Decoding the music masterpieces: Bach’s Six Solo Cello Suites

Zoltan Szabo, University of Sydney

Johann Sebastian Bach’s Six Solo Cello Suites are some of the most iconic classical music works. They have inspired not only cellists and audiences but other artforms as well, and they have been featured in ballet and theatre productions, even in films.

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Bach – Matthäus Passion: Erbarme dich (Guillon)

Accompanied by the Choir and Orchestra of Collegium Vocale Ghent, the French countertenor Damien Guillon sings “Erbarme dich, mein Gott” (English: Have mercy, my God), an aria for contralto, solo violin, strings (originally 2 violins and 1 viola) and basso continuo, from the sacred oratorio “Matthäus-Passion” (English: St Matthew Passion), BWV 244 written by Johann Sebastian Bach in 1727. Solo violin: Sophie Gent, the Australian violinist. Musical director: Philippe Herreweghe.

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Chopin: Piano Concerto No.1 (Argerich)

Accompanied by the NHK Symphony Orchestra (a Japanese broadcast orchestra based in Tokyo), Argentine classical concert pianist Martha Argerich performs Frédéric Chopin’s Piano Concerto No. 1 in E minor, Op. 11. Conductor: Charles Édouard Dutoit. Recorded on November 21, 1996.

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Delibes: Flower Duet, Devieilhe & Crebassa

Accompanied by the period-instrument orchestra Les Siècles under its founder, François-Xavier Roth, French operatic soprano Sabine Devieilhe and French mezzo-soprano Marianne Crebassa perform “The Flower Duet” (French: Duo des fleurs / Sous le dôme épais), a famous duet for sopranos from Léo Delibes’ in three acts, Lakmé.

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Brahms: Violin Concerto (Kavakos)

Accompanied by the Danish National Symphony Orchestra (DRSO), Greek violinist and conductor Leonidas Kavakos performs Johannes Brahms’ Violin Concerto in D major, Op. 77, a piece composed in 1878 and dedicated to the composer’s friend, the Hungarian violinist Joseph Joachim (8 June 1831 – 15 August 1907). Conductor: Fabio Luisi. Recorded in 2017.

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Piazzolla: “Primavera Porteña” (Guitar & Arrangement: Marco Salcito)

Italian classical guitarist Marco Salcito plays “Primavera Porteña” from the Cuatro Estaciones Porteñas, also known as the Estaciones Porteñas or The Four Seasons of Buenos Aires, a set of four tango compositions by the Argentine tango composer, bandoneon player, and arranger Astor Piazzolla. (Buenos Aires Spring). Arrangement: Marco Salcito.

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Tchaikovsky – Piano Concerto No. 1- Anna Fedorova – Live Concert HD

Accompanied by the Nordwestdeutsche Philharmonie (North West German Philharmonic), Ukrainian concert pianist Anna Fedorova performs Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky’s Piano Concerto No. 1, Op. 23. Conductor: Yves Abel. A High-Definition recording of a live concert in The Royal Concertgebouw Amsterdam, which is part of the NPO Radio 4-series The Sunday Morning Concert. Published by the AVROTROS Klassiek channel.

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Bach – Harpsichord Concerto No. 5 in F minor, BWV 1056. Adele Daunoraviciute, harpsichord

Accompanied by Kaunas Vytautas Magnus University Chamber Orchestra, Lithuanian pianist Adele Daunoraviciute performs Johann Sebastian Bach’s Harpsichord Concerto No. 5 in F minor, BWV 1056. Conductor: Robertas Bliskevicius.

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Janine Jansen plays Ralph Vaughan Williams’ “The Lark Ascending”

Accompanied by the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, Janine Jansen plays the popular Ralph Vaughn Williams masterpiece “The Lark Ascending”. From the BBC Proms 2003, Royal Albert Hall.

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