The Cello Suites

The Cello Suites

J.S. Bach, Pablo Casals, and the Search for A Baroque Masterpiece

Paperback - 2009
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One evening, after ending a stint as a pop music critic, Eric Siblin attended a performance of Bach's Cello Suites. There, something unlikely happened: he fell deeply in love with the music. So began a quest that would unravel three centuries of intrigue, politics, and passion. Part biography, part music history, and part mystery, The Cello Suites weaves together three dramatic narratives: Bach's composition of the suites and the manuscript's disappearance in the eighteenth century, Pablo Casals's re-discovery of the music in Spain in the late nineteenth century, and Siblin's infatuation with the suites at the dawn of the twenty-first century. Siblin's search leads him to Barcelona, where Casals, as a teenager, roamed back streets in search of sheet music and found Bach's lost composition tucked in a dark corner. Casals would play the suites for twelve years before performing them--and making them his own. Siblin pursues the mysteries that haunt this music more than 250 years after its composer's death: why did Bach compose the suites for the cello, then considered a lowly instrument? What happened to the original manuscript of the suites? The Cello Suites is a journey of discovery, fueled by the transcendent power of a musical masterpiece.
Publisher: New York : Atlantic Monthly Press : Grove/Atlantic, Inc. ; [Berkeley, Calif.] : Distributed by Publishers Group West, 2009.
ISBN: 9780802119292
Characteristics: 319 p. : music, facsims. ; 22 cm.


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Mar 20, 2017

Outstanding novel. I simply could not set the book down after opening. It is a lovely book about the history behind J.S. Bach and the world culture during that time frame. I found it very interesting how even our greatest Maestro's must grasp the assumption of how the Cello Suites are played. It is left to the human imagination. In short, that may have been what Bach was suggesting. Songs are simply more pleasurable when the human ear is left to imagination.

Nov 20, 2011

I'd like to chat with people who are reading this book -- one of the ones that just missed the cut for Canada Reads.

Love this piece of music. Fascinating book.

There could be a chat group for "Canada should also read... 2012"

Jan 12, 2011

I read and listened to the Cello Suites. It's worth borrowing the CD at the same time! It's a fascinating tale of the Suites and of course of Bach--but really--you come to think of the Suites as the subject of the book, with a story of their own brought to life by the hands of Pablo Casals and others. I loved this book.


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