Suite No. 1 in G major by J​.​S. Bach

by Thomas Beckman

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Johann Sebastian Bach's Suite No. 1 in G major comprises some of the most well-known and beloved of solo works for cello and viola (transcribed). Written between 1717-23, Johann Sebastian at the time, was serving as Kapellmeister in Köthen, the capita city of the district Anhalt-Bitterfeld in Germany.

The first of six suites for solo cello, Bach's writing once more reflects the marked genius for contrapuntal and polyphonic music within a single musical line. As is typical of the Baroque musical suite; following the prelude, the opening movement designed to set the tone and key of the work; the subsequent movements employ various folk dance types; the format following a structure of six movements each: Prelude, Allemande, Courante, Sarabande, two Minuets or Bourrées or Gavottes, and a final Gigue, each dance contrasting in tempo and mood.

On a personal note, Suite No. 1 has always been close to my heart and a work I have performed throughout my viola career since 2007. The music never ceases to conjure up new imaginations, nor in risk of becoming banal despite the staggering number of recordings and performances given the work over the centuries. In this sense I feel every musician who learns to play this music develops a very intimate and special relationship with the writing and after a period of time, makes it his or her own. In this recording, I have tried to capture my own instinctive and personal interpretation as best I can.

To watch the music video:


released July 9, 2019

Recorded by Justin Brown
Mixed by Vince Renaud


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Thomas Beckman Vancouver, British Columbia

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