Bach's original Manuscript
J.S Bach composed the 6 Suites for violoncello senza basso during the years he was “Anhalt-Köthen Prince's own musical director" at the court of Köthen between 1717 and 1723.
At that time, the Calvinist faith prohibited music in the church (organs were removed from churches). During his years in Kothen, Bach's compositions were intended for the court. Among them, the Violin Sonatas and Partitas, the Brandenburg Concertos, the secular cantatas, Well-Tempered Clavier (BWV 846-869) and the Cello Suites.
J.S. BACH's original manuscript of the Cello Suites has not been found (yet..?). Fortunately, four manuscript copies from the 18th century survived. We often refer to each facsimile with a letter or number:
- I : By A. Magdalena Bach, first half of the 18th c.
- II : By J. Peter Kellner, first half of the 18th c. (the oldest)
- III: By 2 different authors, mid 18th c.
- IV: By Author unknown, from the end of the 18th c.
Because these copies differ from each other, different interpretations of the slurs can be made. As of today, we count more than 90 editions of the cello suites. The choice of bowing and articulation is an endless debate for a cellist.
The only manuscript reference from J.S. Bach is the Luth version of the Suite N°5 called Pieces pour la luth à Monsieur Schouster" BWV 995
BACH CELLO SUITE N°1 IN G MAJOR BWV 1007
BACH CELLO SUITE N°2 IN D MINOR BWV 1008
BACH CELLO SUITE N°3 IN C MAJOR BWV 1009
BACH CELLO SUITE N°4 IN E FLAT MAJOR BWV 1010
BACH CELLO SUITE N°5 IN C MINOR BWV 1011
BACH CELLO SUITE N°6 IN D MAJOR BWV 1012
ABOUT the cd AND THE PROJECT
A unique project:Recording the Suites on a full baroque set-up, natural accoustics (no reverb added), following closely the manuscripts with a technique used in Germany in the XVIIIth century: the strong beats/basses come in an up bow.By Marianne Dumas