These Suites originally written for Ã¢â‚¬Ëœcello, are known and loved by musicians throughout the world. As flute players, our repertoire is deprived of the depth and scope that keyboard and string players have always enjoyed. By transcribing the first two of the original six suites, I hope to give flutists the chance to also enjoy some of the most beautiful, complex and challenging music ever written.
The Suites are written in polyphonic or multi-voiced style, showing us the bass line and the harmony, without overshadowing the melody. They consist of the standard dance movements, with Allemandes, Courantes, Minuets, Sarabands, Gigues and each is preceded by a Prelude.
There are many questions relating to performance when choosing to play Bach: style, dynamics, articulation, vibrato and breathing. There are also problems arising from transcribing string music, mainly in how to maintain the musical line without the distraction of breaths. I have added some suggestions as a guide only, but these may change according to the individual interpretation and performance. Try to allow the breaths to become part of the melodic line, which in turn should allow the music to breathe naturally.
Flute players can learn a great deal from the performance of string players. By using imagery of how a Ã¢â‚¬Ëœcellist might articulate, in respect of speed, direction and weight of the bow, we can relate this to our flute playing and so develop our understanding. Interpretation will vary, as there are many different ideas and rules for performance. Immerse yourself in the music of Bach to help your understanding. There is no Ã¢â‚¬Å“rightÃ¢â‚¬Â way to play Bach, but I believe you should be truthful to the style, whilst displaying the modern advantages of our instrument.