Cello Trio arrangement of Bach’s Cello Suite No. 1 (Complete), by Mike Block

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ABOUT THE ARRANGEMENT

Bach’s Six Suites for solo cello are remarkable compositions in many ways, but one of the most defining characteristics is Bach’s commitment to creating a polyphonic texture on a single instrument. The performer must express multiple voices simultaneously, which we can identify as Bass, Melody, and Middle, for simplicity. Each of these three voices have their own identity, and are constantly responding to each other in a beautiful, invisible dialogue. My goal for this trio arrangement was to extract each of these voices from the whole in order to for them to live out their lives fully, giving us the opportunity to hear their stories and connections that Bach implied in his writing.

The World Premiere of this arrangement was performed by Matt Haimovitz, Ashley Bathgate, and Mike Block on March 7, 2020, at the Troy Savings Bank Music Hall in Troy, NY, in what served as their final performance before the COVID-19 Shutdown. It was revised during the quarantine that followed, with optimistic hope for cellists to one day be able to gather again and share in the fun of playing and hearing this familiar piece in a new way.

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