German-American cellist Peter Schmidt plays the Cello Suite No.1 in G major, BWV 1007, by Johann Sebastian Bach. Recorded in July 2016 in Granera (Barcelona).
It is thought that Bach wrote his six suites for unaccompanied cello between 1717 and 1723, while he was in the employ of Prince Leopold of Anhalt-Cöthen and had two superb solo cellists, Bernard Christian Linigke and Christian Ferdinand Abel, at his disposal. However, the earliest copy of the suites dates from 1726, and no autographs survive. Thus a chronological order is difficult to prove, though one guesses that these suites were composed in numerical order from the way that they gradually evolve and deepen, both technically and musically.
A Baroque suite is typically a collection of dance movements, usually in binary form with each half repeated. Common elements of the suite were the Allemande (German dance), a moderately slow duple-meter dance; the Courante, a faster dance in triple meter; the Sarabande, a Spanish-derived dance in a slow triple meter with emphasis on the second beat; and a Gigue (Jig), which is rapid, jaunty, and energetic. Bach took these typical dance forms and abstracted them, and then added a free-form, almost improvisatory Prelude which sets the tone for each suite, and a galanterie, an additional dance interposed between Sarabande and Gigue. (In the first two suites, Bach uses a pair of Minuets.) With these dances, Bach experimented and created the first, and arguably still the finest, solo works for a relatively new instrument.
The first suite, in G major, gives the feel of innocent simplicity, and serves as a marvelous opening to these extraordinary works. The Prelude recalls the C major Prelude which opens Book One of the Well-Tempered Clavier. Each piece sets a remarkable atmosphere with no melodies, only strong rhythmic patterns, cunningly evolving harmonies, and evocative textures. Bach uses short, arpeggiated phrases to build larger-scale crescendos and decrescendos, and these phrases in turn aggregate into still larger structures, evoking an endlessly more complicated fractal pattern. This quality would become a characteristic of Bach's cello writing, along with a distinctive rhythmic quality far removed from the character of the original dances. Bach's suiite may have been inspired by viol writing in France and cello writing in Italy, but there was nothing like it before the first suite, and little like it after, except for the five suites that followed.
Source: James Liu (allmusic.com)
Johann Sebastian Bach (1685-1750)
♪ Cello Suite No.1 in G major, BWV 1007 (1717-1723)
i. Prélude [00:00]*
ii. Allemande [2:41]
iii. Courante [7:27]
iv. Sarabande [10:18]
v. Menuet I & II [14:08]
vi. Gigue [17:22]
Peter Schmidt, cello
Granera (Barcelona), July 2016
* Start time of each track
|Photo by Jordi Farrús|
At the age of five he began his musical studies, first with piano lessons and three years later with cello lessons. At the age of 16 he was accepted into the class of Markus Wagner in the Musikhochschule Nürnberg-Augsburg. In 2007 he finished his studies at the Musikhochschule Munich with Wen-Sinn Yang and in 2010 received a chamber music degree with special honors from the Musikhochschule Detmold, where he studied with members of the Auryn Quartet. In 2012 he was awarded a prestigious Konzertexamen degree with special honors from the Robert-Schumann-Hochschule in Düsseldorf, where he studied with Gregor Horsch, principal cellist of the Concertgebouw Orchestra Amsterdam. He has taken part in master classes with Claude Starck, Wolfgang Boettcher, Gustav Rivinius, Jens-Peter Maintz, Frans Helmersson, Eberhard Feltz, Menahem Pressler, Andras Schiff, Arnold Steinhardt and Ana Chumachenco among others.
Peter Schmidt combines his activities as a performer with those as a teacher. He was assistant teacher at the Master Classes for Chamber Music, Violin, Viola and Cello in Groznjan, Croatia in 2009. Since 2010 he has been invited on several occasions by the Universidad de Ciencias y Artes de Chiapas, Mexico to give master classes and concerts; in 2012 he conducted a master class for cello and chamber music at the Conservatori del Liceu in Barcelona, in 2013 he gave classes at the Robert-Schumann-Hochschule Düsseldorf, substituting for his former teacher Gregor Horsch and in 2014 he was invited to give master classes at the Universidad Nacional de Colombia in Bogotá.
Johann Sebastian Bach: Chaconne from Partita for Solo Violin No.2, BWV 1004, arr. fof cello – Peter Schmidt
Johann Sebastian Bach: Cello Suite No.4 in E flat major, BWV 1010 – Peter Schmidt
Johann Sebastian Bach: Cello Suite No.3 in C major, BWV 1009 – Peter Schmidt
Johann Sebastian Bach: Cello Suite No.2 in D minor, BWV 1008 – Peter Schmidt
Johann Sebastian Bach: 6 Suites for Cello Solo, BWV 1007-1012 – István Várdai (Audio video)