Sentimentality in the Performance of Absolute Music: Pablo Casals's Performance of Saraband

from Johann Sebastian Bach's Suite No. 2 in D Minor for Unaccompanied Cello, S. 1008
Author(s): John H. Planer
Source: The Musical Quarterly, Vol. 73, No. 2 (1989), pp. 212-248
Published by: Oxford University Press
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Sentimentality in the Performance of
Absolute Music: Pablo Casals's Performance of
Saraband from Johann Sebastian Bach's
Suite No. 2 in D Minor
for Unaccompanied Cello, S. 1008
You are fascinated by the notes, by how it is written. Never do the same
sonority. Never! Never! Something has to move down or up. Always! Always!
Character, character always! Rhythm doesn't mean anything. I hear the notes,
yes, but the notes have no interest if you don't give the character.
- Pablo Casals1
Pablo Casals, the greatest cellist of all time, owed the superiority of his interpretations to the quality of his convictions resulting from an exceptional musical
intuition, based upon a broad knowledge and ever-strengthened by the sacred
fire of exaltation.
- Paul Tortelier2


HE question I propose to examine is whether a performance
of absolute music may be called sentimental in any dispassionate,
empirical, objective sense. In order to avoid excessive abstraction
and to test the generalities, I approach this question by reference
to a specific, recorded performance: Pablo Casals playing the Saraband from Johann Sebastian Bach's Second Suite for Unaccompanied Cello, S. 1008. Although we shall examine his performance

Pablo Casals-Musician of the Century: A Portrait in His Own Words, Columbia
Records, Album M 5 30069, Record M 30216, Side 1 [9]. Casals is rehearsing the Overture
from Bach's First Suite for Orchestra, S. 1066.
2 David Blum, Casals and the Art of Interpretation, introduction (Berkeley, 1980),
p. v.


Sentimentality in Performance


in detail, we must not lose focus and assume that Casals's
performance is the object of our inquiry. Rather we seek to ascertain
if we can affirm in any non-subjective sense that a performance
of absolute music is sentimental, not to criticize Casals's general
musicianship or philosophy of interpretation. But by focusing
upon one performance of one dance of one suite, we can examine
in detail what Casals has done and then, within that single
the questions
and issues relating to
words, Casals's performance
the means by which we examine the nature of
sentimentality in musical performance-the microcosm within which
we explore the macrocosm.
Sentimentality in Verbal Media
Sentimentality is dishonesty expressed as emotional exaggeration. In art, as in daily experience, exaggeration is a manifestation
of dishonesty: exaggeration has a basis in reality, but the artist
distorts and thereby misrepresents that reality.3 Such exaggeration
may be factual or emotional. If exaggeration of fact is positive,
we call the dishonesty "flattery," "hyperbole," and "encomium."
We recognize and accept such dishonesty in certain emotional
situations, such as eulogies, for in the emotional trauma of a funeral,
we do not expect or want hard truth: we would hardly approve
of an objector who rose to rebuke the eulogist for unwarranted,
effusive praise. Similarly, Wordsworth's sonnet "London, 1802"
greatly exaggerates the abilities of John Milton, though certainly
not his talents.
If the exaggeration of fact is negative, we call the resultant
work "misrepresentation," "defamation," or "libel." In these accusations of dishonesty, we accuse the artist of bias, of diverging
from honesty by exaggeration. If the artist's intent is not truth,
but rather feeling or flattery or humor, perhaps such distortion
is justified. If the artist aspires to seek truth, however, it is not
An artist may also exaggerate feelings. An excess of emotion
we label as sentimentality; an insufficiency we call insensitivity.
3 Understatement is not necessarily untrue. While it does not state the full extent,
its muted claims are nevertheless true. Thus a great work is a good work as well.

Abrams does not distinguish between intent and accomplishment. whether intentional or unintentional. "Sentimentalism" in A Glossary of Literary Terms. Also. which refuses to admit feeling. While often we cannot identify the psychological source of an artist's sentimentality. or insensitivity. pp. thus a sincere intent complicates his ability to identify a work as sentimental. sincere feeling. illusory situation that may. Richards also provides a helpful definition. the resulting work still contains excessive emotion for the context which occasions it. 1981). which substitutes a more pleasant or flattering aspect. (New York. The result may either be sentimentality. a sentimental response is inappropriate to its context because it ignores many aspects of a situation in order to distort one or because it confuses reality with illusion. have hardly anything in common with it. p. it is inappropriate to the situation which calls it forth. 252-54. I. 4th ed. either through the over-persistence of tendencies or through the interaction of sentiments.6 To paraphrase Richards. A sentimental work often is trite. s M. But he notes that excess or overindulgence is relative to the author and period. A. is dishonest. Abrams defines sentimentality as an excess of emotion. I define "sentiment" as those feelings which arise from the mortality. and profoundest recognition of our humanness-our 4 I. In both instances the exaggerated emotion. A. but not invariably. But Abrams errs in equating sentimentality with triteness. in extreme cases. as a rule. Practical Criticism: A Study of Literary Judgment (New York. p. Richards. 6 Practical Criticism. an overindulgence in the "tender" emotions of pathos and sympathy. It becomes inappropriate. H.4 M. notes that insensitivity generally results from some painful experience which we refuse to contemplate. 246. A response is sentimental when. and what seems sentimental to us may have been written and read by some with deep.5 Abrams is correct in noting the difficulty of citing the moment when emotion becomes excessive and in acknowledging that sincere individuals expressing genuine emotions may write sentimental works. reissue of 1929 edition). or by substituting for it a factitious. Abrams prefers to define sentimentality not by the type of feeling or intensity but rather by the use of cliches and commonplaces to express feeling. H. either by confining itself to one aspect only of the many that the situation can present.214 The Musical Quarterly Thus a continuum extends from sentimentality to insensitivity. 175. . Abrams.

like guilt. In exaggerating sentiment. we are vulnerable to such sentimentality. or grief for emotional effect.Sentimentality in Performance 215 hence the preciousness yet fragility of existence. nothing remains once we excise the sentimental passages. Rather sentimentality is overindulgence or inappropriate indulgence in sentiments which themselves are precious. it represents a failure of the artist's critical judgment. It is a loss of perspective which results from exaggeration of the true. songs. Sentimentality urges us to remain emotional adolescents. The degree of dishonesty corresponds directly to the degree of distortion. is futile and unwholesome. but particualry the young. utter happiness. and films harms us all. but exactly what understandings of love do its readers have? . Instead they urge us to live more sensitively. in Eugene Field's deeply beloved "Little Boy Blue. the motive is often popularity. for many people enjoy sentimentality more than they value sentiment. The idealization of love in sentimental novels. But it also reflects an attitude toward the beholder or listener: the artist's personal intrusion into the beholder's reserve. An invitation to an emotional debauch reveals little respect for the audience. it encourages wildly unrealistic concepts of perfect marriage. as for example. an imbalance between feeling and content. but do not dwell excessively or primarily upon our emotional responses to it. and sublime contentment. the perspective he or she brings to life and also to art. Insofar as sentimentality is untrue. instead of the painful but salubrious examination of meaning and values. No wonder the subsequent disillusionment overwhelms! "Little Boy Blue" is beloved. And it prevents accurate understanding of the human condition. If the artist is consciously appealing to sentimentality. of others and ourselves. an exaggeration to evoke in the beholder an excessive and prolonged emotional response." As sentient beings. pity. he or she overweights the emotional from personal preference. Thus emotion is certainly not sentimentality. If the artist is naive. Honesty and sentiment admit our mortality. it also devalues the genuine. When sentimentality becomes an end in itself. It differs from sentiment as pathos differs from tragedy: by the absence of awareness and proportion. Sentimentality thus is an artist's naive or calculated appeal to vicarious sympathy. It encourages inactive feeling directed toward a fictitious situation. It damages our opportunities to experience genuine sentiment. But sentimentality.

