Preparing for a Bach Cello Suite Marathon

suitte a cinq cordes

By Miranda Wilson

Performing all six of Bach’s Cello Suites is a marathon in the career of any cellist, and for many years I wondered if it was even a good idea to attempt this feat. Surely it was a lot to expect of an audience to compel them to sit through six long and intellectually demanding pieces? Mightn’t they stagger out at the end, exhausted, never wanting to listen to the Suites ever again? Would it not be more prudent to perform one or two of the Suites at once, leaving the audience wanting more, rather than bashing them over the head with all six?

But the idea wouldn’t leave me alone. And the more I thought about the Suites and how important they had been in my career and my life, the more I realized they really did belong together as a cycle.

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