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Joanna Borrett

Baroque Sheet Music Albums

By sheet music sales

Baroque Sheet Music Albums

We are now selling our most popular selections of violin and cello duets in themed albums at a bargain price. The first is a baroque sheet music  album and contains the scores and individual parts of six great works. All of the music would be ideal to be played at a wedding.

About the arrangements

The music included in this album is: Air on a G String, Pachelbel Canon, our award winning Arrival of the Queen of Sheba, Chiome D’Oro, Charpentier’s Te Deum and Clarke’s Trumpet Voluntary. This is an excellent way to get to know some wonderful repertoire from this most exciting of all periods of music.

Opera Arias arranged for Cello Duet

By intermediate and advanced cello duet sheet music, sheet music sales

The opera arias I have recently arranged for cello duet have been a pleasure to write: SJ Music
My starting point was to look at the number of instruments in a Puccini score – an awe inspiring experience. Did Puccini immediately hear the music like this in his head or add the orchestration later? According to a friend of mine – an expert orchestrator – it was probably the former.
opera arias arranged for cello duet                                            Puccini
Overall objective
My aim with the cello duets was to ensure the tune was always clear and then try to capture the overall mood in the accompanying part, often by using cellistic special effects. In my teens I spent ages listening to recordings of great singers – and I loved the beauty of their phrasing, their rubato and the drama of it all. It’s rare to hear string music as expressively phrased as singing often is, but isn’t it worth aspiring to?

What’s Wrong with Pachelbel Canon?

By sheet music sales

Pachelbel Canon must be the easiest orchestral piece in the world for cellists to memorise – with its 28 repetitions of the 8 note bass line.

Pachelbel’s Canon

Despite the numerous cellist jokes about this work (see below) I have always enjoyed playing it. It’s fairly short, the harmonies are beautiful and if you respond to what the other players are doing it becomes more fun.

So what is a canon?…
For me canons, passacaglias and chaconnes are extremely effective musical forms where the repeated harmonies create a tautness and sense of inevitability that can be inspiring. Some of my favourite music in this form is: Purcell’s Chaconne in G minor, Vitali’s Chaconne,  Britten’s Passacaglia from Peter Grimes and Bach’s Chaconne in D minor, played superbly  below by Heifetz:

…and why is Pachelbel’s so popular?
…  its major key and has a calm confidence that has probably helped to make it so well liked…

Four Famous Cello Duets

By sheet music sales

SJ Music has just published  Four Famous Opera Arias arranged for two cellos which I wrote last year and recorded in Edinburgh with Mark Bailey. You can buy these famous cello duets from music shops and online at SJ Music’s website: Four Famous Opera Arias for Cello Duet

You can also buy the music at Fedora Strings here: Cello Duets
four famous cello duets

Which opera arias are they?
The arias are  Toreador Song and Habanera from Carmen,  Your Tiny Hand is Frozen from La Boheme and Non Piu Andrai from The Marriage of Figaro . All are very different in mood and it is a delight to have a clear narrative to the music.

You can buy the cd too
The cd which accompanies the arrangements can be purchased from our website here: Cello Duet CD

About SJ Music
SJ Music is based in London and specialises in unusual string chamber music and cello repertoire. It sells cello duets and cello quartets and octets as well as fun melodies which focus on cello harmonics  and Christopher Bunting’s excellent technique books which I can thoroughly recommend. If you haven’t discovered this imaginative publishing company yet they are well worth exploring.



Expressive techniques for strings

By sheet music sales

One of the most effective expressive techniques for strings is using slides to go from one note to another. It is something we aim use frequently when performing the violin and cello duets we  have created and sell on our website.

Is there any string player in the world who has ever used this technique more inspiringly than Jascha Heifetz ? Just listen to the pure electricity in his inimitable performance of Deep River below:

Another example of superb use of slides
Great singers use this technique all the time : hear how beautifully Jonas Kauffman phrases the line in the Puccini aria below:

I play the piano, and while I love the way that this instrument – with its combined harmonies – is complete in itself, I really miss not being able to slide, do vibrato or crescendo on a note.
There is one work which we sell on our website which is all about slides: Lunchtime Blues – a slightly sleazy sounding piece Roger wrote after a lunchtime pint at his local pub. You could almost play this on one finger – and it would lose a great deal  of impact if fingered more cleanly.
My former cello teacher – Christopher Bunting – once played The Swan with an orange at a party- a continuous slide effect – though not particularly healthy for the fingerboard!


Brahms’ Hungarian Dance No 1

By sheet music sales

We have just added Brahms’ Hungarian Dance No 1 to our online sheet music shop. The standard of the music intermediate to advanced. Click here to go straight to our shop page:


About the Hungarian Dances

This is the first of a set of 21 Hungarian dances for various instrumental combinations which became the most profitable compositions Brahms wrote. This dance is ideal for wedding receptions and has luscious string tunes and lots of forward moving vitality, as you can hear in the orchestral version below:

Brahms Hungarian Dance 1

Britten: a great string composer

By fedora strings performance

I have always felt Benjamin Britten is one of the greatest composers for strings, and  Variations on a Theme of Frank Bridge is one of his masterpieces.
britten: a great string composer

More about the music
This string orchestral work  was inspired by his teacher Frank Bridge. The idea was that each of the variations would reflect a different side of Bridge’s personality but the writing transcends this formula and reveals Britten’s most vulnerable feelings. Even the apparently lighter variations – one of which is beautifully played below – have such sensitivity they touch the heart:

Other music for strings
Britten writes superbly well for strings and knows how to exploit their strongest characteristics. His use of pizzicato, in both Simple Symphony (a lighter string orchestral work) and the Frank Bridge Variations often demands virtuosity:

And even in larger orchestral works – like Peter Grimes – his understanding and use of string effects is exciting and inimitable:


Mozart’s Exsultate Jubilate

By intermediate and advanced violin and cello duets, sheet music sales

Mozart’s Exsultate Jubilate

We have just published our violin and cello duet arrangement of Alleluia from Mozart’s Exsultate Jubilate. The standard of the music is intermediate to advanced.Is this the happiest music in the world? Maybe!  Mozart wrote it when he was only 17. Here’s the original version:

This would be ideal for any wedding ceremony or reception. Click below to buy the music:


Exsultate Jubilate


Tambourin by Gossec

By sheet music sales

The latest violin and cello duet we are selling is Tambourin by Gossec. Jean Francois Gossec was born in 1734 and became the favourite composer of Revolutionary France. Today he is most famous for Tambourin – a delightful piece which lifts the spirit, as you can hear in this vibrant flute and harp arrangement:

Our arrangement is fun to play
This music  works brilliantly for violin and cello duet – you can buy it by clicking here:

The link to the French Revolution
Who would ever guess that such a relaxed tune was written during the French Revolution or that Gossec’s compositions were loved by Robespierre?
Tambourin by Gossec









Air on a G String by Bach

By sheet music sales

Air on a G String by Bach: his most famous work?
We have just published our violin and cello duet of Air on a G String by Bach.
Air on a G String by Bach
Creating this arrangement
This piece has been a challenge to arrange . Roger and I both wrote versions, but neither felt quite right, so we abandoned the idea. However, the problems somehow resolved themselves and Roger created the arrangement we are selling now which is beautifully balanced and calm and gives the tune to the cello as well as the violin. Click here to buy it on our Music Sales’ page…

…the original orchestral version is  below: