In this episode, Simon sits down with cellist Dr. Jacques Lee Wood to discuss J. S. Bach’s Cello Suites. This is a fascinating discussion focusing on the importance of quality of voice, dynamics, Baroque style versus a flatter modern style of playing, and much, much more.
J. S. Bach’s Six Suites for Unaccompanied Cello were likely written around the same time he wrote his sonatas and partitas for the unaccompanied violin. However, no manuscript exists in Bach’s own hand so many details about the suites come from various manuscripts, including one important manuscript by his wife, Anna Magdalena. In this episode Jacques walks through passages from several of the suites, especially Suite no. 1 (in G Major) and Suite no. 3 (in C Major).
As a bonus for listeners is a superb recording of Simon’s arrangement of “L’Heure Exquisse” by Reynaldo Hahn for guitar and cello, performed by Simon and Jacques. This is a touching piece that has profound personal meaning for Simon and one I think you’ll all enjoy.
Dr. Jacques Lee Wood (DMA, Yale University) is an in-demand teacher and performer located in Boston, Massachusetts in the United States. Jacques performs in many chamber groups, including Antico Modern, a period chamber ensemble that commissions new works for period instruments, and StringLab, a duo with Simon Powis, and is a guest artist in many music festivals and venues all over the world. He is also a principal player with the Grammy-nominated Trinity Baroque Orchestra, Bachsolisten Seoul, the American Baroque Orchestra. You’ll also hear Jacques playing with the NYC-based modern bluegrass group Cathedral Parkway, playing mandolin, cello, and banjo (of which Simon is also a founding member).