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J.S. Bach: Six Cello Suites for Clarinet

Transcribed and Edited by Larry Clark

By Johann Sebastian Bach

Chamber Clarinet
Transcribed and Edited by Larry Clark. Composed by Johann Sebastian Bach (1685-1750). Edited by Larry Clark. SWS. Back To School. Score. With Standard notation. 48 pages. Carl Fischer Music #WF161. Published by Carl Fischer Music (CF.WF161).

Item Number: CF.WF161

ISBN 9780825896774. 9 x 12 inches. Transcribed by Larry Clark.

The Six Suites for Unaccompanied Cello are some of the frequently performed and recognizable solo compositions ever written. This pieces have been meticulously transcribed for the clarinet, keeping the integrity of the original Bach compositions while making them more idiomatic. These pieces hold up in any setting and are now available to a whole new group of instrumentalist to enjoy with this wonderfully edited collection. A must have for any serious teacher or student of the clarinet.
Bach have become some of the most popular and most frequently performed pieces for any instrument. Because of the quality of these works, they have been transcribed for numerous instruments, including this new edition specifically for the clarinet. Much about the origins of the suites is unknown, as an original manuscript in Bach's own hand does not exist. The first record of the suites is from a manuscript in the hand of Bach's second wife Anna Magdalena. There are two other manuscripts of the suites that have survived from Bach's time, one by J.P. Kellner, and J.J.H. Westphal, both of whom were music collectors at the time. The difficulty with coming up with any kind of definitive collection of these pieces is that all three of the manuscripts seem to contain errors making it difficult to know exactly what were Bach's intentions. The suites are enormously popular today, but were not all that popular in Bach's time. It really wasn't until the famous cellist Pablo Casals discovered these pieces as a child and then later in 1936 recorded the suites did their popularity soar. There has always been controversy regarding the performance interpretation of these works, since much of Casals' interpretation is with a more romanticized flare. For every cellist that has played the suites, there are differing ways to perform these beloved works. To date there are over 80 editions of the suites just for the cello. As a trombonist in college the suites were brought to my attention by my teacher. I studied these pieces out of an existing edition for cello. In this new edition specifically for the clarinet, I have worked to keep the integrity of the original suites intact as much as possible, but to also add phrase marking and articulations that help make the pieces more idiomatic for the instrument. To begin, I went back to the original Anna Magdalena manuscript as the foundation. From there I added or changed phrase markings that would help a clarinet player to play these suites more like how they would sound on the cello. Anytime you decide to take on a project like this, your own opinion and performance sensibilites come in to play. I suggest that when you work on these wonderful pieces that you alter the markings to fit your sensibilities, just how Casals did or any other person that has ever played these works. I have left off any dynamic choices as those are up for debate as well and each person that studies these works should make their own musical decisions based on their own discovery, research and musical sensibilities. As part of the editing of the suites I had to alter the octave of some notes to fit the range of the instrument. In most cases I tried to do this in as musical a way as possible. Also, note that I left a lot of the double or triple stops from the original cello suites intact, as they help the performer to better understand the implied harmonies of the pieces, and I think that many of them can be performed in an arppeggiated fashion on the clarinet to bring about a more complete performance. Please note that if the lowest of the double or triple stops was out of the range of the clarinet, I placed it an octave higher with parentheses around it. This will help you to know where I made these adjustments so that during analysis of the suites you can determine the inversions of certain harmonies. If the double stops were merely octaves, I simply eliminated the lowest octave that was out of the instrument range. It is sincerely my hope that this new edition will help to bring these incredibly rich pieces to many more instrumentalists who otherwise would not get the chance to play them without this book. I hope you enjoy Bach's works as much as I have enjoyed preparing this edition.

  • Ratings + Reviews

  • 4

    Colunbia, MO
    Difficulty Level:
  • March 23, 2020 Good deal

    This is just what I wanted for trying to play with my clarinet. Far better than typical student exercises. At least it sounds like something real if I can play it.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful.
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