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Bach, Johann Sebastian Johann Sebastian Bach
Germany Germany
(1685 - 1750)
6414 sheet music
6988 MP3
1101 MIDI



Arrangers : › Bach, Johann Sebastian Original (24)
› Best, William Thomas (1)
› Brigham, James (2)
› Coulomb, Laurent (1)
› David, Ferdinand (1)
› Düzgören, Mustafa Kemal (1)
› DESGRANGE, jean-Marie (1)

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Bach, Johann Sebastian: Prelude from the Cello Suite in D Major for Viola

Prelude from the Cello Suite in D Major for Viola
BWV 1012
Johann Sebastian Bach




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Composer :Johann Sebastian BachBach, Johann Sebastian (1685 - 1750)
Instrumentation :

Viola

  8 other versions
Style :

Baroque

Arranger :
Publisher :
Johann Sebastian BachMagatagan, Mike (1960 - )
Key :D major
Copyright :Public Domain
It is thought that Bach wrote his six suites for unaccompanied cello between 1717 and 1723, while he was in the employ of Prince Leopold of Anhalt-Cöthen and had two superb solo cellists, Bernard Christian Linigke and Christian Ferdinand Abel, at his disposal. However, the earliest copy of the suites dates from 1726, and no autographs survive. Thus a chronological order is difficult to prove, though one guesses that these suites were composed in numerical order from the way that they gradually evolve and deepen, both technically and musically.

A Baroque suite is typically a collection of dance movements, usually in binary form with each half repeated. Common elements of the suite were the Allemande (German dance), a moderately slow duple-meter dance; the Courante, a faster dance in triple meter; the Sarabande, a Spanish-derived dance in a slow triple meter with emphasis on the second beat; and a Gigue (Jig), which is rapid, jaunty, and energetic. Bach took these typical dance forms and abstracted them, and then added a free-form, almost improvisatory Prelude which sets the tone for each suite, and a galanterie, an additional dance interposed between Sarabande and Gigue. (In the first two suites, Bach uses a pair of Minuets.) With these dances, Bach experimented and created the first, and arguably still the finest, solo works for a relatively new instrument.

As unique and extraordinary as each of Bach's other five cello suites are, the Suite No. 6 is perhaps the most ambitious, strangest, richest of all. For this suite, Bach chose the key of D major, the triumphant key of his Magnificat and the "Dona nobis pacem" which concludes the Mass in B minor. He also calls for a five-stringed variant on the cello, though the work is playable on a conventional (four-stringed) cello. With these resources, Bach calls for resounding joy, carefully implied harmonies, and a rich, dense counterpoint that tests the cellist's skills to the maximum.

Other possible instruments for the suite include a cello da spalla, a version of the violoncello piccolo played on the shoulder like a viola, as well as a viola with a fifth string tuned to E, called a viola pomposa. As the range required in this piece is very large, the suite was probably intended for a larger instrument, although it is conceivable that Bach—who was fond of the viola—may have performed the work himself on an arm-held violoncello piccolo. However, it is equally likely that beyond hinting the number of strings, Bach did not intend any specific instrument at all as the construction of instruments in the early 18th century was highly variable.

Performers wishing to play the piece on a modern four-string instruments encounter difficulties as they are forced to use very high positions to reach many of the notes, though modern cellists regularly perform the suite on the 4-string instrument. Performers specialising in early music and using authentic instruments generally use the 5-string cello for this suite, including Anner Bylsma, Pieter Wispelwey, Jaap ter Linden and Josephine van Lier. The most common method of transposing this suite for viola, is to transpose the entire suite to G major, avoiding "a tone colour which is not very suitable for this type of music" and making most of the original chords playable on a four-stringed instrument.

This suite is written in much more free form than the others, containing more cadenza-like movements and virtuosic passages. It is also the only one of the suites that is partly notated in the Tenor C clef, which is not needed for the others since they never go above the note G4 (G above middle C).

The Prelude, in a steady triple meter, is the only place in the set where Bach employed the dynamic markings (forte and piano), to simulate the effect of a Vivaldi-like echo sonata with phrases calling, responding, and gradually growing and developing into a fast-moving and playful cadenza and an untroubled recapitulation. With each suite Bach continues his progression away from simple dance-like structural roots. Melodic leaps are introduced in the fourth suite, chords in the fifth suite, and a subtle mix of chords, leaps, and implied harmonies, which become as important as the melodies, in the sixth suite. Indeed, this suite comes close in its technical challenges to the polyphonic simulations that Bach created in the partitas and sonatas for solo violin.

Although this piece was originally written for a period bass instrument, I transcribed it (Transposing to G-Major) for Viola.
Source / Web :MuseScore
Sheet central :6 Suites pour violoncelle (136 sheet music)
Added by magataganm the 2014-06-07


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This sheet music is part of the collection of magataganm :
Viola Arrangements

Viola Arrangements
Sheet music list :
› "Joy to the World" for String Quartet
› 'Élégie' for Viola & Harp - Viola and Harp
› "3 Chants Sacrés" for Viola & Piano
› "Ach bleib bei uns, Herr Jesu Christ" for Viola
› "Albinoni's Adagio" for Viola & Harp - Viola and Harp
› "All They That See Him Laugh Him to Scorn" for Horn & Strings
› "All Through the Night" for Violin, Viola & Harp
› "Allemanda" from the Partita for Violin No. 2 for Viola - Viola
› "Alma Redemptoris Mater" for String Quartet
› "Am Tage Aller Seelen" for Viola & Harp




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