Cello Sonata (Barber)

The Sonata for Violoncello and Piano, Opus 6, by Samuel Barber is a sonata for cello and piano. It is in the key of C minor.


The sonata was composed between June and December 1932 during a trip to Europe as Barber was finishing his studies at the Curtis Institute of Music. The score is dedicated to Barber's composition teacher, Rosario Scalero, and was officially premiered on 5 March 1933 with the composer at the piano and his friend and colleague Orlando Cole as cellist, at a concert of the League of Composers in New York City (Heyman 1992, 110–11, 114). Together with the Music for a Scene from Shelley, Op. 7, this sonata won both a Pulitzer travel stipend and the Prix de Rome of the American Academy in Rome in 1935 (Friedewald 1957, 166; Pleasants 1935).


The sonata is in three movements:

  1. Allegro ma non troppo
  2. Adagio
  3. Allegro appassionato.

The second movement combines an adagio with a scherzo (Friedewald 1957, 172).


  • Friedewald, Russell Edward. 1957. "A Formal and Stylistic Analysis of the Published Music of Samuel Barber". PhD diss. Ames: Iowa State University.
  • Heyman, Barbara B. 1992. Samuel Barber: The Composer and His Music. New York: Oxford University Press.
  • Pleasants, Henry. 1935. "Samuel Barber Wins Two Musical Awards". Philadelphia Bulletin (May 25).

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