Bach's Seventh Suite

J.S. Bach composed the iconic 6 Suites for unaccompanied cello in ca. 1720. However, cellists have been borrowing Bach's solo violin and flute works to expand their baroque repertoire. In 1988, the cellist from the San Francisco Opera, David Kadarauch, transcribed 6 movements from assorted keyboard works by Bach and combined them into a work for solo cello called "The Seventh Suite." The contents are as follows:

Prelude - Partita, BWV 829
Allemande - Partita, BWV 825
Courante - Partita, BWV 828
Sarabande - English Suite, BWV 806
Minuets I and II - Partita, BWV 825 
Gigue - Partita, BWV 828

All but one of these movements have been transposed to G major; only the Prelude is originally in this key. In the preface of the now obscure Agogic edition, Kadarauch states that his "aim has been to follow the form and the spirit of the original six suites as much as possible, and not to exceed their technical demands." Indeed, "The Seventh Suite" does not reach beyond the technical demands of the third suite. The preface also promises an "Eighth Suite" to be published in the summer of 1988, which does not seem to have been realized.

The published suite is an attractive work overall, while the Courante leaves a bit to be desired from the standpoint of conversion to the cello medium. The score was prepared by the Japanese-American bassist Shinji Eshima on the now-obsolete Professional Composer software. The engraving contains all of the peculiarities of that software without attempting to look like a polished, publication-ready product. Slurs and ties look hand-drawn. I believe that this work could have some success with a proper "facelift."

Currently, the only copy I could find in the United States is housed at the Juilliard music library. Strings Magazine featured an article about this work in the late-1990s with a reengraved Minuet movement. Apart from these, hardly anyone is aware of this transcription. I hope that my article brings attention to this work and the name of David Kadarauch.