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Viola de Hoog plays Bach’s six Cello Suites

The original manuscript for JS Bach’s Six Cello Suites is lost, making it difficult to know exactly when they were written. Four copies were made of score, including one written out by Bach’s wife Anna Magdalena, which dates from between 1727 and 1731. At this time the cello was not a fashionable solo instrument and was often overlooked in favour of the gamba, which boasted a longer tradition and was considered nobler. So Bach’s Six Suites were among the first technically challenging pieces written for solo cello. ‘Dutch period-instrument musician Viola de Hoog has played at the highest level for three decades before undertaking the cellist’s “rite of passage”: recording JS Bach’s six Cello Suites,’ writes George Pratt in his review of this recording in BBC MUSIC Magazine Christmas issue. ‘The prelude of the first suite is unusually spacious, its arpeggiated harmony building up unhurriedly … Fine original instruments and bows, and first-class recording, puts this among the very best of the versions I have accumulated.'

   VIDEO: Bach's magnificent Six Cello Suites (BWV 1007-12) played by renowned Dutch period instrument cellist Viola de Hoog. Viola de Hoog plays an exceptionally fine cello made in 1750 by G B Guadagnini for the first five suites. In the sixth suite, which requires a five-string cello, she plays an equally remarkable five-string instrument made in Bavaria during the later eighteenth century.