Cello Suite No.6 in D major, BWV 1012, Prelude, Part 1
Cello Suite No.6 in D major, BWV 1012, Prelude, Part 1
Johann Sebastian Bach
In this masterclass, Professor Clive Greensmith discusses phrasing, character, and contrast with his student in the Prelude of Bach’s Sixth Cello Suite.
Produced by the Saline royale Academy
In this masterclass, Professor Clive Greensmith discusses phrasing, character, and contrast in the Prelude of Bach’s Sixth Cello Suite. He works with the student to capture the light, open quality of D major. This is achieved through lightening much of the articulation and being strategic with bowing choices. Professor Greensmith also encourages the student to incorporate more contrast, both in dynamics as well as in phrasing choices. He helps the student determine where the arrival points are and which notes are the most important to bring out, allowing the rest of the music to be more relaxed and flow better. He suggests that the student highlight the frequent changes in harmony by changing the character of the music or color in the sound. Throughout the class, Professor Greensmith also offers advice on technical efficiency and how to better anticipate difficult shifts.
Capturing the lightness and openness of the key through bowing, sound, and articulation.
Creating more dynamic contrast.
Shaping the phrases and understanding where the major arrival points are.
Anticipating upcoming bow or position changes.
Knowing which notes are most important to emphasize.
Bringing out the colors and characters of the different harmonies.
The six Cello Suites are some of the most frequently performed and recognizable solo compositions ever written for cello. Johann Sebastian Bach most likely composed them during the period between 1717–23, when he served as Kapellmeister in Köthen. A peculiarity of the Suites is that the manuscripts have few annotations, and many of those are not even awarded to Johann Sebastian Bach himself. Therefore, many dynamics, slurs, and bows, for example, are left up to the interpreter. Currently, there are dozens of editions made by different professional cellists, in which each one of them offers different possibilities to inter-prepare them (taking into account bows and dynamics).
Aim for excellence! You can improve your skills with expert advice. Download the annotated sheet music of this cello masterclass. Please note that this piece has been annotated in accordance to Clive Greensmith’s feedback and comments.
Professor of cello and Chamber Music at the Colburn school in Los Angeles.
From 1999 until its final season in 2013, Clive Greensmith was a member of the world-renowned Tokyo String Quartet, giving over one hundred performances each year in the most prestigious international venues, including New York’s Carnegie Hall, Sydney Opera House, London’s South Bank, Paris Chatelet, Berlin Philharmonie, Vienna Musikverein, and Suntory Hall in Tokyo. He has collaborated with international artists such as Andras Schiff, Pinchas Zukerman, Leon Fleisher, Lynn Harrell, Dmitry Sitkovetsky, Alicia de Larrocha, and Emanuel Ax.
Mr. Greensmith has given guest performances at prominent festivals worldwide. In North America he has performed at the Aspen Music Festival, Marlboro Music Festival, [email protected], La Jolla SummerFest, Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival, Cleveland Chamber Fest, and the Ravinia Festival. He is a regular guest of the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center and will undertake a national tour with Paul Huang, Wu Han, and Matthew Lipman in 2020. Internationally he has appeared at the Salzburg Festival in Austria, Edinburgh Festival in Scotland, Pacific Music Festival in Japan and the Hong Kong Arts Festival. As a soloist, Clive Greensmith has performed with the London Symphony Orchestra, Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, Seoul Philharmonic, and the RAI Orchestra of Rome among others.
Deeply committed to the mentoring and development of young musicians, Clive has enjoyed a long and distinguished teaching career. In addition to his fifteen-year residency with the Tokyo String Quartet at Yale University, Mr. Greensmith has served as a faculty member at the Yehudi Menuhin School and Royal Northern College of Music in England, the San Francisco Conservatory of Music and the Manhattan School of Music. In 2013, following the final concerts of the Tokyo String Quartet, Mr. Greensmith joined the faculty at the Colburn School, where he teaches cello and coaches chamber music for the Conservatory of Music and the Music Academy. Students of Mr. Greensmith have gone on to secure major positions in orchestras throughout the world and have won a number of prestigious awards.
Johann Sebastian Bach is undoubtedly one of the most important figures in music history. His incredible creative power, technical mastery, and intellect have made a lasting impression not only on classical music but also on many different modern music genres we know today.
Born in 1685 in Eisenach, Germany, Bach was a member of a very well-known family of musicians. At 18-years-old, he began working in Arnstadt where he accompanied hymns at church. His professional career as a musician would follow in Weimar, where he resided from 1708 to 1717. Here, Bach would deepen his theoretical study of composition and write most of his organ works. Moreover, he composed preludes and fugues that would be part of his collection The Well-Tempered Clavier. After building a considerable reputation in Weimar, Bach moved to Köthen to take a new role as Chapel Master. Writing less religious songs and putting more of a focus on chamber music, his compositions from this time would bring Baroque instrumental music to its pinnacle.
From 1723 until his death in 1750, Bach worked in Leipzig. First, as Thomaskantor at the Thomasschule and later as a private tutor and director of the Collegium Musicum. During this time, Bach worked on creating a repertoire of cantatas for church and revised many of his previous compositions. From 1726 onward, his keyboard works were published. His death in 1750 came to mark the end of the Baroque period and the beginning of Classicism. For many years after his passing, Johann Sebastian Bach’s works were buried with him until they resurfaced many years later and celebrated for their musical ingenuity.