Cello Suite No 2 in D minor BWV 1008

Composer: Johann Sebastian Bach (b. 1685 - d. 1750)
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Composer: Johann Sebastian Bach (b. 1685 - d. 1750)

Performance date: 04/07/2017

Venue: St. Brendan’s Church

Composition Year: 1720

Duration: 00:20:29

Recording Engineer: Richard McCullough, RTÉ lyric fm

Instrumentation Category:Solo

Artists: Pieter Wiespelwey - [cello]

mood of this prelude due to the suite’s minor key may be described
despairing, and melancholy. There are several glimpses of light in
the dark tones but these however do not last long. The key, D minor,
is one long associated with works of a somber nature such as the
emotional chaconne from Bach’s Second Violin Partita, or Mozart’s
String Quartet K. 42. The melodic material of the opening Prélude is
melodic and memorable, setting the scene for the rest of the Suite.
The Second Suite Allemande is a movement of great deliberation and
intensity. Forkel wrote that Bach’s melodies were often
strange, and entirely new, hitherto unheard-of turns,
the Second Suite Allemande could well be considered an example of
this melodic strangeness in Bach’s writing. The ‘running’ nature of
the Italian style Courante is most obvious in Second Suite because it
consists almost entirely of sixteenth notes which give the movement a
perpetual sense of forward motion. The Sarabande of the Second Suite
is possibly the most expressive and well-known Sarabande from the
Cello Suites. It has been used as the musical backdrop for numerous
films, usually depicting the most tragic of situations. The music
moves in a predominantly stepwise fashion within a small range
allowing the performer to explore the meaning and emotion of the
music. The first menuet of the Second Suite brings to mind Menuet II
of the First Suite. It is in a minor key and based on a chaconne bass
but unlike the First Suite, makes great use of double and triple
stops. Its partnering dance is a simple delightful piece, proving
that music does not have to be complex in order to be effective. The
Gigue is in a typical Bach French/Italian hybrid style and almost
bipolar in emotion. The first characteristic we meet is of a chipper
and gay disposition which starkly contrasts with the persistent
anguished emotion of the latter half of the piece.