Concert: Bach – All Six Cello Suites Performed on Viola
- Wed 17 Jan 2024
- 7:00 pm
Bach’s cello suites are familiar to most people. Since being unearthed in 1889, by the cellist Pablo Casals, they have become a cornerstone of cello repertoire after he recorded them in the 1930s, and are approaching iconic status. Most likely written around 1717 to 1720, they are among the most profound of all classical music works. Musicians use them to hone their technique, develop their sound and develop their storytelling and shaping of music, and they are some of the most loved pieces of classical music, with box sets recorded by many of the famous cellists from the last century to today.
The viola world has adopted them with great enthusiasm. They are played one octave above the original cello pitch and bring a fresh sound world to the much loved pieces. However, they are not often played in concert on the viola, let alone heard all together in one concert, with each one being extremely challenging for the performer.
This concert will be an absolute treat for anyone who loves Bach. All 36 movements will be played in one night by Chris Emerson, a viola player in Manchester’s own Hallé orchestra for over 20 years.#
Chris has been performing them one suite at a time, over the past year, in exciting concerts put on by The Commission for New and Old Art around Manchester.
These have paired the beautiful suites with other works as diverse as electric bass solos, modern oboe duets, Brecht songs, Theorbo and soprano duos, acting and dancing to widespread acclaim.
This project is a natural evolution of these concerts and brings together all 6 cello suites of Bach played on the viola, that most beautiful of the string instruments with its mellow tenor voice and velvety tone. It is following in the footsteps of Yo-Yo Ma, the US cellist who is performing this repertoire all over the world, famously playing them to a sell out BBC prom in the Albert Hall, as well as in villages in Africa.
Building on an appetite to hear whole evenings of Bach, such as the Goldberg Variations in piano, this promises to be an uplifting and complete evening to remember, on a rarely heard and beautiful instrument.
There will be an interval after the 3rd suite, and the concert is expected to finish at around 9.30pm.