Bach in the Day
A book about six Bach cello suites and the legend Pablo Casals tells a very good story.
(Sadly, as far as I know, the brilliant cellist Jacqueline du Pré never recorded them.)
Former Montreal Gazette pop music critic Eric Siblin has recently fallen under that music’s powerful sway and has written a monograph entitled The Cello Suites: J. S. Bach, Pablo Casals, and the Search for a Baroque Masterpiece (Grove Press). There is a wonderful story here of which I was not aware. Apparently, Bach’s original scorefor what was then considered a second-rate instrument, the cellowas lost until the teen-aged cello student, Pablo Casals, discovered the music in Barcelona. Reportedly Casals played the Suites every day for 12 years before he performed them in public.
I am much encouraged by the publication of this sort of book; it probably has a limited audience, though it need not, as it reads well as a piece of cultural history and historical mystery. And, if you don’t know this music, you owe it to yourself to take a listen.