For example. We detect such sentimentality in art in the same manner that we detect the artist's intent. and absence of originality. Yet such subjects can indeed be treated without sentimentality if the presentation is honest and if the artist balances sentimental elements with nonsentimental ones. popular western novels and science fiction are often. as in Dylan Thomas's "A Refusal to Mourn the Death. they need not be sentimental. If it exists in a work of art. preferably terminal. thereby increasing its effect. Finally. idealized love. counterbalancing elements. as well as presence of structural defects. Absence of content. escapist. such sentimentality originates in the artist's attitude toward the subject and toward the perceiver. ideally. of a Child in in the recreative arts London. or perceiver. The sentimental work does not hesitate: it uses all means possible to create. illness. and prolong that climactic moment. and we drown. specifically the emphasis on the sadness of death rather than the difficulties of coping with existence. we must seek those means by which we detect it. sentimentality often conceals serious artistic defects. or. Often an interpreter of music or a reader of poetry will hesitate a moment before the main climax. and irrationality all disappear beneath the swell of emotion. interpreter. absence of genuine sentiment. attain. The sentimentalist feels that such idealization 7 Not all art which provides escape or sensual pleasure is sentimental. Thus we detect sentimentality by the time or space devoted to evoking or describing such emotions. Since we all are susceptible to sentimentality. too. illogic. feeling replaces thought. innocent child.216 The Musical Quarterly Moreover. and the recitation of poetry-may also distort a work by a sentimental realization.7 Sentimentality can arise in the artist. all three: the terminal illness and death of a pure. The strength of emotional descriptions in verbal media are one indicator. some subjects may indeed lend themselves readily to sentimentality. Admittedly." An interpreter of art-specifically of music and theater. We detect sentimentality by its exaggeration. particularly of a child or an innocent. such as death. . the extreme idealization necessary for sentimentality departs from the reality of our daily experiences. or ignore. Finally. Certain types of sentimentality reveal their presence by their death orientation. by Fire. In yielding to its seductive pleasures. we may also perceive a nonsentimental work sentimentally if we exaggerate its sentiment and deemphasize. we yield our critical perspectives toward reality and art. though not necessarily.

We therefore may inquire whether absolute music and non-representational art can be sentimental. hence they do not make structure "fuzzy. Monroe C. the performer's subjective fluctuations of the pulse. and only an The 8 Monroe C. which are never musically satisfied."8 That explanation has several problems: the phrase "affected distortion" is unclear. and only succeeds in making fuzzy the underlying musical structures. Beardsley asserts that.9 While a performer can change the dynamics. suffered from flatulence and hemorrhoids. 9 The term "rubato" also bears a different sense in the music of Chopin. 108-9. In absolute music a performance may be sentimental in the same way that the recitation of a nonsentimental poem may be: both are distortions. and orchestration with relative precision." Music continually presents local expectations which are satisfied and unsatisfied. Sentimentalist interpretations prefer extremely slow tempos and rubato. But Beardsley's explanation is also insightful. In the recreative media.Sentimentality in Performance 217 increases the pathos. perhaps hopelessly vague. Therefore Eugene Field would never mention that Little Boy Blue picked his nose. Much music of the nineteenth century contains such indications. sentimental interpretations distort the tempo the most. The most pronounced aspects of traditional musical structure. and the voicing (prominence of each part). a performer can do little to change or exaggerate them. including absolute music. however. pp. Not all music which is slow or which has rubato. The element of music most ripe for sentimental exploitation is rhythm. the repetition of melodic material and the recurrence of tonal centers. Possibility of Criticism (Detroit. particularly tempo. harmonies. an interpretation is sentimental if it is exaggerated. "A work of music. 1953). Curt Sachs. 1970). or a performance of a work of music. . are not affected by dynamics and phrasing. Since the musical score indicates the pitches. and enjoyed drowning kittens! Sentimentality in Absolute Music and Non-Representational Art examples of sentimentality cited above involve verbal meaning or representational art. textures. Beardsley. phrasing. is necessarily sentimental. can be sentimental when affected distortion of phrasing and dynamics creates constant local expectations. Rhythm and Tempo (New York.

for example. which cannot convey specific emotions.with the regularity of a metronome. Bach's notation is visual and relatively precise. sentimentalityconsists of consciousor subconscious exaggerationfor emotionaleffect. the title of a series of publications on music of the nineteenth century is entitled Trivialmusik des 19ten Jahrhunderts. .some rubato may be integralto the style althoughsentimentalistsadd an excessiveandinappropriateamount.218 The MusicalQuarterly insensitivemusicianwould play Chopin. is sentimentalto lesser or greaterdegrees.they often distortthe tempo in orderto play the music with greater expression.Insofaras rubatodestroysthe marchof the metricpulsationsin orderto sensitizeand individualizemeter.At issue is whether a point exists when we can affirm in a relativelyobjective sense that such flexibility is excessive. pity. much less "tender"ones. In absolute music. we focus not so much upon Bach's music as upon Casals's interpretationof it.baroque." Such exaggerationrevealseither that the artist is unawareof considerations or perspectives which would counterbalance the emotional ones or else that he or she chooses to ignore them. or grief for emotional effect: exaggerationto evoke in the beholder an excessive or prolonged emotional response. but discoveringhis intent is complex.and classicalcomposers.Muchnineteenth-centurymusic. by major as well as minor composers. accurate criticismof performancerequires that we try to ascertainthe composer'sintent and then compare it with the auralrealizationin performance. The diverseinterpretationsof Bach'smusic reflect differentconceptions of that intent. In examiningCasals'sperformance of a sarabandfrom Bach's Suite in D Minor for unaccompanied cello. Sentimentalityin the Performanceof AbsoluteMusic We have defined sentimentalityin verbal and representational media as "an artist's naive or calculatedappeal to vicarioussympathy. that it exceeds legitimateinterpretationby distortingthe verymusicit seeksto interpret. Furthermore. Since a performercreates music on the basis of a composer's score.10 But when performerstrainedin the grandtraditionsof the nineteenth century interpretcompositionsby renaissance. Both of those processesare difficult.Casals'srealizationof Bach'snotation is entirely aural and involves both overt and subtle gestures.We can describe in words or via transcription into musical notation 10 For example.

fantasy as much as you like. notes with complex attractions and oppositions within the musical phrase. Fantasy with love. the foreground. That is so because not all notes serve identical or equivalent functions. and why of Casals's interpretation. are difficult to describe. and we know that performers who try to mimic machines rarely produce satisfying music. Liberty with order. and we have no right to doubt his sincerity or to impugn the genuineness of his desire to realize Bach's notation honestly and appropriately. From the individual notes themselves. treating them as if each were an individual human being. but fantasy with order. If we cannot identify that point with reasonable precision. therefore sensitive performers. phrasing. but with order. whose significance. But should we discover excess. You can't do anything you like. and therefore objectionable. we talk of democracy and freedom. is not a mechanical process. dynamics. Side 2 [10]. how. whose stature. we may not label it intentional dishonesty. but with order. I like that. Fantasy with order. depends upon its function within the community. We shall begin by describing how Casals has interpreted Bach's saraband. Record M 30216. and intonation. We seek to discover when such practices become excessive. and the desirable becomes excess. Obviously musical performance. Well. originates in imperfect. criticism of performance cannot rise beyond subjective affirmation of personal preference. we shall seek the principles governing his interpretation. but nuances. Once we understand the what. music is the same. yes. imbalanced perception. Ah. Casals repeatedly expressed his devotion to Bach. Freedom with order. Casals himself acknowledged that no performer enjoys absolute freedom: I like fantasy. now. Our goal is to discover the point at which the emotional intensity of a performance becomes excessive and hence sentimental. Inappropriate indulgence in sentiments themselves precious. it constitutes a loss of perspective which falsifies the true. and his actions accord with his professions: " Pablo Casals-Musician of the Century.Sentimentality in Performance 219 the obvious shadings of tempo. as a human activity. exaggerates. Yes. like Casals. Casals revered Bach. . differentiate these notes. we can move toward criticism. 1 At some point freedom becomes license. freedom. which furnish the subtlety which satisfies knowledgeable and critical listeners. But such differentiation necessarily distorts.

'4 We will make only passing reference to performances of the saraband by other cellists and to performing editions. and cannot know beforehand.. of either the Bach Suites or the Beethoven Sonatas. 34:1 (Spring. and has never been. But validity is not. Side 1.if I shall not introduce modificationswhen playing it afresh."Edward T. sensitive. for only by ascertaining Bach's intent can we criticize Casals's performance against it. Casals replied: No! There will not be any edition of mine.) My way of performing a work does not last longer than the actual playing of it: that is to say.13 But unfortunately purity and nobility of intent are no guarantee of an honest. and nobody. although I have been asked by quantities of publishers to do it. or noble result. Jose Corredor asked why Casals refused to publish such an edition. since he had received numerous offers. 1981). Casals refused to edit or annotate a printed edition of Bach's cello suites. I don't know. 13. the sources for Casals's interpretation are oral and aural. we must examine the musical notation Bach furnished for his saraband. "The Authority of MusicalCriticism. Bach is universaland has said in music everythingthat we desire in life. Bach is forever. musical notation." Journal of the American Musicological Society. and I don't see how I can communicate these unless I do it with my 'cello in my hands and-by chance-bringing some new contributions to each 12 Ibid. In an interview. He is the god of music. The sources for Bach's intent reside in his written. 13 Ibid. Cone.The Musical Quarterly 220 Bach is my best friend. (For the Suites I use the facsimile edition of Anna-Magdalene. nobody will reach the greatness and the profoundness and the diversity of Bach.Bach's copy. . 14 "Only by assuming the existence and the accessibility of a standard against which interpretationsof a composition must be measuredcan we preventperformancesfrom degeneratinginto displays of personalself-indugenceand critiquesfrom becoming mere exercises in autobiography. the imageof what I dreamin music and what I say in music. decided by either vulgar or erudite consensus. Such comparisons help cellists ascertain the breadth and limits of contemporary performances.Whatwould happen then when those who listen to me realiseI am not observingthe indicationsI wrote myself. and which they may have observed literally? This is what I was saying previously -my technical means develop side by side with my personal conceptions. the stylistic evolution of interpretation in the twentieth century. p. To specify whether Casals's interpretation is sentimental.12 Yes. and contemporary performance practices.

