Suite No. 3, Courante and Sarabande
In this masterclass, Jens Peter Maintz works with his student Stanislas Kim on a wide range of material in order to help Kim fine-tune his performance. Among a few topics they explore include bow distribution, fingering in the Sarabande, articulation, and controlling the resonance. In addition, they examine embellishments and ornaments in the suite, including ornaments that are "uniquely Bach."
The professor advises his student to practice very slowly in order to experiment and reflect upon what he really desires to express through his playing. Performing music with this intention also allows listeners to follow the musician through the narrative of the piece.
Adjusting our posture.
Accurately playing the ornaments and embellishments.
The exquisite suites of Johann Sebastian Bach were composed between 1717 and 1723 while he was a kapellmeister in Köthen. Now greatly beloved and incredibly influential in the classical music genre, the suites were once relatively and tragically unknown until they resurfaced at least 200 years after Bach’s passing.
According to many professional cellists, there are no works that compare to Bach’s Cello Suites – now celebrated for being so wonderfully expressive vastly assorted, and instinctive to the cello itself. Suite No. 3 is presumably the richest piece among the set when it comes to the vibrations and the movements of the sound. Moreover, it is particularly challenging because it requires the bowing of multiple strings at once in order to produce the right sound. The length of this Suite is 20 minutes, starting with the Prelude, then elegantly shifting to the Allemande and Courante sections. The heart of the piece lies in the Sarabande, a baroque dance with a varied harmonic rhythm. The suite transitions to the second half, beginning smoothly with the two Bourrées and an energetic Gigue.
Originally composed for an unaccompanied cello, piano accompaniments were composed by German composer Robert Schumann.
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 Jen Peter Maintz’s feedback and comments.
1994 he won first prize at the ARD International Music Competition in Munich.
Jens Peter Maintz enjoys an outstanding reputation as a versatile soloist, highly sought-after chamber musician, and committed cello teacher.
Originally from Hamburg, Germany, he studied with David Geringas and took part in masterclasses with other great cellists such as Heinrich Schiff, Boris Pergamenschikow, Frans Helmerson, and Siegfried Palm. He was further influenced by his intensive chamber music study with Uwe-Martin Haiberg and Walter Levin. In 1994, he won first prize in the ARD International Music Competition, which was the first time to be awarded to a cellist in 17 years.
He gathered several years of valuable orchestral experience as Principal Cello of the Deutsche Symphonie-Orchester in Berlin, and travelled the world as a member of the renowned Trio Fontenay. Since 2006, Jens Peter Maintz has been principal cello of the Lucerne Festival Orchestra, on the invitation of Claudio Abbado. His solo career has brought him into contact with conductors such as Vladimir Ashkenazy, Herbert Blomstedt, Marek Janowski, Dmitry Kitajenko, and more. He has appeared as a soloist with the Berlin Radio Symphony Orchestra, Leipzig MDR Symphony Orchestra, Stuttgart Radio Symphony Orchestra, Den Haag Residenzorchester and Tokyo Symphony Orchestra. Maintz’s Sony Classical CD of solo works by Bach, Dutilleux, and Kodaly won the ECHO-Klassik award. Additionally, his highly acclaimed recording of Haydn’s cello concertos with the Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie Bremen was released on the Berlin Classics label.
Since 2004, he has been professor at the Berlin University of the Arts, where he teaches a highly popular and successful cello class. Many of his students are prizewinners in important international competitions, and some hold leading positions in major orchestras.
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.