My Classical Notes: OVERTURES to Bach

August 23, 2016

Performing artists are continuing to explore new ways to present their music. We have seen works by a contemporary composer joined with compositions from the 1700’s. We have seen works by Schoenberg presented along with music by Brahms.

Now there is a new recording called “Overtures to Bach”. These are compositions that anticipate and interlude each of the Bach Cello Suites.


1. Overture
2. Cello Suite No. 1 in G Major, BWV 1007: I. Prélude
3. The Veronica
4. Cello Suite No. 2 in D Minor, BWV 1008: I. Prélude
5. Run
6. Cello Suite No. 3 in C Major, BWV 1009: I. Prélude
7. La memoria
8. Cello Suite No. 4 in E-Flat Major, BWV 1010: I. Prélude
9. Es War
10. Cello Suite No. 5 in C Minor, BWV 1011: I. Prélude
11. Lili’uokalani
12. Cello Suite No. 6 in D Major, BWV 1012: I. Prélude

Performed by Matt Haimovitz (cello & cello piccolo)

Matt Haimovitz’s continuously-evolving and intense engagement with the Bach Cello Suites reaches new hights with ‘Overtures to Bach’, six new commissions that anticipate and reflect each of the cello suites.

The new overtures expand upon the multitude of spiritual, cross-cultural, and vernacular references found in the Bach, building a bridge from the master’s time to our own.

The new album, Overtures to Bach, pairs each new work with the Prélude from the suite it introduces, with Haimovitz performing on cello and cello piccolo.

Composer Philip Glass simply and eloquently prepares the audience for the first Suite with his Overture, encouraging an open and calm frame of mind.

For the second suite, Du Yun creates a heartbreaking quilt of cries in The Veronica, mingling a Russian Orthodox prayer for the dead, Serbian chant, and central European gypsy fiddle music.

Vijay Iyer’s Run responds to Bach’s third suite with infectious energy and kinesthetic rhythms that celebrate the natural resonance of the instrument as well as the composer’s jazz roots.

Then, Roberto Sierra’s La memoria plays on our memory of Bach’s Suite IV, seamlessly referencing motivic fragments and creating a kaleidoscopic mirage with the exotic flavors of Caribbean bass lines and salsa rhythms.

David Sanford’s Es War, a response to the fifth suite, opens with a tour de force of pizzicato, then wrestles with Bach’s epic fugue with a saxophone’s wails.

For the sixth and final suite, Luna Pearl Woolf is inspired by pre-Western Hawaiian chant, taking full advantage of the virtuosic properties of the cello piccolo and treating it operatically, from the low bass to the soprano stratosphere.

Here is Matt Haimovitz playing the music of Bach:

By: Hank Zauderer

Read at: My Classical Notes

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