BACH Johann Sebastian, Cello Suites 5 & 6

Cello Suite No.5 in C minor, BWV 1011 

Prelude 
Allemande 
Courante 
Sarabande 
Gavotte I / II 
Gigue 

 

Cello Suite No.6 in D, BWV 1012 

Prelude 
Allemande 
Courante 
Sarabande 
Gavotte I / II 
Gigue 

  

Bach’s Cello Suites were probably composed in about 1720 during Bach’s time in Cöthen. It isn’t known for whom Bach wrote them, though there are at least two likely candidates working in Cöthen at the time: Christian Ferdinand Abel (1682–1761), a great friend of the composer for whom Bach wrote the three sonatas for viola da gamba and harpsichord (BWV 1027–9), and Carl Berhard Lienicke (d. 1751), the leading cellist of the Cöthen orchestra. Whether either of them was the player Bach had in mind is a matter of pure speculation since no documentary evidence has come to light. Equally uncertain is why Bach wrote them. The likeliest explanation is that they were intended – like much of his keyboard music – for private performance. 

© Nigel Simeone  

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