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Jens Peter Maintz, Bach, Suite nr. 2

Sequence published on 4/13/21
Composer : Johann Sebastian Bach
Year of composition : 1723
Artistic period : Baroque
Musical category : Suite
Academy : Academy Apr. 11 - Apr. 18, 2021
Master(s) : Jens Peter Maintz
Student : Lukas Plag
Date of recording : 10/22/21
Instrument(s) played :

"Try to make maximum use of what is already there from Bach as far as improvisational freedom is concerned and to check some of the added ornaments rather somewhat for their effectiveness." Jens Peter Maintz

About the Cello class of Jens Peter Maintz on the Prelude, Suite n°2

Master class Violoncelle, Jens Peter Maintz | Bach, Prelude

It is a very practical class, in which the master and the student work on a masterpiece - Bach´s Suite no. 2 for solo cello, in this case, particularly on the Prelude. 

In the beginning, the master makes a very particular appreciation: “the body language, in general, has to fit the music”. In this sense, what he proposes is “rather let it happen than be so active from the start”. The master suggests to "show the structure of the music more clearly, to make the voice leading clear", and thus achieve a simpler body language and an easy understanding of the musical discourse.
Then, they discuss different editions (which is a very common theme when it comes to Bach, particularly suites), and the master ends up suggesting to use (at least to see) the Breitkopf edition, instead of the Anna Magdalena edition that is the one used by the student, since he considers that “there's a mistake in thinking her strokes are authentic”. He also encourages the student to do a little more research on different editions, in order to decide on different bowings and fingerings. From there on, they work intensively on dynamics, the connections between sentences, fingerings, rubato, vibrato, repetitions, etc. 

What we learn in this Cello Master class

- The body language has to fit the music
- The structure of the music must be clear
- This Prelude may not be very slow
- There is not only one correct fingering or one correct articulation
- As a cellist, one must study the violin sonatas in-depth and very carefully
- Rubato is beautiful, actually tasteful, but it is sometimes not quite convincing in the hierarchy
- The bass tones are important 
- What happens in between sequences shouldn't be too big
- The importance of letting be guided more by the bass
- There are different ways to interpret the diminished chords
- Practically never mechanical, but always unpredictable 

About Johann Sebastian Bach's work

Johann Sebastian Bach, Suite Nro. 2, Prelude J.S. Bach, Suite 3 (Courante/Sarabande) The six Cello Suites are some of the most frequently performed and recognizable solo compositions ever written for cello. Bach most likely composed them during the period 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 Bach. So many dynamics, slurs, and bows, for example, are decisions of the interpreter. Currently, there are dozens of editions made by different professional cellists.
The second suite is written in D minor. It constitutes an exceptionally dark and serious take on the dance culture of the French court, from which the religious and dramatic impulses of Lutheran Germany cannot be excluded as inspirational prompts in its creation. The Prelude is homogenous in its texture of running 16th notes, from which a recurring habit of pausing on the second beat of the bar stands out as a distinctly sarabande-like feature. Its opening arpeggio spelling out the D minor triad sets out a pattern of similar arpeggiated approaches to this second- beat pause that will pervade the movement as a whole, building tension in waves of melodic and harmonic sequences that seek ever higher ground.
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