Bach, Casals & The Six Suites for 'Cello Solo: Volumes 1-4 by Steven Hancoff Spotlight and Interview with CD Review

Bach #1
Bach #2
Bach #3
Bach #4
Book Details:

Book Title: Bach, Casals and; The Six Suites for 'Cello Solo: Volumes 1-4 by Steven Hancoff
Category: Adult non-fiction, 1189 pages
Genre: Biography / Music
Publisher: iTunes
Release date: June 2015
Tour dates: Nov 30 - Dec 18, 2015
Content Rating: G

Book Description:


A Totally Immersive Multimedia Experience

Richly Detailed Text Embedded with More Than 1,000 Illustrations Illuminating Bach’s Masterpiece, from Its Creation to Its Legacy

Bach, Casals and the Six Suites for ’Cello Solo and 3-CD set Audio Recording of ’Cello Suites to be Released June 23rd

Exclusively on iTunes and CD Baby

Includes Hancoff’s Complete Recording Of His Acoustic Guitar Transcription of Bach’s ’Cello Suites

From tragedy to transcendence is the theme that embodies the essence of the life and work of Johann Sebastian Bach. “This man, ‘the miracle of Bach,’ as Pablo Casals once put it, led a life of unfathomable creativity and giftedness on the one hand and neglect and immense tragedy on the other,” says Hancoff.

Bach’s life was rife with hardship and tragedy from the start. By the time he was nine years old, he had witnessed the deaths of three siblings and then, within a year, his father and mother also passed away.

For all his education and talent, however, his first job was serving as a lackey for a drunkard duke. Subsequently, he spent the next fifteen years in the employ of Weimar’s harshly ascetic Duke Wilhelm Ernst, who cared little for music. When he was twenty-two, he married the love of his live, his distant cousin, Maria Barbara Bach. During the thirteen years they were married, she bore him seven children, three of whom died at birth.

In 1717, Prince Leopold of Cöthen offered Bach a position as the musical director for Cöthen. Bach jumped at the chance. The officials of Weimar, however, threw him in jail for “the crime” of daring to resign his present position. Still, Bach was on the verge of a career breakthrough.

Three years into his happy and contented tenure in Cothen, Prince Leopold and Bach visited the spa town of Carlsbad for a month of vacationing and music-making. Unfortunately, upon his return Bach learned of the death of his wife and then only when he entered into his home. Imagine the shock, the impact. He never even discovered the cause of death.

Yet this tragic setback in Bach’s life was a major turning point because he came to grips with his personal tragedy by unleashing a flood of masterpieces for which he is and will be forever revered. First came the Six Violin Sonatas and Partitas for Violin Solo and then the Six Suites for ’Cello Solo.

In the ’Cello Suites we hear Bach expressing his own seeking, yearning, love, loss, sorrow, grief and determination and their overtones of surrender, resolution affirmation and transcendence. He aspired to articulate an ultimate personal confession, a revelation, entirely unique, entirely sublime, as an ultimate act of artistic and creative testimony, a heavenly statement about his own life and even of life itself—as a final gift and an enduring, heavenly send-off for his beloved wife.

Bach, Casals and the Six Suites for ’Cello Solo invites readers and music lovers into a unique experience, contained in an immersive four-volume e-book from Steven Hancoff – a virtuoso musician’s restless, passionate, multimedia exploration of a musical masterpiece that only grows in stature almost three centuries after it was written.

The many fascinating and inspiring aspects of the book include:

• How Bach struggled and overcame adversity and the lessons his example offer us today.

• The ultimate meaning of the Six Suites for ’Cello.

• How almost all of Bach’s works would have nearly sunk into oblivion were it not for the extraordinary efforts of Sara Levy, the great aunt of Felix Mendelssohn, to rescue them.

• How Felix Mendelssohn single-handedly created with the performance of the St. Matthew Passion a Bach renaissance and a legacy that continues to be enjoyed to the present day.

• The miraculous discovery of the six ’Cello Suites by Pablo Casals in a Barcelona thrift shop and why he studied them for twelve years before performing them in public.

• What Pablo Casals meant when he spoke of “the miracle of Bach.” Bach, Casals and the Six Suites for ’Cello Solo promises to be an adventure for anyone fascinated by the enduring power of music, art and why they matter.

Buy the music and ebooks: iTunes

Meet the author:

Steve Hancoff began playing guitar when he was 13 years old, captivated by the folk music craze of the 1960s. Within a year he was performing in coffeehouses around Baltimore and Washington, D.C.

For nearly 15 years, he toured the world—about 50 countries—as an official Artistic Ambassador representing the United States of America. His recordings include Steel String Guitar, New Orleans Guitar Solos, Duke Ellington for Solo Guitar, and The Single Petal of A Rose. He is also the author of Acoustic Masters: Duke Ellington for Fingerstyle Guitar and New Orleans Jazz for Fingerstyle Guitar. He is a graduate of St. John’s College, home of the “100 Great Books of the Western World” program and has a Masters degree in clinical social work. He is a psychotherapist, a Rolfer, and a practitioner of Tai Chi. An avid hiker, he is also a member of the Grand Canyon River Guides Associations.

Connect with the author: Website   ~  Twitter  ~   Facebook

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Interview with Steven Hancoff

Is there a message in your book that you want readers to grasp?

Yes: Life is a gift. No matter the adversity, the damage, the obstacles, feel gratitude for having been given life… the opportunity to experience the wonder and magnitude of all that which is. Maybe in the end, that’s really what writers are trying to express.

Contribute to the world so that by virtue of your participation in it, you leave the world a better place. Make the most of the time you have here. Let what you do and how you live, glorify not yourself, but life itself and whatever you imagine the source to that life to be. Dig deeper and more honestly, forthrightly and open-eyedly.

How much of the book is realistic?

All of it, even though none of us possess the inherent gifts of Bach, and few of us the inherent gifts of Pablo Casals.

Are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?

All based on what I can fathom of the lives of Bach and Casals.

What books have most influenced your life most?

Believe it or not, Euclid’s Elements; Homer’s Odyssey; Shakespeare, especially Othello and King Lear; Darwin: On the Origin of Species; Dante’s Inferno; Tolstoy’s War and Peace; Swift’s Gulliver’s Travels, Rolfing and Ida Rolf Talks about Rolfing and Physical Reality.

If you had to choose, which writer would you consider a mentor?

Ida P. Rolf, without doubt.

What book are you reading now?

“Reading through” Bach’s Violin Sonatas and Partitas; and The Loves of Judith by Meir Shalev (who seems to me to be a great genius). I tend to haunt second-hand bookstore. I also love anything by John Updike. I used to always be reading a novel. Nowadays, I wish I had more time to be reading novels.

Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest?

Meir Shalev, and Etgar Keret

What are your current projects?

I am creating a concert length, multi-media presentation of the story. The first performances are in Seattle, Vancouver and Victoria at the end of November. I am calling it: From Tragedy to Transcendence –Bach, Casals and the Six Suites for Cello Solo. I notice now that when I tell some people about it, I like to say: “It’s real adult entertainment for real adults!”

I have not read the book that was spotlighted but I have listened to the 3 CD music set.  The music is beautiful and lovely background accompaniment to dinner or an evening of quiet reading.

Prepare for close to 3 hours of music that will touch you.  Though  written for cello the transition to guitar is delightful.  Those who have a fondness for guitars will fall in love with the instrument again.

I also found the accompanying booklet to enlightening as it described the means by which many of Bach's pieces were saved so that we could and can rediscover them though this presentation by Steven Hancoff.

I was gifted a copy of this CD set but no expectation of a review was expected and these expressed thoughts pertaining to this 3 CD set are my own.

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