Bach composed his six suites for unaccompanied cello in 1720. That he wrote such undisputed masterworks for an instrument that was not yet recognized as capable of virtuoso expression equal to that of the violin elicits both awe and curiosity. But it also elicits gratitude on the part of cellists, who may spend a lifetime mining the treasures contained in this magnificent music. Almost entirely forgotten after their composition, these works were first published as mere exercises a century after they were written and not performed in their entirety until the 20th century. Nevertheless, these works now occupy the top tier of every cellist's repertoire, and are celebrated in regular performances and dozens of editions and recordings. Over two concerts in one day, Guy Fishman, principal cellist of the Handel and Haydn Society, surveys all six suites on his baroque cello, built in Rome in 1704, as well as on a five-stringed baroque cello.
Suite for unaccompanied cello no. 2 in d minor, BWV 1008
Prelude; Allemande; Courante; Sarabande; Minuet I & II; Gigue
Suite for unaccompanied cello no. 6 in D major, BWV 1012
Prelude; Allemande; Courante; Sarabande; Gavotte I & II; Gigue
Suite for unaccompanied cello no. 5 in C minor, BWV 1011
Prelude; Allemande; Courante; Sarabande;Gavotte I & II; Gigue