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The Cello Suites
The Cello Suites: J. S. Bach, Pablo Casals, and the Search for a Baroque Masterpiece | Eric Siblin
8 posts | 5 read | 6 to read
One evening, journalist Eric Siblin attended a recital of Johann Sebastian Bach's Cello Suites and began an epic quest that would unravel three centuries of intrigue, politics, and passion. Winner of the Mavis Gallant Prize for Nonfiction and the McAuslan First Book Prize, The Cello Suites weaves together three dramatic narratives: the disappearance of Bach's manuscript in the eighteenth century; Pablo Casals's discovery and popularization of the music in Spain in the late-nineteenth century; and Siblin's infatuation with the suites in the present day. The search led Siblin to Barcelona, where Casals, just thirteen and in possession of his first cello, roamed the backstreets with his father in search of sheet music and found Bach's lost suites tucked in a dark corner of a store. Casals played them every day for twelve years before finally performing them in public. Siblin pursues the mysteries that continue to haunt this music more than 250 years after its composer's death: Why did Bach compose the suites for the cello, then considered a lowly instrument? What happened to the original manuscript? A seamless blend of biography and music history, The Cello Suites is a true-life journey of discovery, fueled by the power of these musical masterpieces.
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RavenLovelyReads
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He doesn‘t play the cello, he plays the bass (no treble 🤣). He also plays the guitar, piano, and since our trip to the Ren Fair, the ocarina. I get a kick out of how big his 1/4 bass is! This boy loves his music! #gratitude30 #music

Schnoebs I remember having a bass that size 13mo
RavenLovelyReads @Schnoebs Do you still play?? How did you like playing it? 13mo
Schnoebs I loved playing it (I played consistently for 5-6 years). I currently don‘t play it now because of school but I am taking music lessons on and off. I‘m currently learning to play the viola de gamba. It‘s my third instrument 13mo
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RavenLovelyReads @Schnoebs That‘s great!! I‘d love to play the viola! He picked this because he figured it would help him play the bass guitar- he thinks he‘s gonna start a garage band...the kid is 10! 😂😂 13mo
CouronneDhiver Amazing! 👏🏽👏🏽👏🏽 13mo
GingerAntics I was about to say, do they have him playing a full size cello? lol I started a garage band when I was 6 so 10 isn't too early. I've known a lot of bass guitar players who took up the upright bass when they got to college music departments. They interchange pretty well. Your little guy is smart. 13mo
RavenLovelyReads @GingerAntics That‘s Amazing!! What did you play?? 13mo
GingerAntics In the rock band I was the drummer, but I played a bunch of other stuff. I was like your son. I just loved music and wanted to play whatever I could get my hands on. (edited) 13mo
Nute So cool! 13mo
85 likes9 comments
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Susanita
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One of my favorite parts of Master and Commander is at the Galápagos Islands, with Yo-Yo Ma playing Bach on the soundtrack. During and after reading this book I went down a delightful YouTube rabbit hole watching him and others play the various Cello Suites.

Thanks to @Lynnsoprano for bringing this book to my attention!

#BlameItOnLitsy #Booked2018

Lynnsoprano 😂It sent me down the same rabbit hole! 1y
DrexEdit That's not a bad rabbit hole to be in! 😁 1y
Cinfhen Littens are the best 😀So glad your #BlameItOnLitsy was a winner❣️❣️❣️ 1y
BarbaraTheBibliophage I loved Master and Commander—even more because I thought I‘d hate it. Great review of the way all things connect to books. 👏🏻👏🏻 1y
Susanita @BarbaraTheBibliophage Thank you. I love this about Litsy. 😀 1y
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Lynnsoprano
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Pickpick

For any musician or classical music lover, this is a must! There is so much to this book: biography of Bach and his sons, Casals biography, musicology, and memoir. I loved it all. This also dovetails nicely with Reinventing Bach, which I read last fall. Thank you, @hermyknee for this most thoughtful choice.

hermyknee 😊 so glad you liked it! 1y
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Lynnsoprano
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Still not feeling 100%, but I‘m leading a tour at the botanical garden today, and being there always lifts my spirits. Hubby suggested we go out for bagels and coffee before I had to leave. Of course our books came along 😄

Reviewsbylola Great start to your day. 👍🏻 2y
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Updrifting
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This was a lovely read about exploring and reaching the limits of your own talents. The cello played a key role in my family's life and paralleled my own infertility journey... Wrote a short essay about it yesterday if u want to check out my post, "Cello Babies" on errinstevens.com. Incidentally, the Montagnana referenced is worth $21 million. I would never have touched it had I known! #cello #cellobabies #infertility #ivf

Cortg Lovely photo! 2y
Updrifting @Cortg Thank you! 😄 2y
22 likes2 comments
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Lynnsoprano
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The last couple of weeks haven‘t left me much time to read this, or anything else for that matter. So when hubby asked if I wanted to do coffee, bagel, and books this morning, I jumped at the offer. This book is fascinating!

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Lynnsoprano
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Starting this book today over a mug of coffee. Twenty pages in and it‘s already wonderful. Perfect for this music history nerd 🤓

Susanita I gasped when I saw this post! One of the best concerts I ever attended was cellist Zuill Bailey performing the Bach Suites. It was just him and his cello and a chair on stage, and he told stories between playing - like a private recital. He‘s very personable and easy on the eyes as well. 😀🎶 2y
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Lynnsoprano
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I can‘t thank you enough, @hermyknee ! This is just incredible! You must have done some serious stalking, because everything is so perfect 😘 I can‘t wait to read all of these books. And the Cozy Coloring Cookbook is fantastic! I‘m more excited now than before I unwrapped it. Thanks again. #secretsantagoespostal #wintersolsticebookexchange

erzascarletbookgasm Love the book picks 🙂 2y
Cinfhen ❤️ 2y
hermyknee I‘m so glad you love it all!!! It was so much fun shopping for you! 2y
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Lynnsoprano @hermyknee And I have to mention the “teach peace” button. Perfect for this Unitarian 😄 2y
hermyknee Yay! I did do some serious stalking 😂 2y
Gissy I love the mug! 😍 2y
Lynnsoprano @Gissy So do I. I plan to have some cranberry spice hibiscus tea in it tonight. 2y
MrBook Oooh! 😁👏🏻👏🏻👏🏻 2y
99 likes8 comments