Johann Sebastian Bach wrote all six, of his cello suites, in the town of Cothen, in about 1720.
Cello Suite No.4, in E flat major, opens, like the others, with a demanding Prelude. An Allemande follows, paired with a Courante, leading to a contrasting slow Sarabande. A busier Bourree is followed by a second Bourree of simpler texture and in the same key. The last movement is a lively Gigue.
Cello Suite No.4 in E flat major, BWV 1010, by J S Bach :-
1) Prelude 2) Allemande 3) Courante 4) Sarabande 5) Bourree I & II 6) Gigue
The fifth and sixth of Bach's cello suites differ in various ways from the first four. No.5, in C minor, was originally written in scordatura, with the top string of the cello tuned to G instead of A. The opening Prelude has a slower embellished introduction before an extended faster fugal section in triple metre. An ornamented Allemande is duly followed by its companion Courante and a slow Sarabande that avoids the chordal pattern of its predecessors. A first Gavotte is repeated after the unusual compound rhythm of the second Gavotte and No.5 ends with a Gigue in dotted rhythm.
Cello Suite No.5 in C minor, BWV 1011, by J S Bach :-
7) Prelude 8) Allemande 9) Courante 10) Sarabande 11) Gavotte I & II 12) Gigue
The sixth Cello Suite, in D major, is written for a five string instrument, with an additional top string tuned to E. The Prelude opens with the characteristic sound of bariolage, as the player repeats the note D first on one string then on another. The Allemande has elaborate figuration and the companion Courante again exploits the wider possible range of a five string instrument. A Sarabande is followed by a pair of Gavottes, played in alternation, and the suite ends with a demanding Gigue.
Cello Suite No.6 in D major, BWV 1012, by J S Bach :-
13) Prelude 14) Allemande 15) Courante 16) Sarabande 17) Gavotte I & II 18) Gigue
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