Bach. insights which reveal his strengths and weaknesses. Jose Maria Corredor. Casals's Interpretation of the Saraband The best way to study Casals's interpretation of the Bach The following analysis saraband is to listen to it-repeatedly. and his ideas about Bach. It creates such confusion. Is 16 . 1936 (Suites 2 and 3). Portions of master classes. Vermont (July. monaural recording: Angel CB-3786. L. Album M 5 30069/M30216. 1966). Conversations with Casals (New York. The only thing that matters is the personalway of performing the notes and values we have in front of us.. Interview with Thomas Frost in Marlboro. I don't agree with those who. and mine would only add to the general confusion. This recording is a reissue of the Angel Great Recordings of the Century disks. Kirk at Casals's home in San Juan (Nov. preparingsome new edition. 1936. June. the words and measurements. speeches. We shall utilize Casals's performance of the second suite which was recorded in November. in order to justify their work. 1960). and rhythm are available in diverse printed and recorded sources. 1964). Rehearsals at the Marlboro Music Festival in 1953 and 1966. have significance only insofar as they allow us to describe precisely what Casals has done in performance.Sentimentality in Performance 221 performance. 1939 (Suites 1 and 6). Conversations with H. there are already too many editions. 1958). 210-211. and conversations are available in a five-record set published by Columbia Records. Joys and Sorrows. revealing visually those aural gestures which constitute his musical interpretation. 1966). cram it with their personal additions. CBS Television Network production Casals at 88 (Dec. for examination of the presence or absence of sentimentality. collected conversations with Casals by Jose Corredor. 1957). COLH 16-18. Such precise description is prerequisite for criticism. and thereby enrich us. Press conference (Oct. entitiled Bach: The Six Suites for Cello Solo: Pablo Casals (recorded 1936-39). and interpretation..17 Understanding the bases of Casals's interpretation furnishes insight into a fine musician's feelings and thoughts. and graphic descriptions. freedom. recorded in November. notational.15 Thus Casals's interpretation is primarily aural. A recording of this performance is currently available on a three-disk. 1939 (Suites 4 and 5).. The verbal. authenticity. Responsible criticism must transcend description but cannot avoid or ignore it. and there is no edition which can do that for us. and a collection of Casals's observations on his life.16 But Casals often discussed his philosophy of musical interpretation. and June. pp. see Casals's autobiography. 17 For example. master classes recorded at the University of California at Los Angeles. National Educational Television (producer Nathan Kroll) of master classes at University of California at Berkeley. describes what Casals has done. rehearsals. It is drawn from CBS News production Small World (March.

That practice admittedly introduces an element of error. he did not consciously alter durations and relations. The second transcription shows the aural effect upon the listener of Casals's rubato. which he manifests by maintaining vitality in long notes played at a slow tempo. Fluctuations in tempo are perceptible only 18 Durations of double. The transcriptions were prepared in four ways: transcription at normal speed. Casals reveals the relative importance of each note through rubato.19 I estimate the accuracy of the transcription as plus or minus . Whether or not we conclude that Casals's emotional interpretation is refined or raw. but he did try to impart to each note its proper character. 19 I am grateful to Professors Ruth Katz and Dalia Cohen of the Hebrew University at Jerusalem for providing a melogram of Casals's performance by which I could correct my own transcription. I have estimated the articulation by subdividing the duration of the tied note into equal parts. as in the first measure.222 The Musical Quarterly Casals interprets the saraband in a slow. The music below presents the musical notation according to the Anna-Magdalena Bach copy of the saraband above two transcriptions of Casals's performance. but the metronome markings themselves. The extent of his rubato is shown by Mazel metronome markings. gentle. His slow legato conception of the saraband deemphasizes strong dynamic accentuation. while reasonably accurate. He understands that music continually leaves and approaches moments of varying degrees of importance. both by measure and by beat. legato. transcription at half speed.18 and correction via a melogram prepared at the Hebrew University at Jerusalem.05 of a second. yet intensely emotional manner. and quadruple stops were determined from the initial attack of the lowest note until the articulation of the subsequent beat or its subdivision. or within a thirty-second note. are certainly not precise either. and that performance must therefore contain continually fluctuating degrees of musical energy. The first transcription reflects the manner in which Casals conceived his interpretation. his performance nevertheless reveals keen musicianship. When a note is tied across a beat. Our transcription can only approximate such fluctuation because the rubato corresponds to the performer's perception as he shapes each phrase. triple. measurement at half speed with stopwatch from one articulation to another. . Casals looked at Bach's notation and tried to perform it. controlled or excessive. but in compensation.

are only approximations and can reflect only large gestures. notes are shown by their absolute durations. The transcriptions themselves. therefore when a note is held. 22 Grosvenor Cooper and Leonard B.M. they still are useful for our purposes: they represent a visual means of exploring the basis for Casals's interpretation and for discussing the subject of sentimentality. 21 The terms "structural. the listener. and on that basis we can prepare a transcription which represents what the listener hears. now we seek the principles underlying that interpretation. For Casals. The Rhythmic Structure of Music (Chicago. Principles Underlying Casals's Interpretation The transcriptions present visually the most overt features of Casals's performance. a transcription which may or may not vary greatly from that which the performer follows. The average tempo is approximately M. Meyer. or even a sixteenth-note.20 Guiding Casals's performance is the assumption that some pitches are more important than others. The most important pitches are "points of arrival. for the quarter-note. . plus or minus one. 8." structural pitches21 toward which music continually flows and from which it continually ebbs. Collectively. 42.30 of a second. continues the pulse which the performer has previously established. Casals also "marks for consciousness"22 many downbeats. 1960). p. roots 20 See David Blum's Casals and the Art of Interpretation for an important initial step in describing Casals's style of interpretation and performance.Sentimentality in Performance 223 when a performer articulates notes. the transcriptions showing Casals's rubato and the listener's apprehension of durations can help us explore the more obvious aspects of his interpretation." "passing. Allowing for a margin of error of a thirty-second note. I have used the tenuto bar in a specific sense to represent a note which has been lengthened the equivalent of one thirty-second note. therefore in many measures." and "ornamental" are used here only in a very free Schenkerian sense. In that transcription. however. pitches of greatest significance are turning points of melody and notes providing significant contrapuntal motion embedded within passages serving harmonic or ornamental functions. more than the equivalent of twelve sixteenth-notes occur. Casals's performance does indeed have an integer valor: the sixteenth-note is usually around . not perceiving articulations which indicate acceleration or deceleration of the pulse.

35 second 39 28 33 .M. Beat 26 48 52 31 43 44 39 39 55 35 40 36 46 50 55 40 .30 second 51 36 27 38 34 48 29 40 52 50 55 38 46 63 32 55 40 10' 40 39 41 38 39 44 44 35 33 43 Ritard 32 44 = .The Musical Quarterly 224 Measure M.

Sentimentality in Performance Measure M.30 second 39 31 39 36 55 29 50 39 39 39 43 48 44 32 NOW- 102 40 40 60 41 35 34 43 or 35 40 40 L Ritard ? c.M.35 second 35 35 . 4 Beat 31 46 40 41 52 33 225 39 50 46 39 55 48 44 46 44 39 43 55 40 50 = c.d..

Beat 34 •151 ? p.M." oI 13wI m 41 48 57 40 46 44 48 35 48 43 50 32 40 201 43 4 41 4 8 34 39 44 41 41 43 40 2w5 4 9 46 43 46 40 4 35 4 40 34 35 55 .226 The Musical Quarterly Measure 44 M.

