-2023) 1st and 2nd movements (Gd 8)

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