SIX SUITES FOR CELLO? The need is strong to imagine these pieces having just been written – as fresh music, without the burden of interpretations, connotations and obli- gatory associations. Music that simply refers to earlier music: in short, new, modern, intriguing music.
Music for a single cello, but written by a compo- ser with an enormous aptitude for the rich, polyphonic baroque language. Why though? What was Bach’s aim? An experiment, an upbeat to composi- tions for solo violin? Whatever the case, the endeavour must have amused him. Perhaps it cost him no trouble at all and maybe he even wrote them in a flash. Undoubtedly the commission, whether or not autonomous, to write suites for solo cello was particularly challenging and unusual.
The idea probably made him grin from ear to ear. Perhaps he envisaged the lay-out almost immediately: a simple start, then gradually leaving the realm of the cello via a complex key, possibly E flat major and a scordatura suite co- louring the cello even further, darke- ning it and turning it into something aloof and threatening, eventually to abandon the conventional cello by add- ing a string to it and writing unbridled, radiant music, music defying gravity (that is, if dancing were possible without it)…..
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