Transcription of Bach's Cello Suites for violin solo!
In view of the flood of new publications appearing every year, every author must ask himself if the world really requires yet another new edition. However I am convinced that this particular volume meets a real need.
Unlike the piano, the violin repertoire lacks music for pupils and beginners written by the great composers. I have already attempted to remedy this in my five volumes of Violin Method published in 2011.
The violin transcriptions of Bach’s Cello Suites are in many ways an ideal basis of study for violinists of every level.
The musical value of these works is indisputable; they belong to the deepest and most intimate compositions of all time.
Here are the most important benefits of these violin versions:
Young and also older beginners can discover Bach’s music and explore violin technique on their own.
The rich harmonic progressions of these pieces help to improve the player’s musical ear. On courses and at competitions I often meet young players who cannot recognise or play a diminished seventh chord. Studying these Bach masterpieces will help develop a greater sense of harmony.
I have avoided complicated fingerings, and kept them natural and logical, which corresponds to historical performance practice. In this way players will enjoy playing these works right from the start.
As in my Violin Method, I clearly indicate whether an open string or the fourth finger is to be used.
Great care has been taken to balance the bowings so that the player never runs out of bow, even when playing longer phrases.
Some movements are ideally suited to a student’s first solo performances. Often a piano or second violin is available to accompany.
The easy and logical fingerings make it easy for the player to browse through the volume, sight-reading here and there, discovering pieces that appeal to him specially. This should prove a great motivation.
In many movements only a rudimentary acquaintance with the third position is required to perform them.
Violinists can also be tempted to have a go at the viola without having to learn the clef! As there is no accompaniment, they can play it as if on the violin, and the fact that it sounds a fifth lower does not matter. A separate viola edition is in preparation.
A legitimate question would be – why not just play Bach’s original solo violin works? The answer is simple – these are technically much more difficult, in particular because of the frequent double-stopping, and almost impossible hard for beginners to perform satisfactorily.
For those purists who object to any arrangements of the great masters: I think it is infinitely preferable for youngsters to get their teeth into really great music, even in an arrangement, rather than practise the lightweight and superficial compositions of many lesser composers who have tried to write deliberately easy violin pieces.
Bach wrote no dynamics in these works. Everyone should create their own personal interpretation. Pay no attention to the fashion for ‘terraced’ dynamics, which is still prevalent in teaching circles. I believe that Bach used crescendo and diminuendo effects just as much as later composers!