Masterclass: Bach Cello Suite no.5, Prélude, by Jean-Guihen Queyras

queyras by francois sechet

Practical tips to help you master the challenges of this most fundamental of repertoire

The Prélude of this suite is in the form of a French overture, a Baroque form consisting of two contrasting sections – Grave and Allegro. You have to think of a vain French king – someone who likes to make big gestures with his arms. The Grave is usually played too slowly, but it should have a lot of energy. The beat is two, not four, so feel the minims as the pulse when thinking of your phrasing, with a metronome mark of around 32.

 

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