Laurence Lesser | J.S. Bach: Cello Suites

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J.S. Bach: Cello Suites

by Laurence Lesser

The only manuscript by Bach himself of a cello suite is his lute version of Suite V in c minor (BWV995) here arranged back for cello by the performer. Compelling, communicative performances of all 6 - the culmination of more than 60 years of playing them!
Genre: Classical: Baroque
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  Song Share Time Download
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1. Cello Suite No. 1 in G Major, BWV 1007: I. Prelude
2:29 $0.99
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2. Cello Suite No. 1 in G Major, BWV 1007: II. Allemande
3:40 $0.99
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3. Cello Suite No. 1 in G Major, BWV 1007: III. Courante
2:59 $0.99
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4. Cello Suite No. 1 in G Major, BWV 1007: IV. Sarabande
3:15 $0.99
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5. Cello Suite No. 1 in G Major, BWV 1007: V. Menuets 1 and 2
3:34 $0.99
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6. Cello Suite No. 1 in G Major, BWV 1007: VI. Gigue
2:12 $0.99
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7. Cello Suite No. 4 in E-Flat Major, BWV 1010: I. Prelude
4:10 $0.99
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8. Cello Suite No. 4 in E-Flat Major, BWV 1010: II. Allemande
4:44 $0.99
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9. Cello Suite No. 4 in E-Flat Major, BWV 1010: III. Courante
4:19 $0.99
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10. Cello Suite No. 4 in E-Flat Major, BWV 1010: IV. Sarabande
4:55 $0.99
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11. Cello Suite No. 4 in E-Flat Major, BWV 1010: V. Bourrees 1 and 2
5:48 $0.99
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12. Cello Suite No. 4 in E-Flat Major, BWV 1010: VI. Gigue
3:09 $0.99
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13. Cello Suite No. 5 in C Minor, BWV 1011: I. Prelude
6:49 $0.99
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14. Cello Suite No. 5 in C Minor, BWV 1011: II. Allemande
5:41 $0.99
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15. Cello Suite No. 5 in C Minor, BWV 1011: III. Courante
2:51 $0.99
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16. Cello Suite No. 5 in C Minor, BWV 1011: IV. Sarabande
3:50 $0.99
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17. Cello Suite No. 5 in C Minor, BWV 1011: V. Gavottes 1 and 2
6:13 $0.99
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18. Cello Suite No. 5 in C Minor, BWV 1011: VI. Gigue
3:18 $0.99
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19. Cello Suite No. 2 in D Minor, BWV 1008: I. Prelude
3:41 $0.99
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20. Cello Suite No. 2 in D Minor, BWV 1008: II. Allemande
3:32 $0.99
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21. Cello Suite No. 2 in D Minor, BWV 1008: III. Courante
2:32 $0.99
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22. Cello Suite No. 2 in D Minor, BWV 1008: IV. Sarabande
4:13 $0.99
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23. Cello Suite No. 2 in D Minor, BWV 1008: V. Menuets 1 and 2
3:32 $0.99
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24. Cello Suite No. 2 in D Minor, BWV 1008: VI. Gigue
3:02 $0.99
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25. Cello Suite No. 3 in C Major, BWV 1009: I. Prelude
3:18 $0.99
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26. Cello Suite No. 3 in C Major, BWV 1009: II. Allemande
4:31 $0.99
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27. Cello Suite No. 3 in C Major, BWV 1009: III. Courante
3:35 $0.99
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28. Cello Suite No. 3 in C Major, BWV 1009: IV. Sarabande
4:40 $0.99
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29. Cello Suite No. 3 in C Major, BWV 1009: V. Bourrees 1 and 2
4:22 $0.99
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30. Cello Suite No. 3 in C Major, BWV 1009: VI. Gigue
3:47 $0.99
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31. Cello Suite No. 6 in D Major, BWV 1012: I. Prelude
5:37 $0.99
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32. Cello Suite No. 6 in D Major, BWV 1012: II. Allemande
8:21 $0.99
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33. Cello Suite No. 6 in D Major, BWV 1012: III. Courante
4:26 $0.99
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34. Cello Suite No. 6 in D Major, BWV 1012: IV. Sarabande
4:22 $0.99
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35. Cello Suite No. 6 in D Major, BWV 1012: V. Gavottes 1 and 2
4:40 $0.99
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36. Cello Suite No. 6 in D Major, BWV 1012: VI. Gigue
5:01 $0.99
Downloads are available as MP3-320 files.

ABOUT THIS ALBUM


Album Notes
A FEW WORDS ABOUT THESE PERFORMANCES

In the early 1930’s, Pablo Casals made the first complete recorded set of the Bach Suites. The list of cellists who have done so since then is of great length. It’s not hard to understand why – the works are sublime and remain, as my mentor Gregor Piatigorsky said, “better than we are.” Having now played the cello for more than 70 years, I have decided that before time runs out I need to add my take on them to that list. As with pianists essaying the 32 sonatas of Beethoven, no two versions of the suites are alike. But that is also the attraction for the listener and the player – there is always more to say.

The unique novelty in my set comes as a partial answer to a frustrating fact – the composer’s manuscript has never been found. Fortunately, there are two contemporaneous copies, each made in the late 1720’s (the works were probably written about a decade before). One is by his wife, Anna Magdalena, and the other is by his Leipzig fellow musician, Johann Peter Kellner. While hers is usually considered the primary available source, both are of importance.

But there is one unimpeachable partial source: Bach also wrote Suite V in a version for lute and that manuscript survives in his hand. This version has fascinated me for almost 50 years. I have considered it of such interest and importance that, bit-by-bit, I transcribed it for cello.

Aside from the fact that the lute version is in a different key (g minor), the pieces are basically the same, but with important differences – since the lute has more strings than a cello, that version has more chords, in several places introducing harmonies many listeners may find surprising and very satisfying; equally important, Bach writes out ornamentation for the lute, mostly absent from the cello suites. That by itself makes the lute version an ideal source for understanding how and where Bach wants ornaments (and where not).

My plan is this: I play the prelude from the lute version. For all the dance movements following, each having a pair of repeated sections, I show the cello version first and the more elaborate lute version to follow. This vividly highlights the differences of the two.

No performances of the suites can be “perfect,” mine surely included. Rather, they are an honest expression of how this music speaks to me today. But I’m also aware it’s likely tomorrow I’ll be full of fresh ideas . . .

There is much more to say - if you are interested please visit my website where I have written in some detail about the suites.

But to start, simply listen!

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