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Marc Coppey, Suite No.5 en C minor

Sequence published on 12/2/21
Year of composition : 1717
Artistic period : Baroque
Musical category : Suite
Academy : Academy Nov. 1 - Nov. 8, 2021
Master(s) : Marc Coppey
Student : Eliott Leridon
Instrument(s) played :

"It has more character, simply and more rhythmical strength. This is typical of the French overture" Marc Coppey

"The student plays the prelude of the Suite number 5 by Johann Sebastian Bach for solo cello, which in this case includes a fugato. Marc Coppey, the master, listens to the performance attentively, and congratulates the student. Then, he talks about a particularity of this suite, which proposes to tune the first string one tone lower, from A to G. This has consequences on the harmonics of the instrument, and gives it a particular sound. Furthermore, the master says that the minor key is incredibly dark, ""and the fact that the high register is less bright gives it a different color.""
Later, Coppey highlights the fact that it is a French Suite, and one of its characteristics is that it has an overture with a lot of dotted rhythm, as well as a Gavotte, a French Courante. Together they work on the peculiar character of this suite.

"Later, the master says that in this overture there is a Fugato (it does not become a Fugue), so he suggests to the student several things to express more the variety of voices, taking into account that there is a lot of polyphony.
Throughout the class, they work hard on the ways of generating and releasing the harmonic tension, modulations and color changes. “This is a space where you have to be sensitive to the color of the chord,"" said Coppey. They also go over the importance of breathing. It is, without a doubt, an unmissable class on one of the most important pieces in the solo cello repertoire.

What we learn in this Violoncelle Master class

-Scordattura: the first string, A, goes down to a G
-C minor key is incredibly dark
-One characteristic of the French suite is that it usually has an overture
-There is a Fugato, more than a Fuge
-There is a lot of polyphony
-Importance of working with the harmonic tension
-The idea of the dotted rhythm where the short note belongs to the next one
-Importance of taking into consideration the motive and the harmony, because the pulse itself is not enough
-The importance of breathing
-Never forget the theme, the subject of the fugue

"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 these pieces 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. 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 Suite No. 5 in C minor begins with a Prélude reminiscent of a French Overture: a slow, deeply melancholic opening section with dotted rhythms is followed by quickly moving music with subtle shifts of register, implying the intertwining of fugal voices. The ensuing movements use the forms and styles of the traditional dances, and their expressive state is not one of diversion, but one of sadness in the slow movements (Allemande, Sarabande), and firm determination in the fast ones (Courante, Gavottes, Gigue).
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