•.& L= 32 ? .1 . ? 41 43 45 44 1' • •U " ..M. .. 44 46 40 48 40 43 .227 Sentimentality in Performance 15' FA"t Lr 40 30 48 48 52 50 33 44 57 48 38 50 41 Measure 46 M. 41 40 ool -I. _? - u. 39 Beat 50 L_3 202 50 43 55 48 43 43 50 50 48 48 36 46 55 46 48 57 % ?woo Il ~m?I /• 44 43 40 52 46 39 39 43 46 4_ -I ]!I--lf 39 0 60 32 L - _:J- - 34 31 44 46 44 252 ? .' ... ... .i• . .

Casals relies primarily upon rubato. around them weave passing and ornamental pitches. He accelerates passing or ornamental motion and notes which fill the harmonies rather than serving as linear. Casals not only evinces relationships implicit in Bach's score but also enhances (or exaggerates) the degrees of contrast to make them more apparent. Those pitches have diverse gradations of significance based upon the levels of structure in which they occur and their coincidence with accents of varying strengths. he frequently accelerates as he approaches a structural pitch or a note of long duration. By such fluctuation of the pulse (or adjustment of durations). When two short note values lie between two longer ones. unexpected or chromatic pitches lying outside the previously established tonality). contrapuntal motion. are the different functions and importance which performers discern in the notes (or project upon them). Casals usually either ritards or accelerates. In revealing to listeners the function and relative importance of each pitch. In the saraband. we perceive the sound as continual motion. rather. non-harmonic notes. however. Most musicians. Likewise when short note values follow a long note. and affective pitches (notes which define unusual melodic intervals." Casals's underlying assumptions-that music involves pitches of differing functions and importance and that music is continually waxing and waning-do not. utilize such techniques to reveal the functions . Casals lengthens (or slows the pulse of) important pitches. usually only during postcadential extensions. the techniques they employ to manifest those hierarchies.. Whether he anticipates the arrival of an important musical moment or attains the goal and releases tension. the first pitches of many phrases. distinguish his interpretations from those of others. and the degrees to which they employ them. Casals either accelerates immediately or else begins the passage slowly and then accelerates. notes of long duration (cadential notes and/or notes of relative repose lying within passages of short note values). Casals correctly observed that "something has to move up or down. All sensitive musical interpretations reflect those understandings. What differentiates interpretations. and often the first subdivisions of beats. consciously or subconsciously. In approaching a cadence. Yet again. Casals either shortens both or lengthens the first and shortens the second. Although Casals ritards infrequently. .228 The Musical Quarterly of triads. these general principles do not distinguish Casals's interpretations from those of others. the notes have no interest if you don't give the [them?] character.

Bach's Chaconne (D. . and feelings. The musical notation itself contains accents of diverse types and strengths which implicitly suggest the character of each note. romantics cultivated these expressive deNineteenth-century vices. Indiana University. choices. diss. 165-72 and 195-217 in particular. composers emphasize certain notes by dynamic stress. instrumental color. duration.23 Composers furnished extensive interpretive markings in their scores-abrupt and graduated dynamics. Casals's decisions would be idiosyncratic. familiar or unexpected approach by diatonic or chromatic. frequency or infrequency of use. and make them manifest aurally. type and strength of articulation. and the extent to which he utilizes rubato to make overt those functions and hierarchies. are significant in judging Casals's interpretation: his judgment as to the function and importance of each note. indications of phrasing. Two considerations. The Sources of Casals's Interpretation Before we seek to define the moment when an artist's interpretation becomes excessively emotional. however. Such understandings will explain -not justify or excuse. 1976) explores many of those devices. Indeed the very fact that nearly all musicians furnish "character" to the notes in order to create a "musical" performance attests to a tradition or "language" in which certain musical practices are considered expressive.Sentimentality in Performance 229 and relative importance of different notes. which composers embed in the score. The preceding paragraphs merely articulate general aspects of interpretation. of Mus. if audiences did not share them. See pp. and articulation-attempting had which been the performer's prerogative. S. Performers respond to such musical stimuli. For example. to control aspects of intertempo. Furthermore. and hence meaningless. for in criticizing his performance. tension and release. motion and stasis. previously pretation 23 Robert Pfennig Murray's Evolution of Interpretation as Reflected in Successive Editions of J. Therefore Casals is absolutely correct to seek or intuit in Bach's music particular feelings and ideas.. dissonance level. conjunct or disjunct motion. Such means contrast a note with its surroundings in gradations from subtle to blatant. and tonal attraction. we should examine the factors which influenced Casals's assumptions. we unavoidably criticize the artist who made these decisions. dynamic level.

24 The purists are scandalized because I do that [Plays] because it seems that in Bach's time the staccato didn't exist. interpretation. he was strongly critical of attemptsto play this musicon baroqueinstruments. and authenticity in realizingbaroque music. light. Now Bach at that time was played like an exercise.p. [Plays] 26 Bach must be free. everything.Casalswas passionate. gay. reflecting not only the composer but also themselves. every feeling. nothing of the German. 153. the freest. Bach was a professor. sterility. the purists said that this was not Bach. Side 1 [9]. how lovely.230 The Musical Quarterly And performers conceived their role to be primarily expressive. Casals. whether playing the cello. everything. conducting Bach. Casals forcefully asserted and vigorously defended his opinions about the nature of music. every lovely. dryness. now. and academicism of "German purists. And even now many of the artists of today are afraid to play Bach because they have accepted the bad theory that the music of Bach is objective. poetic. Side 2 [10]. they were afraid. 25 26 27 Ibid. every feeling. the most profound of every feeling. free. that he knew very well his counterpoint and his fugue and. This is German. For example. Very well. Bach. the more poetic. and it is the contrary. AND NOTHING ELSE! [Plays] How beautiful. It is the purists. uhn. Ibid. When the purists hear me say you must play Bach like you play Chopin they are horrified. or proclaimingthe causeof liberty. the German tradition. the more everything. . a professor. every feeling.. the Herr Professor-hahnhh? No! Everything. and the others said that it was a real discovery." Now when I played the suites for cello alone for the first time in Germany. 24 Pablo Casals-Musician of the Century. But I laugh at them.quoted in Blum. dramatic.Bach. without any real musical meaning. at least for one century. absolutely the contrary-it is the freest. They were afraid to put something in it. Bach. tragic. lovely. [Plays] 25 Free. Thanks to the bad tradition.27 But whateverthe source of these comments. Perhaps some of Casals's ideas about interpretation result from his Catalan background and an Iberian (Mediterranean?) approach to music and life-a conception which often is more passionate than rational. An echo of national style resounds in Casals's repeated criticisms of the musical coldness. Nobody has arrivedto [sic] the expressionof Bach. Record M 30216.

32 Casals. 2S Pablo Casals-Musician of the Century.. why not accept the music of Bach with a piano?28 I don't say that it is not useful to be informed on the general history of the period in which the composer lived and worked: any cultural acquisition. 'a rubato which is not a rubato . The wind instruments in that time were all out of tune. Side 1 [9].cited in Blum.30 Rubato. He considered rubato to be inherent in music of all periods.33 When Jose Corredor asked whether an artist might "over-reach" himself in interpretation. As for the performer who plays Bach nowadays. 33 Casals. 79. I think that the piano can be much more expressive than a clavicembalo. finally. how to establish a gradation of detail in the general unity of the work.p.cited in Corredor.pp. Record M 30216. Well then. he specially ought not to be concerned with the idea of historical reconstitution. even less to be hampered by the obstacles and limitations which existed two centuries ago in the field of technique. Now we have modern systems that the wind instruments can play in tune. 184. Casals. and even then. yes-but within the bar. not mechanical.32 How curious this fetish of objectivity is! And is it not responsible for so many bad performances? There are so many excellent instrumentalists who are completely obsessed by the printed note. regular pulse. but the real artist must. 122-23. 30 31 . secondly that true rhythms come from the natural movements of man.29 Casals also rejected performances of Bach's music with a steady. . Casals.cited in Corredor.p. Bach had to write for those instruments because he had no other instruments. 146. 182-83. 29 Casals. steps and dance. and. in enriching the artist's sensibility.Sentimentality in Performance 231 I think it's ridiculous to try to play Bach today with the old instruments. without upsetting the dance character. . will make him more able to grasp all the esthetic nuances of the composition he is playing.cited in Blum.'31 The interpretation of a work must be something organic. how not to be put off by some small rhythmical liberties which the music demands.quoted in Corredor. Above all in Bach. .p. Casals replied that artistry sufficed to protect against excess. before anything else.pp. rely on his own musical sense in order to know exactly what the work is and how he himself is affected by it . Bach has written so many things for wind instruments. something which makes you know how to vary all repeated passages. whereas it has a very limited power to express what the music actually means. because his music belongs to all time and therefore when performing it one does not want to follow the prescriptions of one period. how to remember two very simple things: first that the natural origin of melody was vocal.

