I love the cello. I love listening to cello. I love playing cello. I love watching cellists play the cello.

Every cellist has played all or part of the “six suites for unaccompanied cello” by Johann Sebastian Bach (some contend the pieces were actually written by his second wife, Anna Magdalena). They are some of the most famous pieces written for solo cello. They weren’t widely known until a 13 year old Pablo Casals found a copy of them in a thrift shop in Spain in 1889 and began studying them. He was the first to record all six suites from 1936 to 1939.

Since then every cellist who has gained any kind of notoriety has recorded them. And every cello student has played them. Even I have mastered the first three bars of Bourree 1 (from Suite No 3).

Here are two of my all time favourite cellists playing the same piece, Suite No. 3 in C major. If you have time, interest and the inclination, listen to both and note the difference in interpretation. (Unfortunately there isn’t a copy on the internet of Yo-yo Ma’s recording which won him a Grammy in 1985.)

I hope you enjoy these. 😉 Let me know what you think!!!!!!

Yo-yo Ma
(playing for Mr Rodgers and his Neighbourhood)

Mischa Maisky