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About this Piece

The noted French cellist Paul Tortelier (1914-1990) also composed numerous pieces, many featuring the cello, including two concertos. (He also conducted regularly later in life.) His programmatic 1983 Sonata Breve, “Bucéphale,” tells the story of Alexander the Great’s favorite horse, beginning with Alexander’s first meeting with Bucephalus, through their final battle together, ending with Bucephalus’ death. (The work was dedicated to British Prince Charles, a famous horseman and amateur cellist.) Every moment of the piece is vividly descriptive, and Tortelier himself told – and played – the story in one of his master classes televised by the BBC in 1987.