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The Cello Suites: J. S. Bach, Pablo Casals, and the Search for a Baroque Masterpiece Paperback – January 4, 2011
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This book, the chronicle of series of musical and personal journeys of discovery revolving around the Bach cello suites, is the result. It immediately appealed to me because of my own love for the music -- although unlike Siblin, I'm not a musician of any kind and unlike him, 'classical' music has always been a part of my life. But I kept reading because of my own fascination with Siblin's tale and the way he has chosen to tell it: weaving together three separate strands of a narrative in much the same way that Bach might have woven together musical themes to produce the final work. The first of these strands revolves around Bach himself; the composer's background and how the history of his compositions can be tied to his own life and experiences in a variety of German princely courts of the 18th century. The second is the lifelong love affair between the 13-year-old Pablo Casals (a future superstar cellist), who stumbled across the then almost-unknown cello suites in the back streets of Barcelona, and the music that have ended up becoming some of Bach's best-known and most-loved works. (Without Casals, the suites could have languished in obscurity, rarely played; now they are a part of the cello repertoire that most cellists aspire to perform.Read more ›
Being no more familiar than Siblin was with the Cello Suites, I bought myself a recording (Pierre Fournier's) and had it on high rotation while I read. For fellow neophytes, then, these are pieces for an unaccompanied tenor instrument that itself usually (but not always) fulfills the role of an accompaniment to a "treble" instrument like a violin. Bach's six Cello Suites span a couple of hours, and you'd be forgiven for supposing that it would be, therefore, a challenging listen. First go-round, for a non-enthusiast, it is. I must say, though, that having listened to it repeatedly over a week I find it bouncing uncontrollably - and pleasingly - around my head all day. But all the same, I don't think I'm ready to jettison Led Zeppelin just yet. There again, I'm not really the converting type.
At any rate, on account of their inaccessibility the Cello Suites were commonly supposed, for a long while, to be simply rehearsal exercises. Which is where Siblin picks up the story.Read more ›
It's neither a heavy tome nor a heavy read but it is nourishing entertainment
Most Recent Customer Reviews
A great read, dramatic at times. Interweaving the lives of Casals and Bach took every literary accommodation possible but it does work.Published 12 days ago by robcat2075
This is my favorite of classical music. The book taught me a lot about Bach andCasals.Published 23 days ago by Leslie C. Jensen
If you like Bach or going to play The 6 suites, don't miss this book.Published 1 month ago by Nat.V
Unless the reader is a musician and/or has a basic love of Bach and/or Casals, this book probably wouldn't mean as much to them as it did for me. I am a musician. Read morePublished 2 months ago by Carolyn Dargevics
Wonderful book! This is well written about Bach's cello suites, Pablo Casals's rediscovery of these works and, of course, Bach himself. It's one of the best books I've ever read.Published 3 months ago by Amazon Customer
Interesting bio of Bach but too much about the author and description of music not for the nonprofessionalPublished 7 months ago by Miriam Goodman
I enjoyed this book as it showed me the depth of the Cello Suites, but most of all, because of the moving picture of an extraordinary musician, a man with a clear political... Read morePublished 8 months ago by Carlos Salas Paez