Bach Six Suites . Suite Number 5 Gavotte I and II . Carl Fischer edition
I've compared my score to Mischa Maisky playing the piece. Other than his personal touch of beginning pieces in a quiet, non-offensive manner, de/crescendos and bowing seem to be written properly. I noticed he plays the cord in measure 26 as a triplet and I'll be trying to mimic his style.
I would love to hear any comments or suggestions from people who have played this, such as whether you used Bach's scordatura or stuck to standard tuning and what changes you made, anything !!!
I've played most of these suites on french horn as well as marimba (using the horn music that is transposed down a P5...I think). They are some of my favorite pieces to play because of the huge variety of expression they allow. The interesting thing about these works is that they were not initially intended to be performed pieces, but rather solely as exercises. It wasn't until the early 1900's that they were seen on stage by Pablo Casals, who did the first recording of them in 1925. Since then they have been widely studied and performed by dozens of different instruments for both their technical difficulty and musicality.
I think it is a good idea to listen to as many recordings as you can. My favorite are by Rostropovich, Casals, and Yo Yo Ma. With that said, I do not think it is a useful exercise to mimic their playing. I listen to others to develop different musical ideas from great players, but the final product should be your own. It's these discussions that make these suites so much fun to play! You can change the entire mood of a movement simply by changing the dynamics.
Also, it's more than alright to ignore dynamic markings on your music. Most of them weren't written by Bach, but rather the editor. Have fun!
I am surprised by Dies Irae's assertion that these pieces were for private use only. Like a lot of Bach AFIK there is only the music that tells us what was intended. Since Bach didn't play the cello, he must have written it for someone and for a reason. i.e. other than "I am bored so please write me some music so I can play to myself". There doesn't appear to be any other cello music of a comparable technical demand so it seems unlikely that they were studies to enable aspiring cellists to step up to "real music"
The fact remains that these pieces were primarily used as etudes, and were mainly unknown in any peformance setting until the 1900's. These days they are used as studies for students for several different instruments (because they are extreemly useful excercises) as well as often performed by proffesional musicians (because they are musically rewarding).