J.S. Bach: Cello Suites, BWV 1007–1012 – arranged for piano by Eleonor Bindman (GPC081)
This is the sheet music edition of new piano arrangements of the Bach Cello Suites by Eleonor Bindman.
Complete edition of all 6 suites – 124 pages
Total duration: 69:13
Bach’s Cello Suites are more than great music. A cello’s timbre is so similar to a human voice that we feel like we are being spoken to. We start paying attention, somehow understand the message, respond to it from within and enter into a dialogue. Ideas are presented and expounded, connections are made, questions are answered or dissipate into silence. Every thought has intriguing possibilities: it gets repeated or fragmented, turned upside down, shown from another perspective, then returned to its origin. There is nothing superfluous in this conversation, only revelations as we get closer to truth.
Transcribing the Cello Suites into keyboard notation put the shapes of Bach’s linear thought, his patterns and implied counterpoint into much sharper focus. I am sharing this transcription with you in the spirit of an urtext edition: what Bach had left, without explicit speeds, dynamics or other printed “limitations.” Although Baroque dance forms imply traditional character and tempi, Bach stretches stylistic limits with his content. Most of the movements (except the Sarabandes which need to be slow) can be satisfying to play at any tempo or dynamic level and serve as useful finger-building exercises and structural studies. Dynamics depend on one’s mood and can change upon repeats so do experiment with them. Rosalyn Tureck’s books are a great source of wisdom on embellishments and your own trial and error will help. My recent recording of this transcription reveals some new repeat possibilities as well. The division of one cello line between two hands was guided by logistics and distinction of counterpoint but it isn’t written in stone. You might want to try some movements with the left hand alone. Adjusting your sitting position for the lower keyboard register is a good idea.
Bach reportedly said that “All one needs to do is play the right notes at the right time” but his music is a language of many hidden levels. To compensate for an unmarked score and provide some context, I include introductions to each Suite, with some observations, textual and structural highlights and rough metronome speeds. Lastly, there is a detailed “deconstruction,” of the Prelude from Suite No. 1, as a model for analyzing the other 35 movements, which I highly recommend.
I hope and trust that you will enjoy playing the Cello Suites on the piano. Thank you for your interest in my work.
– Eleonor Bindman, October 2020
View the individual Suites here, with extensive introductions by Eleonor Bindmann:
- Suite No. 1 in G major, BWV 1007
- Suite No. 2 in D minor, BWV 1008
- Suite No. 3 in C major, BWV 1009
- Suite No. 4 in E-flat major, BWV 1010
- Suite No. 5 in C minor, BWV 1011
- Suite No. 6 in D major, BWV 1012