“Johann Sebastian Bach’s six suites for solo cello have long been shrouded in mystery as to their origins, the instrument for which they were intended, and even the person to whom they were dedicated Today musicologists agree that they were composed around 1720, during the same period as the Sonatas and Partitas for solo violin, while Bach was in the service of Prince Leopold of Anhalt-Köthen.
They were rediscovered at the beginning of the 20th century by Pablo Casals, and quickly became an essential part of the repertoire, as much for the cello as for other instruments – the viola, the double bass, or even the lute and the guitar.
Adapting a work for an instrument other than the one originally intended was a well-known practice during Bach’s time, and Bach himself made a number of such transcriptions. In spite of their essentially melodic material, the cello suites lend themselves particularly well to transcription due to the rich polyphony, which is implicit but concealed in the melodies, and can be revealed by suitable arrangement.
I offer here an arrangement of the Suite BWV 1010 for the guitar that takes into account Bach’s transcriptions of his works, his contemporaries’, and the period’s style conceptions. By my present editing of this music, I hope to give guitarists wishing to immerse themselves in it, a guide that is both practical and accessible.”
Johann Sebastian Bach
Suite pour violoncelle n°4 BWV 1010
Bourree I + II