manuscripts
bACH cELLO sUITES - bwv 1007-1012

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Bach's original Manuscript missing

J.S Bach composed the 6 Suites for violoncello senza basso during the years he was “Anhalt-Köthen Prince's own musical director" at the court of Köthen between 1717 and 1723. 

At that time, the Calvinist faith prohibited music in the church (organs were removed from churches). During his years in Kothen, Bach's composition were non-religious and intended for the court. Among them, the Violin Sonatas and Partitas, the Brandenburg Concertos, the secular cantatas, Well-Tempered Clavier (BWV 846-869) and the Cello Suites. 

J.S. BACH's original manuscript of the Cello Suites has not been found (yet..?). Fortunately, four manuscript copies from the  18th century survived. We refer to each facsimile with a letter: A, B, C and D.

  • A : By A. Magdalena Bach, first half of the 18th c.
  • B : By J. Peter Kellner, first half of the 18th c.
  • C : By 2 different authors,  mid  18th c.
  • D : By Autor unknown, from the end of the 18th c.

Because these copies differ from each other, different interpretations of the slurs can be made. As of today, we count more than 90 editions of the cello suites. The choice of bowing and articulation is an endless debate for a cellist. 

The only manuscript reference from J.S. Bach is the Luth version of Suite 5 BWV 995


the 4 sources

clic on the images to see & download the manuscripts, color copy


A

by A.M. BACH, first half of the 18th  c..

B

by J. P. Kellner, first half of the 18th c.

C

2 different authors,  mid  18th century

(Often referred as the Westphal copy).

D

Author unknown, end of the 18th c.

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BACH CELLO SUITE N°1 in G Major BWV 1007


bach Suite N°1 - SOurce a

BACH SUITE N°1 - SOURCE b

BACH SUITE N°1 - SOURCE C

BACH SUITE N°1 - SOURCE d

SOUND EXCERPTS

SUITE 1 - SOUND SAMPLES

courante 1

sarabande 1

menuet 1

gigue 1


BACH CELLO SUITE N°2 in D minor BWV 1008


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BACH CELLO SUITE N°2  source a

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BACH CELLO SUITE N°2  - Source b

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BACH CELLO SUITE N°2 - Source c

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BACH CELLO SUITE N°2  - Source D

SOUND EXCERPTS

courante 2

sarabande 2

menuets 2

gigue 2


BACH CELLO SUITE N°3 in C Major BWV 1009


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BACH CELLO SUITE N°3  SOURCE A

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BACH CELLO SUITE N°3 - SOURCE B

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BACH CELLO SUITE N°3 - SOURCE C

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BACH CELLO SUITE N°3 - SOURCE D

SOUND EXCERPTS

COURANTE 3

SARABANDE 3

BOURREE 3

GIGUE 3


BACH CELLO SUITE N°4 in E FLAT Major BWV 1010


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BACH CELLO SUITE N°4 - SOURCE A

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BACH CELLO SUITE N°4 - SOURCE b

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BACH CELLO SUITE N°4 - SOURCE c


BACH CELLO SUITE N°4 - SOURCE d

SOUND EXCERPTS


BACH CELLO SUITE N°5 in C minor BWV 1011


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BACH CELLO SUITE N°5 - SOURCE a 

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BACH CELLO SUITE N°5 - SOURCE b

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BACH CELLO SUITE N°5 - SOURCE c 

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BACH CELLO SUITE N°5 - SOURCE d

sound excerpts

ALLEMANDE 5

COURANTE 5

SARABANDE 5

GAVOTTE 5

GIGUE 5


BACH CELLO SUITE N°6 in D MAJOR BWV 1012


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BACH CELLO SUITE N°6 - SOURCE a 


BACH CELLO SUITE N°6 - SOURCE B 


BACH CELLO SUITE N°6 - SOURCE C 


BACH CELLO SUITE N°6 - SOURCE D 

sound excerpts

allemande 6

courante 6

sarabande 6

gavotte 6

gigue 6

:
THE RECORDING OF THE 6 SUITES