183. meanness and all that is incompatible with a noble mind.pp. it would be heresy.quoted in Corredor. 40 Casals. 39 Casals. intelligence and his good taste will guard him [the real artist] against taking too much liberty.quoted in Corredor. there is no emotion that has not been expressed by him.38 The value of the performer's work consists of getting as near as he can to the deepest meaning of the music he performs. On one hand. I have got used to saying that Bach is a volcano.3 A fundamental contradiction underlies Casals approach to interpretation. offers him such a rich complexity of expression.p. except stinginess. and that is what we have to express. Side 1 [9]. . Bach is universal. .p. which. and to persevere in search of my own way of feeling these works.quotedin Corredor. Therefore each generation can and should interpret his music anew.The Musical Quarterly 232 .p. for instance. 182.quoted in Corredor. Willingly or not.p.39 Composers are very grateful when the performer succeeds in realising through intuition their truest and deepest intentions.36 Yet. 185.37 What does matter is what we feel. and which the written signs of the 'printed note' can only partly suggest. The question of tempi is always decided by the intuition of the artist. Yes. In his works you find some feelings which words cannot describe or classify. in a big work. 36 37 . It is precisely his devotion and humility towards the music which will allow him to get a glimpse of the heights where hovers the creative spirit. and this really proves how insufficient and vague are the indications they can give us. 123.quotedin Corredor. we cannot reconstruct Bach's intent in any absolute sense. therefore we can discover correct interpretations by studying his music in an emotional and sympathetic manner. on the other hand. the performer is an interpreter and can only render the work through his own self.40 34 Casals. If the artist wanted to show off an artificial originality having no connection with the language the composer has used to communicate his thoughts.p.. Casals. instead of following blindly the written text. Casals.35 Bach being the universal genius. in conformity with its values and ideas. s Pablo Casals-Musician of the Century. 184-85. 38 Casals.quoted in Corredor. Record M 30216. With Bach. Bach is universal and has said in music everything that we desire in life. 110.. I knew that my duty was to reject strongly the examples and the traditions around me..

all I do is based on intuition. . He studied Bach's music lovingly and diligently. quoted in Corredor. Yet before we can begin to criticize fairly Casals's performance of Bach's saraband. as a result. quoted in Corredor. how we can detect sentimentality in Casals's performance of Bach's saraband. pp. We cannot charge Casals with failure to study carefully Bach's music. intuition remains the deciding factor. . he cautions against a type of intelligence "which is too self-sufficient": When all is said it is instinct which not only creates but directs the performance . Excess and Distortion in Musical Interpretation We have examined what Casals has done and the principles of interpretation which he has followed. he was neither ignorant nor dishonest historically. The fruitfulblending of these two qualitiesdependson the amount of each of them.. get into a muddle. he specially ought not to be concerned with the idea of historical reconstitution. . but it must be nourishedand directedby intuition. For example. Above all in Bach. his musical performances do not contradict his philosophical explanations. . and we have speculated upon the origins of his assumptions and approach. although intelligence is a powerful auxiliary. because his music belongs to all time and therefore when performing it one does not want to follow the prescriptions of one period.41 Although Casals was careful not to reject intellectual approaches. 187-88. understanding is not validation. . we must understand the bases for criticizing any interpretation and. But at issue is the means a performer uses to determine the composer's intent-specifically the 41 42 Casals. we have quoted his explanations of his musical philosophy. pp.42 And Casals's performances reflect consistently these conceptions.. 122-23. he subordinated reason to musical intuition. Intelligence helps the process of development and the progressiveintegrationof perceived forms. Casals understood well that interpretation consists of the performer seeking to understand and express the composer's intent. There are many intelligent people who think constantly and. in particular.Sentimentality in Performance 233 As for the performer who plays Bach nowadays. Casals.. . for while comprehension must necessarily precede criticism. Now we consider the basis for criticizing that performance. even less to be hampered by the obstacles and limitations which existed two centuries ago in the field of technique.

Such excess may be a mechanical approach to music which is deeply emotional. 1) A performance is excessive when it diverges so far from the written notation of the period that the composer easily could have notated it another way. Admittedly. To state the question thusly is to recognize that we must judge Casals's performance on the basis of Bach-not upon Casals's reputation and musicianship. In a non-subjective. the performer distorts the music. We ask whether he actually did so in performing the saraband. The problem in another sense it is excessive emotion-sentimentality. no other checks were necessary to limit Casals from projecting his own personality upon the music and personality of Bach. not upon the consensus of editors or performers of Bach's cello suites-not upon any source secondary to Bach. is determining when Casals's interpretation becomes excessive. Insofar as a performer serves the composer. but his performance must be judged by the degree to which it reveals Bach rather than reflects Casals. an emotional approach to music which is restrained. do the feelings and ideas which the performer expresses accurately reflect those of the composer? In one sense failure to reflect the composer's personality reflects insensitivity toward the composer. verifiable manner.234 The Musical Quarterly manner in which Casals studied Bach's music. latent levels are suppressed. when a performer's legitimate flexibility exceeds appropriate limits. non-intuitive. In short. or general failure to balance emotion with restraint. through such distortion. Casals stated explicitly that artistry suffices to restrain excess. Such excess results when a performer. Such interpretation destroys the subtle equilibrium between opposing forces which are inherent in the composer's thought and personality. 3) A performance is exaggerated when the musician makes one level of structure so obvious that secondary. to be legitimate. 2) An interpretation is excessive when its realization does not reflect or approximate the temperament of the composer. we can indeed determine when a performance becomes sentimental. if a performer's rubato destroys rhythmic effects requiring a relatively regular pulse. Certainly Casals's respect for Bach was sincere and profound. imposes his personality upon another. the performer violates a canon of restraint. that interpretation must reflect the . For example. no performer can justifiably override the composer's stated intent. knowingly or unwittingly. performance represents the musician's interpretation. but.

upon the composer's intent-not upon the critic. We learn that sarabands may have either slow or fast tempos. the critic must examine the score. Frangois Couperin and the French Classical Tradition. 44 Information contained in the table is taken from: Curt Sachs. or lentement. The French and German dances were usually slower. and thereby to perpetuate. that the meters may be 3/2. the composer's personality. World History of the Dance (New York. German sarabands of the early baroque may have been relatively fast.44 Tempo Indications Date 1677 Author/Composer Bassani for the Saraband in the Baroque Period Tempo presto and prestissimi 4" Richard Hudson. citing as many authorities as possible. we first examine other sarabands of the middle and late baroque. his criticism becomes debatable objectively and subject to confirmation. To study Bach's saraband. but by the middle and late baroque. slow dances were common. pp. appropriately. and monographs tracing the evolution of his musical style. repr." New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians. Rhythm and Tempo. To criticize a performace justly. In this sense performance carries an implicit moral obligation to recreate aurally. 311-20.43 Baroque theorists furnish much information about the tempo of sarabands (see chart below). and Wilfrid Mellers. 6/8. Sachs. or 6/4. Bach's Intent One common approach to ascertaining Bach's intent is study of the context in which Bach composed. Appendix D. 347-49. Italian-Spanish-English sarabands often differ from French-German sarabands. 1937). or modification. for example. not himself. descriptions of Bach's own performances. Some French sarabands were marked grave. of 1950 London edition (New York. trying first to ascertain the composer's aural intent and then to determine the degree to which the performer has realized or distorted it. therefore. . the writings of theorists. 492-93.Sentimentality in Performance 235 composer's intent and personality. 3/4. The Interpretation of Early Music (New York. To the extent that the critic adduces the evidence of the composer's intent from the score and measures the performer's fidelity or deviation from it. refutation. 1963). with agogic accentuation (usually a dotted quarter note) on the second beat of the simple triple meter. p. 3/8. 371. We footnote copiously. Robert Donington. "Sarabande. adagio. Casals must recreate Bach. pp. 1968). Such criticism focuses discussion. pp.

