Nix Picks: (Summer Reading) The Cello Suites by Eric Siblin

Nix Picks: Summer Reading

I’m finally getting around to reading “The Cello Suites” by Eric Siblin.  A former Pop Music Critic for the Montreal Gazette and unschooled in classical music, Eric threw himself into historical research with a journalist’s enthusiasm and has produced a pretty interesting volume.   

The chapters are divided by the suite movements and in turn Siblin explores some of Bach’s background, some history and background of Pablo Casals (who brought the Suites into the greater public eye) and the structure of the Suites themselves.  

Thanks to YouTube, the listening research is now an armchair adventure (in contrast to driving to UMass, Amherst, or some other music library as we did when I was first doing this).

Here’s a film of Casals perform Suite No. 1 in 1954.  I was 11 months old when this was performed.  Many things really struck me about this performance…  I haven’t listed to Casals for a while.  The minuets for example a little slower than I  hear in some modern performances with the first quite regal, and the second played very delicately… a lovely and emotional contrast.  The Gigue had a great rocking fiddle-tune quality.  


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