Johann Sebastian Bach’s Six Solo Cello Suites are some of the most iconic classical music works.
Bach Cello Suites are the “manual of every Cellist” and It’s testament to the music’s diversity. They have a rich texture and an emotional resonance.
Each of Bach’s Cello Suites follows a similar structure. They begin with a prélude, an introductory movement. The prélude is usually the longest movement; its character can be whimsical and improvisatory.
The dance movements, coming after the Prélude, always follow the same sequence, originating from different countries: first comes the Allemande from German lands, then the Courante (French), and then the Sarabande (Spanish). The fourth dance is a pair of so-called Gallantries: Minuets, Bourrées or Gavottes vary between the suites. The final dance is an English Gigue.
The story of the Suites for Unaccompanied Cello is one of genius and tragic neglect, with a triumphant and long-lived epilogue. There is perhaps no other single set of compositions that have had more of a lasting impact in music history than the cello suites. No other work for solo cello is as broadly expressive, as widely varied, or as native to the instrument itself as Bach’s suites.