sO Ibid.. p."49 From his study of tempo indications he concludes. The difference by no means implies the ratio of 1:2. J. and had a general reputation for lasciviousness. the slow Saraband requires considerable intensity of feeling. 316.Rhythm and Tempo. Bach's Sarabandes. "The sarabande is generally written in quarter notes. 316. often of a sensuous variety. Rhythm and Tempo. Rhythm and Tempo. 46 Mellers. p. p.s5 Sachs. passionate. musicians should finally rid themselves of the traditional prejudice that the music of our ancestors was sleepy. 315. p. and grave. 48 Mellers. include some of his most impassioned harmony combined with a contemplative inwardness which is perhaps unique . 45 . slow. 5s Donington."50 Donington. 317. 49 Sachs.. 47 Sachs. in half notes. p. but the so-called sarabande tendre. 348. The quick Saraband is piquant and virile. "In the face of these unshakable testimonies. S. p. recognizes different types of sarabands: The original dance has sinuous and complicated movements. which are slow. As a muscial form. always in a slow triple 3/2 = 90 6/4 = 133 1698 Kuhnau slow 1698 Schmicerer 1705 Michel d'Affilard adagio 3 Saraband en rondeau quarter = 88 3/2 half = 72 6/4 1732 Louis-Leon Pajot (D'Onzembray) saraband 3/2 of Destouches quarter = 133 73 V2per pulse45 7846 from Issd 1737 Jacques-Alexandre La Chapelle 1752 Quantz 80 1756 Quantz 88 1787 Compan gai et amoureux 63-80 per pulse47 6348 Secondary sources also provide interesting information about the moods of these dances. on the other hand. p. 348. 335. but just a tiny shade in tempo. Curt Sachs writes.236 The Musical Quarterly c1690 James Talbot 1697? Michel L'Affillard soft..

through printed editions and recordings. and whether Bach's D minor saraband conforms to the stereotypes is moot. Ltd. Various types of sarabands existed. evidence.52 A performer seeking to justify an interpretation might easily appeal to this consensus. writing at different times about different dances. 35345 AAB 3' 34" quarter = 34 + 1 AABB 4' 11" quarter = 40 ? 1 1977 Frans Helmerson BIS LP-65 AABB 6' 44" quarter = 25 ? 1 1979 Roy Christensen AABB 6' 01" quarter = 28 ? 1 1960 1966 1973 Gasparo GS-106 1983 Paul Tortelier EMI SLS 1077723 AABB 4' 49" quarter = 35 ? 1 1983 Yo-Yo Ma CBS D3 37867 AABB 4' 31" quarter = 37 + 1 Printed Editions Becker International Music Company eighth = 88 Largo Percy Such eighth = 88 [quarter = 44] Augener. furnish little conclusive evidence for us. reveals the interpretations of twentiethcentury performers and editors (see chart below). much less conclusive. Theorists of different nations. Recordings of Bach's Saraband 1936 Pablo Casals Angel CB 3786 AABB 4' 02"t quarter = 42 ? 1 1960 August Wenzinger Birenreiter Musicaphon Pierre Fournier Archive 198186 AAB 4' 25" quarter = 27 + 1 AABB 4' 43" quarter = 36 ? 1 Janos Starker Mercury SR 3-9016 Henri Honegger Telefunken 6. Kazimierz Wilkomirski PWMEdition eighth = 80 [quarter = 40] 52 I am gratefulfor the assistanceof BrianJ. The more distinctive or original the composer. the less likely are his works to resemble those of others. unfortunately. Examination of contemporary performances. .Sentimentality in Performance 237 All of these sources. do not furnish us with strong. Hart in timingsome of these selections.

or in a tu quoque defense. conversely. in a footnote appealing to authority. Ibsen's observation that "the majority is always wrong" is often true for professional artists and scholars. its only appropriate measure is the composer's intent. Moreover. we have no assurance that the distinctive and unusual are valid. as revealed in the score. Individuality. moreover. This very silence prevents us from ascertaining whether subjective intuition. The appeal to others for support may find expression in conformity. They too furnish little help in revealing Bach's intent in the Saraband in D minor. does not reveal truth. Yet. In that process. conformity may reflect mediocrity rather than truth. consensus furnishes company. the responsible critic bears a moral obligation to the composer. Casals exaggerated greatly when he exclaimed. and such abnormality may reflect truth or monstrosity Unfortunately and fortunately. But whether others perform or think similarly does not in any way validate actions or ideas. .238 Dimitry Markevitch Presser The Musical Quarterly [eighth = 104] Jacqueline du Pre Hansen / Chester Maestoso Julius Klengel Breitkopf & Haertel Largo quarter = 52 But these indications are just as unreliable as the references of theorists and the mongraphs of scholars. Our only reliable source is the musical score which Bach supplied. The measure of excess is not determined by norms of current interpretation. for people often follow rather than lead. the interpretations of others. Consensus. While they reveal the editors' or performers' interpretations of Bach's intent. originality often confuses. they rarely explain the bases by which they arrived at their indications. consensus in performance can never establish validity. performer. and neither sincerity nor conformity affords immunity from error. by definition. is abnormality. and thereby it invites rejection. or demonstrable features within the music itself account for the editorial indications. and reader to demonstrate the specific ways which the performer realizes or distorts the composer's intent. The majority is often wrong. For example. but it does not thereby justify excess.

the notes reveal everything: the pitches. Unfortunately. and reader. PA. probably prepared her copy of the suites directly from her husband's autograph. In judging his interpretations. Casals relied upon the Anna-Magdalena Bach manuscript of the suites. Several facsimiles of the Anna-Magdalena Bach manuscript have been published: J. Bach. Six Suites for Solo Cello (Bryn Mawr. Salabert). ms.56 Scholars and editors often cite its shortcomings: lack of bowing indications.Sentimentality in Performance They always say 'play what is written'-but The art of interpretation 239 there is nothing written!53 is not to play what is written. it is the primary source for most editions. Since it is the earliest copy. Three early copies are our primary sources: the AnnaMagdalena Bach. But the manuscript contains numerous indications of phrasing. 6 Suites: Verkleinerte Facsimilie-Ausgabe nach der Handschrift von Anna Magdalena Bach (Miinchen/Basel: Reinhardt.54 Contrary to Casals's statements. and evidence of haste. The Anna-Magdalena Bach manuscript bears the number Mus. p.). more responsible to composer. though fewer than the later copies. p. S. Bach's second wife. numerous errors. there are relatively few errors. imprecise indications of the beginnings and endings of phrases. Bach P 289 (seiten 71-111). P 26. New Jersey: Paganiniana). he studied the score diligently. 1964). Diran Alexanian's edition (Paris. upon the Kellner and Westphal manuscripts as well as the Anna-Magdalena Bach source. n. legible notation reveals little evident haste.55 Bach composed the six suites for cello around 1720 in C6then for Christian Ferdinand Abel. the phrasing. 142. . ms. cited in Blum.d. s3 Casals. the edition of the suites by Paul Griimmer (Doblinge). the Kellner and Westphal copies bear the respective numbers Mus. 5s Dimitry Markevitch is careful to note that he has based his edition. cited in Blum. ms. we too must return to the score. Casals himself describes the impact of first discovering the score of Bach's saraband. They are now located in Marburg/Lahn in the Offentliche Wissenschaftliche Bibliothek. save that the beginnings and ends of phrases are often ambiguous. the Kellner. and the clear. and therefore more humble. s4 Casals. 69. and the Westphal manuscripts. Anna-Magdalena Bach. performer. ss All three manuscripts were formerly in the Preussische Staatsbibliothek in Berlin. edited by Michael Masters (Neptune. a virtuoso cellist and gambist. Bach P 804 (seiten 249-75) and Mus. and Eisenberg's Bach: Six Suites for Solo Violoncello. the durations. but we shall have to adduce the evidence of Bach's intent in order to move from subjective affirmation toward criticism which is more objective. and upon it he founded his interpretation. an autograph score in Bach's own hand does not exist. the meter.

