Take a moment and imagine a solo cello playing a melody. Odds are, the notes that just cascaded through your mind comprise the famous arpeggiated opening of the Prelude of Johann Sebastian Bach’s Suite No. 1 in G major. Believe it or not, due to the technical difficulty of the Suites for Solo Cello, plus a lack of a clear interpretive mandate from Bach that stemmed from missing annotation in the surviving manuscripts, the suites were almost completely unknown until cellist Pablo Casals recorded them in the 1930s.
Now, the Suites are considered some of the most important works in the instrument’s canon, if not the classical canon as a whole, beloved by music snobs and casual listeners alike. It is no surprise, then, that preeminent cellist Yo-Yo Ma holds the Suites near and dear to his heart, saying that they have granted him “sustenance, comfort and joy during times of stress, celebration and loss.” As part of a two-year international initiative, Ma has partnered with ARTS San Antonio to give a special, solo performance of all six of the Suites in a single sitting, lending his virtuosity and subtle musicality to create a unique rendition of Bach’s baroque masterpieces.
Predictably, the concert sold out almost immediately earlier this year, but if you really need a dose of some Bach in your life, ARTS San Antonio has made special arrangements to simulcast the performance at Mission Marquee Plaza (3100 Roosevelt Ave.) for free — just pop on over to their website to make a reservation.
Sold Out, 8pm Fri April 12, Trinity University, Laurie Auditorium, One Trinity Pl., (210) 226-2891, artssa.org.
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