Six Suites for Violoncello Thursday, August 20, 2009
We know what you’re thinking…ANOTHER edition of the Bach “Six Suites” for cello. Do we really need another one. Well, we do when the edition not only has been meticulously derived from the two most important sources of the original works, but it also has a companion 3 DVD Set of the suites as played by the editor, David Starkweather, professor of cello at The University of Georgia Hodgson School of Music in Athens, where he has been on the faculty since 1983.
The DVD also contains PDF files of the performance edition and the manuscript edition, which can be downloaded and printed, as well as lectures on the disagreement of sources and a comparison of copyists’ accuracy. The lectures pertain to the fact that Bach’s autograph manuscript is lost and the two most important manuscript sources are those written by Anna Magdalena Bach and Johann Peter Kellner, who were both copyists for J. S. Bach. Unfortunately, their copies often have inaccuracies, mistakes and disagreements. Starkweather has made careful notation of similarities and differences between the two copies. He also consulted two anonymous German manuscripts from the late 18th century and the first published edition of the Six Suites, from approximately 1824, as well as Bach’s autograph manuscript of the lute suite, which was the source of the Fifth Cello Suite, and includes all his findings in his lectures and in his printed edition.
Starkweather’s printed edition is very clean and readable and contains what he believes are the most accurate editing marks, as derived from his scholarly examination. He has also included some of his own editorial suggestions, which he uses in his performances as seen on the companion DVD. All in all, this pair of new products could become what his graduate cello coach, Bernard Greenhouse, believes – “the best edition” of the Bach cello suites. Don’t miss it!