To listen press on the audio player below
(you can also download the file –
click on the three dots on the right):

To use the carousel, click on or touch the number 1 on the top left; it will open up to fill your screen, you can then move through the four slides by using the arrows at the side; to leave it simply press Escape (Esc) or, if on your phone or tablet – where they’re best viewed in landscape – the small x in the top right hand corner.

Casals was 77 when this was recorded. Some of the skills of the 30s recordings may be a little blunted, but it’s an invaluable document all the same …

1. Prelude – 0:01
2. Allemande – 2:06
3. Courante – 5:33
4. Sarabande – 8:08
5. Minuets 1 & 2 – 10:36
6. Gigue – 14:01

Seventh heaven for score-followers: you can follow both Anna Magdalena’s and a modern version of the work simultaneously! The cellist is Yo-Yo Ma.

1. Prelude – 0:17
2. Allemande – 2:50
3. Courante – 6:38
4. Sarabande – 9:04
5. Minuets 1 & 2 – 12:01
6. Gigue – 15:07

It dawned on me (too late, too late!) that I haven’t even mentioned Rostropovich, though I’m fairly sure this was because he’d always seemed, to me, to be more comfortable in later repertoire. This is me making amends:

1. Prelude
2. Allemande​
3. Courante
4. Sarabande
5. Minuets 1 & 2
6. Gigue

And, if you want to make the pilgrimage (well worth it!) …

1. Cello-Suites#1 BWV-1007 (0:00​)
2. Cello-Suites#2 BWV-1008 (18:39​)
3. Cello-Suites#3 BWV-1009 (37:44​)
4. Cello-Suites#4 BWV-1010 (1:00:56​)
5. Cello-Suites#5 BWV-1011 (1:26:26​)
6. Cello-Suites#6 BWV-1012 (1:51:20​)

Any copyrighted material on these pages is included as “fair use”, for the purpose of study, and critical analysis only, and will be removed at the request of the copyright owner(s).

2 thoughts on “Bach?

  1. Very enjoyable session. Thank you. As far as the Prelude to Cello Suite 1 goes, I liked the tempo, clarity and subtle dynamics of Yo Yo Ma. I agree with you about the David Watkins performance. Your favourite, Pierre Fournier I thought a bit slow at first but I adjusted to the tempo and found it very clear too.

  2. A wonderful class, Chris, and isn’t it amazing that we can listen to and watch Casals playing almost 70 years after the event! I remember hearing Rostropovich play these Suites as a cycle in Edinburgh in 1961 and it was a revelation. Nowadays my preference would be more for David Watkin or the Dutch cellist Anner Bijlsma, who both make the music really dance.

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