Bach’s solo cello suites have always inspired music lovers with their freshness, imagination, spontaneous experimenting in sound, structures and technical boundaries and sheer cathartic beauty. Imbued with deep thought and wisdom, they move between dances to reflection, moments of joy and fun and melancholy, which we can all relate to.
Cellist Pavlos Carvalho performs Bach Suites numbers 4 in Eb major and 5 in C minor for solo cello. The freshness, imagination, sense of spontaneous experimenting with sound, structures, technical boundaries and the sheer cathartic beauty of these pieces, have been the source of constant discovery and pleasure for music lovers for hundreds of years. One moment like a dancing Irish jig, the next pensive and reflective, innocent and naive, then imbued with the wisdom of age and deep thought, joyful and funny, then tearful and melancholic. There are moments that we all relate to, in our own personal way, in every note of this moving music.
There has not been a more important or influential body of cello music written before or since the six Bach suites of 1720. Now treated almost reverentially by cellists, for two hundred years they were virtually unknown until a young Catalan cellist, Pablo Casals, discovered them in a little shop and breathed life back into these masterpieces. For some the music is deeply spiritual, for others the pieces are closely connected with nature…or perhaps it is the ingenuity of their structure and symmetry that inspires people to be moved by the cello suites.
Whatever the reasons, people always come back to Bach. Through seemingly the most simple means Bach speaks to the soul and the intellect at once. He is everywhere and a deeply-rooted part of our lives, from performances in the greatest concert halls to contemporary films, used as the music of political statement, as exciting imaginative music to be explored by the greatest jazz musicians, for mothers to soothe their babies, for people to celebrate weddings or deep consolation at funerals.
The profound imagination behind the cathartic simplicity of Bach’s cello suites makes his music a companion for life for the listener and a mystery to be constantly re-examined and explored by the performer.
- Ann Turrall