Arthur Sullivan's instrumental and chamber music dates from the late 1850s, when he was a student in Leipzig, and the 1860s when he was making his name with his earliest songs and orchestral pieces.
Idyll was composed in 1865 and published in a souvenir book of the Charing Cross Hospital Bazaar held at the Royal Albert Hall (London) on 21-22 June 1899. The book had contributions from 39 writers and 9 composers including Sullivan. Idyll was completed on 31 July 1865 and was 'composed for and dedicated to his friend Col. P. Paget (Farnham)'. In the previous week Col. Patrick Paget (1820-1879) had been Sullivan's host in Farnham (Surrey), a town not far from Sandhurst, where Sullivan's father was Master of the Band at the Royal Military College.
Sullivan wrote three works for cello, a concerto in 1866 for Alfredo Piatti, and two works with piano accompaniment. Idyll is a charming and elegant novelty, emphasising the lyrical and singing capabilities of the cello. The accompaniment is chordal and supportive, allowing the cello to weave long and sinuous melodies in a beautiful solo register. It also exists in arrangements for euphonium and brass band and double bass and piano. The present edition includes two solo parts, one for cello edited by Harriet Wiltshire and one for double bass (orchestral tuning) edited by David Heyes.
Sullivan's original cello part is included with the piano accompaniment for reference.