Karl Yulievich Davydov, (15 March [O.S. 3 March] 1838 ? 26 February [O.S. 14 February] 1889) was a Russian cellist of great renown during his time, and described by Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky as the "tsar of cellists".
In his youth he studied mathematics at St. Petersburg University, and then pursued a career as a composer, studying with Moritz Hauptmann at the Leipzig Conservatory. He became a full-time cellist in 1850 while continuing to compose in his spare time. He later became head of the St Petersburg Conservatory. He had many students, including Aleksandr Verzhbilovich.
In 1870 Count Wilhorsky, a patron of the arts, presented Davydov with a Stradivarius cello constructed in 1712. This cello, now known as the Davidov Stradivarius, previously owned by Jacqueline du Pré, is currently on loan to cellist Yo-Yo Ma.
He intended to write an opera on the subject of Mazeppa. Viktor Burenin wrote a libretto for this purpose in 1880, but when Davydov proved unable to find the time to compose, Burenin offered to libretto to Tchaikovsky.
Although closely associated with Tchaikovsky, Karl Davydov was not related to the Davydov clan into which Tchaikovsky's sister Alexandra, and the composer Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov married. Davydov died in Moscow on February 26, 1889
Works with Opus number
Opus 5, Cello Concerto No. 1 in B minor (1859)
Opus 6, Souvenir de Zarizino: 2 salon pieces (Nocturne - Mazurka) for cello and piano
Opus 7, Fantasie from a Russian folk song for cello and orchestra
Opus 14, Cello Concerto No. 2 in A minor (1863)(1860?)
Opus 16, 3 Salon pieces (Mondnacht, Lied, Märchen) for cello and piano
Opus 17, Souvenirs d'Oranienbaum (Adian - Barcarolle)
Opus 18, Cello Concerto No. 3 in D major (1868)
Opus 20, 4 Pieces for Cello and Piano
No. 1, Sonntag Morgen (Sunday Morning)
No. 2, Am Springbrunnen (At the Fountain)
No. 3, An der Wiege
No. 4, Abenddämmerung
Opus 23, Romance sans Paroles in G major
Opus 25, Ballade for cello and orchestra or piano in G major (1875)
Opus 30, 3 salon pieces
Opus 31, Cello Concerto No. 4 in E minor (1878)
Opus 31, String Sextet
'Poltawa', Opera after Pushkin (1876, unfinished)
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