60 Careful examination of the Anna-Magdalena Bach manuscript is rewarding. editor of Eisenberg's Bach: Six Suites for Solo Violoncello. Wenzinger. p. and two thirty-seconds. Wilkomirski. the second natural sign is redundant. Nearly all editions. First. Backer. Markevitch. according to Wolfgang Schmieder. not duple. we are safest to assume s' Bach Werke Verzeichnis (Leipzig. On occasion. as in a measure of 6/4 hemiola. Bach probably conceived the second suite not in D minor but rather in the Dorian mode. . The justification for the alternation of b-flat and b-natural in m.57 was copied in the second half of the eighteenth century. Bach calms that agitation by the cadential formula. Johann Peter Kellner (1705-1772) was Bach's student and friend. each beat eventually subdivides. made by H. Third. the second flat. Likewise. and the third natural. Again." Introduction and Explanatory Notes. Second. In m. a sixteenth. relied heavily upon the Westphal manuscript. 23 and the pitches of m. it is indeed significant. s8 Facsimilies of pages of the Kellner and Westphal manuscripts are published in Markevitch's edition. the Bach Gesellschaft59 edition relied primarily upon the Anna-Magdalena Bach score. Of particular interest are the rhythm of m. p. These two manuscripts may preserve Bach's indications of bowing.61 But such interpretations contradict Bach's written designation that the meter is 3/4-simple triple. but probably they represent the additions of the copyists. we begin with several presuppositions. Bach's indication of meter either is significant or is not. 1966). beginning in m. The safest assumption is that since Bach indicated the meter. indeed two successive three-four measures may bond together to form a rhythmic unit. Probst in 1825. the fluctuation between raised and lowered leading tone reflects a strong modal orientation. A. even in the Sarabandes (where the metre is three. 25. The first printed edition of the cello suites. Gaillard. including the Bach Gesellschaft. ornamentation. the triple meter either is or is not audible. and one measure of 3/4 generates three measures of 2/8. which. In m. If the b-flat is not an error. consider the b-flat to be an error.) rather than by key. dynamics. and tempo. a simple duple meter. 61 Michael Masters. we assume that the three-four meter is triple. if we slow a simple triple meter extensively. 5. 25. If the b is not flatted. S9 XXVIIJahrgang. cautions that "the rhythm should be preserved intact. not six!).The Musical Quarterly 240 The Kellner and Westphal manuscripts are later copies. the Anna-Magdalena Bach manuscript indicates that the first b is natural. In the AnnaMagdalena Bach manuscript the suites are designated by number (Suitte 2de.60 As we examine the score. Johann Heinrich Westphal (1774-1835) owned the third manuscript. which reinforces the excitement of the rising chromaticism in the bass. but the Bach Gesellschaft.I Teil. and Klengel editions print them as an eighth. 27. 25 is the tension which it generates in the treble line. 23 the note values of the second beat are unambiguous-four sixteenth-notes. not compound or simple duple.

melodic turning points. At least three different. in its absence we assume that the AnnaMagdalena Bach. 3) opposition of the notated triple meter (with the pulse on the quarter-note) against a duple meter of two-eight (with the pulse on the eighth-note). These assumptions are so common that we overlook them. generating and releasing rhythmic tension comparable to that which harmonic progressions and dissonances create. lists various types of accents. A composer creates primary accents by stress (qualitative or dynamic accentuation) or by duration (quantitative or agogic accentuation). and the rhythmic features which distinguish the saraband from other dances are inaudible. The Saraband in D minor contains Bach's characteristic. If we assume the contrary. weak accents at those places and a strong stress on the fourth eighth-note will produce a measure of six-eight. simplistic. 1) The difference between 3/4 and 6/8 meters lies in the relative strengths of the accents of the third. pp. Accents of diverse types and strengths coincide and oppose. we assume that Bach's notation reflects his intentions."62 which furnish the variety and opposition which intrigue. 62 63 .Sentimentality in Performance 241 that the triple meter is audible. 28-33. Principles of Rhythm (New York. Fourth. and consequently monotonous rhythms by using strong "latent groupings. repetitive. 13. changes in register. but their implications are profound. the meaning of the metric signature for composer or performer is unclear. primary types of rhythmic conflict occur in Bach's saraband: 1) conflict between 3/4 and 6/8 groupings. harmonic rhythm. Rhythmic Structure of Music. Kellner. and resolution of functional harmonies. Bach avoids mechanical. 2) struggle for dominance between the first and second beats of each measure. and fifth eighth-notes: 123456 three-four /- six-eight / /- - /- - Strong accents on the third and fifth eighth-notes will create a threefour measure. 17-18. Paul Creston. pp. Although Bach's autograph copy of the suites is not extant. at slow tempos. he creates secondary accents by ornamentation. dissonance. and Westphal manuscripts can reveal sufficient evidence of Bach's intent to warrant performance. sophisticated rhythmic accentuation. weight accents (addition of other parts).63 Cooper and Meyer. and. 1964). fourth.

changes of register occur in measures 6. 15. 64 Italian sarabands are often notated in compound duple meter. 14. articulations. and 27 are also triple. and others suggest a latent six-eight meter: there are no articulations on the third eighth-notes in measures 2. 6. some early sarabands employ extensive hemiola. as he or she decides which groupings at any particular moment are primary. But the notation of measures 2.) In Bach's D minor saraband. Within limits. weight accents. and the second pulse must generally be strong but subordinate. the saraband loses its distinctive characteristic: a strong accentuation on the second pulse rather than the downbeat-the opposing accentual strengths of the first and second pulses. 9. 10.242 The Musical Quarterly In measures 1. 12. 25. like many other sarabands. 6. 2) Bach's D minor saraband. 4. 5. the phrasing in measure 3. and harmonic rhythm are neither intuitive nor subjective. and 16 may imply strong latent six-eight characteristics. the strong agogic and weight accents on the third eighth-notes. and the avoidance of articulation on the fourth all create a simple triple meter. 13. the location and primary strength of the downbeat must be audible. changes in melodic direction. 8. 4. may suggest a duple division. 19. the harmonic rhythm. it becomes an anacrusis. and the compound duple is latent.64 These durations. But in a simple triple meter. for the downbeat usually bears the strongest accent. and the notated second beat becomes the de facto. and 28. strong accentuation of the second pulse creates tension between the first and the second beats. but their presence reveals the sophistication of Bach's music and personality. 16. pp. 11. But if the first pulse becomes weaker than the second. 6. and the beaming of measures 2. They are inherent in Bach's music. changes in register. (See Hudson. aural downbeat: J I >l Iversus If that happens. . 23. 20. and possibly 24. 4. 16. 490-91. 8. is characterized by second beats which bear strong agogic accentuation and feminine cadences. 18. Without question the simple triple meter predominates. Thus the notated triple meter must be audible. 21. 22. a performer may legitimately emphasize or deemphasize them. 8. measures 7. 17. 26. the simple triple meter dominates. suggestions of hemiola are latent.

the rhythmic tensions characteristic of Bach's saraband disappear: opposition between three-four and six-eight meters and the struggle for dominance between the first and second pulses of each measure. the slower the tempo. For example. no single metronome setting will apply to all music and all individuals. The question therefore arises. 21. accelerandos. diss. the stronger the primary accents become and the weaker the secondary accents.67 who found that the perception of temporal intervals becomes increasingly inaccurate from a pulse of 50 to a pulse of 20. p. the less audible the hemiola becomes.D. Yet psychological studies of audition. Casals statements about rubato vary.. 66 A Theory of Meter (London. Carl Alette65 and Seymour Chatman66 place the lower limit at = 40. vague appeals to musicianship or artistry to defend one's personal perceptions are ususally more passionate than substantive. and observations by musicologists and music theorists suggest that such subdivision begins somewhere around fifty beats per minute. the more irregular the pulse. become excessive when they disturb Bach's exquisite accentual balances.Sentimentality in Performance 243 3) Finally." whose cold interpretations reduce the pulse to monotonous 6s Theories of Rhythm (Ph. if we slow the tempo of simple triple meter. 13-15. But if the audible meter becomes duple. . 67 Les Structures rhythmiques (Louvain. with a corresponding loss of sophistication which the latent groupings furnish. 115. when do we begin to subdivide each pulse and thereby transform the meter into simple duple? Obviously individuals differ significantly. 1956). an informal sampling of musicians. the tenuto. debatable-tension with an audible pulse on the quarter note. which are significant and legitimate aspects of interpretation. Chatman cites the work of Paul Fraisse. University of Rochester. the more flexible the pulse. Variations in tempo created by rubato. The more steady the pulse. it may overwhelm the downbeat. and a duple two-eight meter. the clearer these metric subtleties sound. assuming that Bach's saraband is slow-an assumption which involves the relative term "slow" and which is readily exists between the notated three-four meter. p. pp. if a performer lengthens significantly the second pulse. and ritardandos. 1965). the stronger the possibility that a duple two-eight meter will replace the notated three-four meter. 1951). He berates the "purists. Therefore. with an audible pulse on each eighth-note.

such as C. For example: In general.p. 1753. E..7 69 Blum. reliable theorist. quotingC. 81. 72 ." though Robert Donington observes that this comment "does not tell us how lively or when. 7 Citedin Donington. p.. Bach and Friedrich Agricola mention that Bach's tempos often were "very lively. P.p. it defies And Casals's attitude toward rubato adequate description. E.6"" often finds strong echoes in performances of the suites by others. but it does tell us not to be afraid of a virtuosotempo in movements which suggestit. we find conflicting statements. not even music based mainly on sequences. on the other hand. will stand a completely rigid tempo... P. 7o Casals.71 Yet the transcriptionof the D minor sarabandrevealsthat in performanceCasalsoften did not do this. 146. Bach. Interpretation of Early Music. it is a Spanishdance which used to be performed in the churches and is still danced in Sevilla. 82. No music. Casalsoften noted that time borrowed from one note mustbe repaidratherthan stolen: Time lost on expressiveaccents being placed on the first note of a group. We must not be lost between one beat and another. E. David Blum observes that "Casals' rubato was founded on an extraordinarily subtle give and take of time-values. is to be regainedby the interveningnotes.Essay.C.ritenutos arebetter suited to slow or comparativelymoderatetempos than to very rapidones. p. Most baroque music needs considerableflexibility.70 A sarabandeis not a romance or an adagio. Many students of baroque performance practices echo Robert Donington's caution: One of our most harmful reactions against over-romanticizing early music has been the sewing-machine rhythm. 68 7' Blum.. Interpretation of Early Music. . ."72 Even within a single. P. 363.The Musical Quarterly 244 regularity. Donington. 318. Bach's. p. p.. It does not justify empty speed. we find evidence for both rigid and flexible pulses. Robert Donington.69 Yet.cited by Blum. If we seek in theoreticalsourcesto justify only one view about rubato. or on the highestnote. 367.

