FOR THE CURIOUS CELLIST

Berteau

Martin Berteau: Cello Sonatas and Thumb Position. Berteau (1691-1771) was not only the composer of “Sammartini’s” famous G major sonata, and the teacher of both Jean-Pierre Duport and Breval, he was also one of the inventors of Thumb Position. Here are some of the movements of his Opus 1 Cello Sonatas, in which he makes greatest use, in 1748, of this novel technique.

Berteau: The Origins of Thumb Position

And here, for historical curiosity, is his entire Sonata Op 1 No. 1, in its original version for two cellos (solo and basso continuo):

Berteau: Sonata Op 1 No 1

The first edition of the five sonatas and trio that make up this Opus 1 collection can be downloaded here. This edition is not especially interesting as a practical playing edition because of the frequent use of unusual clefs that we are not accustomed nowadays to reading (and the impossible page-turns), but they are very interesting from a historical point of view because they contain Berteau’s original fingering suggestions.