Cello Suite no. 4 in E-flat major

Cello Suite no. 4 in E-flat major

BWV 1010 performed by Bruno Cocset
Royal Theatre Carré, Amsterdam

  • Menu
  • 1. Prelude
  • 2. Allemande
  • 3. Courante
  • 4. Sarabande
  • 5. Bourree I + II
  • 6. Gigue

Behind the music

Extra videos
Extra videos

Contemplative and philosophical

A suite for a cello with a curvy bottom

Six Cello Suites, BWV 1007-1012
The Six Cello Suites by Johann Sebastian Bach belong to the Old Testament of cello literature. Every cellist who looks at the music immediately feels how naturally the notes are draped around the strings of the instrument. Yet there are many questions and discussions about these Suites a Violoncello Solo senza Basso. Did Bach really write the music for cello, or at least for cello alone? And when did he write it? At the court at Köthen or earlier?

The suites follow a path from simplicity to increasing virtuosity. The Suite no. 4 in E-flat major is contemplative and philosophical, without the mood becoming truly elegiac. In the first three suites, the cellist could play a relatively high number of open strings, giving a high resonance and allowing the upper notes to sound freely. But here the sound is darker. The key of E-flat major involves three flats, meaning that the highest A string cannot usually be played as a separate string.

Special instrument
Cellist Bruno Cocset feels a special bond with this suite. It has a reputation for recalcitrance with cellists, because of its key. But when he heard a recording of the suite in a transcription for harpsichord, played by Gustav Leonhardt, he suddenly understood what it should sound like. For his recording for All of Bach, Bruno Cocset went in search of the right instrument for this suite. Along with cello builder Charles Riché, with whom he often works, he chose this cello, with a curvy bottom and a rosette. In the interview, he explains how this affects the sound.

We are recording all the cello suites at a special location in Amsterdam. This recording was made at Koninklijk Theater Carré, in Amsterdam.

Cello Suite no. 4 in E-flat major
chamber music
Six cello suites
between 1717 and 1723

With support from


Extra videos

Cellist Bruno Cocset on his instrument

“I hesitated between two celli. I tried them both in turn until I knew: this is the one!”

Cellist Bruno Cocset on the fourth Cello Suite

“I didn't know how to play this suite on an instrument that didn't seem made for it.”

Vocal texts




  • Release date
    28 October 2016
  • Recording date
    27 June 2016
  • Location
    Royal Theatre Carré, Amsterdam
  • Cellist
    Bruno Cocset
  • Cello
    Charles Riché, Alpes de Haute Provence, 2009, after 17th-century Italian style
  • Director and editor
    Lucas van Woerkum
  • Music recording
    Guido Tichelman, Bastiaan Kuijt
  • Music editor
    Guido Tichelman
  • Camera
    Remko Schnorr
  • Lights
    Zen Bloot
  • Focus pull
    Danny van Deventer
  • Grip
    Bjorn Schumacher
  • Datahandling
    Luuk Walschot
  • Interview
    Onno van Ameijde
  • Acknowledgements
    Koninklijk Theater Carré
  • With support from

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