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The Well-Tempered Cello


by Miranda Wilson


The Well-Tempered Cello revisits the masterpieces that form a soundtrack to a cellist's life - the Six Cello Suites of Johann Sebastian Bach- and weaves them into a memoir of how these beloved compo­sitions can help us interpret our own life stories.


Miranda Wilson was a child in New Zealand when she first began to learn the notes of Bach's Cello Suites, starting with the famous Prelude in G Major. After moving to the United States for a career as a cellist, music journalist, and professor, she became obsessed with the goal of performing all six from memory in a marathon concert. Relearning and reinterpreting the Cello Suites, she realized that there is always something new to be found within their notes and melodies, as if they possess a life of their own.


In a six-part structure that resembles the arc of Bach's cycle, The Well-Tempered Cello creates both an expressive reading of Bach's Cello Suites and a reflection on the musician's restless search for meaning. It is a book for music lovers who seek to know why we listen again and again to the compositions that accompany us on life's journeys, and why music seems to listen to us too.



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