The Cello Suites by Eric Siblin
J. S. Bach, Pablo Casals, and the Search for a Baroque Masterpiece

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One evening, journalist Eric Siblin attended a recital of Johann Sebastian Bach's Cello Suites and began an epic quest that would unravel three centuries of intrigue, politics, and passion. Winner of the Mavis Gallant Prize for Nonfiction and the McAuslan First Book Prize, The Cello Suites weaves together three dramatic narratives: the disappearance of Bach's manuscript in the eighteenth century; Pablo Casals's discovery and popularization of the music in Spain in the late-nineteenth century; and Siblin's infatuation with the suites in the present day. The search led Siblin to Barcelona, where Casals, just thirteen and in possession of his first cello, roamed the backstreets with his father in search of sheet music and found Bach's lost suites tucked in a dark corner of a store. Casals played them every day for twelve years before finally performing them in public. Siblin pursues the mysteries that continue to haunt this music more than 250 years after its composer's death: Why did Bach compose the suites for the cello, then considered a lowly instrument? What happened to the original manuscript? A seamless blend of biography and music history, The Cello Suites is a true-life journey of discovery, fueled by the power of these musical masterpieces.

About Eric Siblin

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Eric Siblin is an award-winning journalist and filmmaker, and the former pop music critic at the Montreal Gazette. The Cello Suites is his first book.
Published January 4, 2011 by Grove Press. 329 pages
Genres: Biographies & Memoirs, Education & Reference, Humor & Entertainment, Arts & Photography, History, Travel. Non-fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for The Cello Suites

The New York Times

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Eric Siblin combines high and low musical forms, art and political histories and matters of arcane musicology into a single inquisitive volume.

Dec 01 2009 | Read Full Review of The Cello Suites: J. S. Bach,...

The Guardian

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One evening in 2000, the Canadian journalist Eric Siblin found himself pushing through the "shroud of stuffiness" at Toronto's Royal Conservatory of Music.

Jan 29 2010 | Read Full Review of The Cello Suites: J. S. Bach,...

The Bookbag

He also suggests that Bach was an unfashionable composer who was reluctant to modernise music, and thus set the tone for what he regards as today's more hidebound classical music lovers – on the face of it, a rather odd argument.

Dec 30 2010 | Read Full Review of The Cello Suites: J. S. Bach,...


Montreal music critic Eric Siblin travels the world learning the cello and on the hunt for original scores or manuscripts about the legendary Bach cello suites.

| Read Full Review of The Cello Suites: J. S. Bach,...

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