This page will be updated routinely with ideas on how to phrase individual movements of the Bach Cello Suites.

J.S. Bach is well known for being the foremost composer of the Baroque era and the composer of some of the greatest music ever written.  I have found it helpful to treat the Cello Suites as a theory assignment BEFORE beginning to rehearse them.  Bach’s music will typically follow tonal patterns. Once we understand these patterns and where they occur, our interpretative decisions becomes very clear.

Cello Suite 1, Minuets

These two movements are typical of the Da Capo movements of the cello suites: contrasting tempi/style and closely related keys.

The following was recorded live at the 2016 Roger Bobo Festival of Brass. The recording below contains piano accompaniment, which can help guide our ear.

 

Cello Suite 3, Bourrees

These follow the standard DaCapo form with no repeats on the DC. This version is with piano accompaniment and was recorded live at the 2016 Roger Bobo Festival of Brass

 


Cello Suite 5, Sarabande

This is just a practice recording to help out my students prepare the piece. It was taken in the Zimmerman Symphony Center in Canton, Ohio between rehearsals.  I will try to get a better recording up in a few weeks when the semester winds down a bit. So please ignore the background noise during the opening.

A few things of note with this movement:

1) Try to mimic the opening motif during the last 4 bars. There is a chord change on the third beat of each measure, but the melodic line should still sound like a melodic line. I chose to treat the last eighth note as a pick-up to the next measure.

2) Play around with the “tension/release” of the lower and upper appoggiaturas. Some times it is better place emphasis on the first note, some times it is better to resolve to the second note.