Cellist Selma Gokcen, in collaboration with distinguished American harpsichordist and Bach scholar Kenneth Cooper, has created in Bach Revealed a three-volume study of all six Cello Suites which features two-part playing editions for the first time. These versions are designed to assist professional cellists, students and teachers in their study of these Suites.
This edition consists of musical reductions, mostly in two voices, which make explicit Bach’s complex harmonies by setting out their structure, without losing any of the originals' spirit and beauty. The reductions allow players to explore the layers of musical texture and reveal Bach’s counterpoint, chordal elaboration and ornamentation of the melodic line. They provide the implied bass line, the essential melodic line, opportunities for ornamentation and the essential rhythmic character of the dance movements.
Bach Revealed is also available in a separate edition for viola, and will be equally useful for musicians who play the Cello Suites on other instruments, including double bass, guitar, saxophone and marimba. It is relevant to Baroque specialists and modern instrument players alike, teachers and students wishing to deepen their understanding of Bach’s musical language.
Comments on Bach Revealed
'A detailed insight into the structure and ornamental possibilities of the Six Bach Suites for Cello, and a testament to the greatness and creative potential that these Suites represent. The imaginative way that the authors have revealed the layers and voices of Bach’s musical language makes examination of their material accessible and instructive for cellists at any stage of their development. I applaud the work that went into producing such a volume and endorse the results with admiration and enthusiasm.' Ralph Kirshbaum, Piatigorsky Professor of Cello, University of Southern California
'It has simplified a complex problem for most cellists, where so many editions have surfaced and make the study of the Bach Suites a puzzle rather than a musical adventure.' Bernard Greenhouse, Beaux Arts Trio
'Selma Gokcen and Kenneth Cooper provide us a tremendous service by giving us a guided tour and visceral sampling of the “essence” of these pieces. This grounding experience can naturally lead us to more effortlessly insightful and gratifying interpretations.' From Timothy Eddy, Professor of Cello, The Juilliard School, New York
'I've used Bach Revealed with my students. This edition opens ears and creates deep interest for this incredible opus which keeps us cellists busy for a lifetime.'
Thomas Demenga, Professor of Cello, Musikhochschule, Basel, Switzerland
'Bach Revealed is a most excellent, interesting and imaginative approach to an experiential analysis of Bach’s Cello Suites ... a unique departure from the usual editions. The work represents a real contribution to the study and realization of these works through musical understanding and performance.'
Bonnie Hampton, formerly Professor of Cello at The Juilliard School, now San Francisco Conservatory of Music
Selma Gokcen and Kenneth Cooper’s work provides students and teachers with an important tool that can help explore and understand the deep structures of the music by providing a bass line and by simplifying the melodic line. I have used her Player’s Guide for myself and with my students [who] have been excited by the discoveries that they have made as a result of using it. I recommend it highly as part of any cellist’s journey of exploration into the mysteries and possibilities contained in the Suites.' Bob Jesselson, Carolina Distinguished Professor, University of South Carolina; Ex-President, American String Teachers Association
To buy Bach Revealed, click here.
Bach Revealed: A Player’s Guide to the Bach Cello Suites is a first of its kind, assisting professional cellists, students and teachers to study the solo Suites through simple clear two-part reductions. Confronted by primarily a single line of music, cellists are told that Bach’s polyphony is woven into the music. Where? How? What is the musical structure? Where do the various voices enter and depart? How are the harmonies sustained and resolved?
This edition offers insight into these pieces from the inside out — revealing the fundamental structure of Bach’s language which inform successful performance.
These enjoyable two-part reductions reveal:
- the implied bass line
- the essential melodic line
- the essential rhythmic character of each movement
- opportunities to ornament and elaborate the melodic line beyond Bach's written text, thereby stimulating the players’ creativity.
How will Bach Revealed benefit Your Playing?
- Questions about performance practice - appropriate tempi, character, articulation, and voicing - can be explored when the underlying structure is understood. By clarifying what is structural versus what is ornamental, players can make decisions about their interpretations based upon a knowledge of Bach’s harmonic language.
- Bach Revealed is an indispensable teaching tool, allowing student and teacher – or groups of students – to explore the movements together and to hear their implied counterpoint.
How to use Bach Revealed?
- By a cellist alone, either playing the bass line at the keyboard and singing the melody line or playing both parts at the keyboard.
- Two or more cellists can divide up the two lines, offering the possibility of using other instruments.
- Teacher and pupil can alternate bass and melody lines.
- Both lines are playable against Bach’s original text, illustrating how Bach establishes and embellishes his harmony.
- For intermediate and advanced players, the simple structure allows them to explore the art of ornamentation.