When a rock critic falls deeply in love with the music of JS Bach's Cello Suites he embarks on an epic quest to unravel three centuries of mystery, intrigue, history, politics and passion.
One autumn evening, not long after ending a stint as a rock music critic, Eric Siblin attended a recital of Johann Sebastian Bach's Cello Suites. There, in a spine-tingling moment, something unlikely happened: he fell deeply in love with the music, and had to hear more, know more. So began an epic quest that would unravel three centuries of mystery, intrigue, history, politics and passion.
The result has the power to obsess readers in the way the Cello Suites enthrall listeners and players alike; part biography, part music history, and part literary mystery, the book follows three strands of an evolving story. The first is a dramatic narrative featuring Johann Sebastian Bach and a missing manuscript from the eighteenth century; the second is a key discovery by Pablo Casals in Spain and his rise to fame; and the third is Eric Siblin's own discovery of, and infatuation with, The Cello Suites, which takes him 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 uncovering the mysteries that continue to haunt this piece of music more than 250 years after the composer's death.
The Cello Suites is an incomparable, beautifully written, true journey of discovery, fuelled and inspired by the transcendent power of a musical masterpiece.
'This is one of the most extraordinary, clever, beautiful, and impeccably researched books I have read in years.' - Simon Winchester (author of The Surgeon of Crowthorne)
Eric Siblin is an award-winning journalist and filmmaker, and was the pop music critic at the Montreal Gazette. He made the transition to television in 2002 with the documentary Word Slingers, which explores the wacky subculture of competitive Scrabble tournaments and aired in Canada and the U.S. He also codirected the documentary In Search of Sleep: An Insomniac's Journey, which aired in Canada and Europe. The Cello Suites is his first book.
Biography & Autobiography
Nominated for a Governor General Award (Non-fiction)
Nominated for the Writer's Trust Award (Non-fiction)
Long list for British Columbia's National Non-Fiction Awards
Allen & Unwin
Allen & Unwin