that of the Sixth Partita. etc. 76 Erwin Bodky. As for sarabands in 3/2 meters. this applies to [ornamental] pauses. secondary ones. pauses are usually prolonged beyond their strict pauses. 1762. which are apt to cause the tempo to drag. That will require a relatively steady pulse. but it would lose the emotionalintensity which Casals'srubatoimparts to the slow tempo. He writes. I find a tempo around = 58 or 60 attractive. closes. can be executed at this speed and is thereby brought into closest relation with the beginning of the Toccata of the same Partita with which it is thematically so obviously linked" (p.76 It would make the sarabandsound far more dynamic than Casalsdoes. citing C. 368. P. p.75 Since the theoreticalsourcesare contradictory.. P. for it is based not upon subjectiveintuition but rather 74 Donington. Bach's Essay. we shall choose a tempo which will be sufficientlyfast to preservethe characteristicsof the saraband -to avoid subdivisionof the three-fourmeter into two-eight. which is a very difficult achievement. J = 60 as the speed of the unit of beat" (p. the performer should avoid numerous and exaggerated ritenutos.we must decide upon Bach's music itself. the attempt should be made to hold the tempo at the end of a piece just as it was at the start.74 And: In slow or moderate tempos. however.Sentimentality in Performance 245 Yet: In expressive playing. .characterless-"German purism. . primary and thereby overwhelms latent. and both types share M. p. argues for a tempo at least it strengthensgroupingsalready rubato when will avoid we Second. Casalswould probablyconsidersuch an interpretationcold. Bach's Essay. Even the most stylized of all sarabandes. he states "Sarabandes in 3/2 time are in no way different from those in 3/4 time. "Sarabandes could hardly have been played slower than = 60. It is usual to draw out somewhat and depart to some extent from the strict measure of the bar. quoting C. 1960). 368. The expression itself tends to bring this mistake about. Bodky suggests a minimum tempo of for 3/2 meters). = 60 (or I = 60 For Bach's keyboard sarabands. First.M. 132). impersonal. II.. the passage [thus] acquires an impressiveness which makes it stand out. . E. J . 7 Donington. we will utilize slight rubato when the meter is unambiguousand when latent groupings areabsent. as well as to [plain] length . In spite of beautiful details. Third. The Interpretation of BACH's Keyboard Works (Cambridge. 1787 edition." But the precedingparagraphsargue that such a performancerevealsmore of Bach than does Casals'sinterpretation. 143). E. would avoid upsetting Bach's delicate rhythmic balances.That = 44 and preferably50 or above. The minimal use of rubato.

vibrato. But that freedom must not destroy other rhythmic elements or distort the distinctive characteristics of a dance. Intuition is both irrefutable and inconclusive because it is unverifiable. p. more profound. Many of Casals's assumptions about interpretation are valid. Insofar as Casals's tempo = the J makes meter rather than triple. and intonation are effective and appropriate. and 10 of the transcription. The characteristics of the music inherent in the notation and the arguments derived from it. 2. or confirmation. 4."79 77 For example. and tempo-are inherently neither inappropriate nor sentimental. and composition. Casals emphasizes the primary groupings. and ornamental functions differ in effect and hence importance. On notes inegales see Donington. 6. and his dynamic accentuation. vibrato.7' Casals's means of interpretation-rubato. however. Conclusions Casals's interpretation of Bach's D minor saraband reflects both sentiment and sentimentality. But while Casals's emotional interpretaion is powerful. Stil. erweiterte Auflage (Hamburg. 1981). cited by Blum. . for performers are not created in the image of a metronome. For example. 78 The presence of notes inigales is not directly applicable to Casals's use of rubato in his realization of Bach's saraband. passing. 1. correction.246 The Musical Quarterly upon Bach's musical notation. 8. which he does not detect or intuit. 386-97 and Erwin Griitzbach. 79 Casals. the degree of rhythmic freedom may be extensive. By strengthening long notes with accents uncalled for in the score. and more sensitive because it is powerful emotion restrained. all notes are not equal: structural.und Spielprobleme bei der Interpretation der 6 Suiten fiir Violoncello solo senza Basso von Johann Sebastian Bach BWV 1007-1012. it is ex( 41-43) duple and slow To sentimental. depending upon the period. In music of all periods a performer may indeed make slight adjustments in duration.77 Yet that assertion. and. 21. the composer means the range of piano. 59-65. He realized correctly that "When we see piano. pp. see mm. are indeed open to refutation. by itself. 2. but simultaneously he destroys counterbalancing groupings. is incomplete and hence untrue. intonation. emotional cessively gain intensity Casals sacrifices Bach's subtle rhythmic equilibrium. pp. Casals thereby exaggerates-sentimentalizes-the sentiment and equilibrium of Bach. composer. bowing. Bach's intensity is stronger.

personal feelings upon the musical expression of another. restraint. as expressed directly via his music. unreconciled. seeks to serve the composer by entering his mind. in order to reflect the composer's personality. lofty. Casals's rhythmic laxity and his melodic-harmonic scrupulousness reflects a fundamental imbalance in his interpretation between feeling and control. Rather than recognizing and cherishing Bach's rhythmic subtleties. Casals generates strong personal emotion by an immoderately slow tempo and by inordinate rubato-rhythmic freedoms unjustified by any explicit or implicit evidence in the score. Casals had no means of recognizing when his feelings overwhelmed those of Bach. seeing in others only reflections of himself.Sentimentality in Performance 247 These observations reveal Casals's high level of musical sensitivity and musicianship. First. creator and performer. particularly when a performer minimizes which help reason. Casals believed musical artistry alone sufficed to create emotional empathy with the composer. Casals's interpretation thus distorts central characteristics of Bach's music. had he chosen. and elegant as artistry does not protect an individual from projecting inappropriate. Unfortunately. at the most profound level. The sentimentality evolves from four sources. placing performer before composer. an intimate spiritual union which links the deepest levels of human psyche across time and space-indeed. Casals does not enter Bach's personality and music deeply: the two men. across death. Casals chose to treat temporal phenomena with a freedom which he never would have applied to pitch. But concomitant with sensitivity is susceptibility to emotional excess. Casals personally was insensitive to the person of Bach in the same way that an insensitive person dominates a conversation and projects his views upon others. Second. emotion and reason. such performance is not the submersion of a sensitive performer in the music of a sensitive composer. and although he was sincere. and historical authenticity-forces establish equilibrium. But the appeal to a concept as vague. or academicism-reflects . Casals's name-calling-his sterotyping of restraint as German coldness. remain separate musicians. purism. formalism. Casals destroyed them. Although Casals was sensitive to musical nuance. rather. Third. His rhythmic modifications blatantly accelerate and retard the pulse. he readily changes durations which Bach might have easily so notated. A sensitive performer.

The best check to our pride is an obligation to adduce the evidence upon which we make our decisions so that others may more readily confirm or refute our interpretation. but the inherent characteristics of the music itself.248 The Musical Quarterly profound insensitivity. Like all people. Casals nevertheless distorted Bach's music and personality. Fourth. refusing to transform them into absolute convictions. . Perhaps too. such conviction is a form of vanity. incoherence or haughty silence fosters or conceals insensitivity. To preserve durational relationships within a relatively regular pulse does not necessarily produce a mechanical or insensitive performance. Instead he embraced the expressive possibilities of rubato without recognizing that rubato destroys other effects just as expressive. Despite a pure and noble intent. unquestionably true. Casals was both product and victim of his experiences and assumptions. The pursuit of truth demands that we continually doubt our assumptions. Casals had little understanding of either the different types and strengths of musical accentuation or the rhythmic effects which require relative regularity of pulse. must dictate that appropriateness. rather than a performer's intuition. Certainly rubato is appropriate at times in Bach. Casals would have been far wiser to have embraced his critics. the worse we may err. But the more ferocious our conviction that our most profound beliefs are absolutely.