Over the past few weeks I have been learning, and now am memorizing, the Sarabande from Bach’s First Suite for Violoncello. This is a shorter movement than the first three that I have been learning and memorizing this year, but it is perhaps the biggest challenge. The slow tempo requires perfect intonation and exact meter. The chords have to be perfectly tuned. But the resulting music, when you get close to what it should sound like, is heavenly. Such beautiful harmonies. Playing this music, filled with these harmonies and sadness, nevertheless brings a smile to my face.
Here’s a link to a performance of this Sarabande by Yo-Yo Ma from this March, part of a performance dedicated to the people of Japan: