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House of Anansi Press

The Cello Suites

J. S. Bach, Pablo Casals, and the Search for a Baroque Masterpiece

Written by Eric Siblin

Published March 22, 2009 | ISBN 9780887848797
MUSIC / History & Criticism

Cover of The Cello Suites

Regular price $16.95 CAD

328 pages
Digital Format

Also Available in Print

About this book

The Cello Suites

J. S. Bach, Pablo Casals, and the Search for a Baroque Masterpiece

Eric Siblin

One autumn evening, shortly after ending a ten-year stint as a pop-music columnist for the Montreal Gazette, Eric Siblin attended a concert at Toronto's Royal Conservatory of Music. There, something unlikely happened: he fell in love with a piece of classical music -- Bach's cello suites. Part biography, part music history, and part literary mystery, The Cello Suites weaves together three dramatic stories: The first features Johann Sebastian Bach and the missing manuscript of his suites from the eighteenth century; the second is that of Pablo Casals and his incredible discovery of the manuscript in Spain in the early twentieth century; and the third is Eric Siblin's own infatuation with the suites in the twenty-first century.

This love affair leads Siblin to the back streets of Barcelona, a Belgian mansion, and a bombed out German palace; to interviews with cellists Mischa Maisky, Anner Bylsma, and Pieter Wispelwey; to archives, festivals, conferences, and cemeteries; and even to cello lessons -- all in pursuit of answers to the mysteries that continue to haunt this piece of music more than 250 years after its composer's death.

The Cello Suites is an incomparable, beautifully written, true-life journey of passion, imagination, and discovery, fuelled by the transcendent power of a musical masterpiece.

About the Author

Eric Siblin

Eric Siblin is an award-winning journalist, filmmaker and author. He lives in Montreal, Quebec. Visit Eric Siblin's website:

Awards and Praise
  • Winner Mavis Gallant Prize for Non-fiction, 2009
  • Short-listed Governor General's Award: Nonfiction, 2009
  • Short-listed Writers' Trust of Canada Non-Fiction Prize, 2009
  • Short-listed British Columbia's National Award for Canadian Non-Fiction, 2010
  • Winner QWF McAuslan First Book Prize, 2009