Yo-Yo Ma on playing Bach’s cello suites

From the Guardian:

“Bach decides he’s going to enrich the sound of the instrument by tuning it down, taking the A string down to a G,” explains cellist Yo-Yo Ma. “He’s saying, ‘If I do that, I can get more overtone, I can make the chords richer, make it more polyphonic.’ He’s trying to make a single-line instrument give the illusion of several voices.”

Does that make it more difficult to play? He sighs. “Gosh, yes. It makes it more impossible.”

Bach: Capriccio on the Departure of His Most Beloved Brother

Very good performance of a very obscure Bach work by Sergey Schepkin in the latest episode of WGBH’s Classical Performance podcast. It’s the only significant example of programme music I know of in Bach’s catalogue. The podcast has an excellent interview with Schepkin talking through the structure of the piece too.