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Tone Bach cello suite


Northern California
I was just going thru a box of music related stuff that I picked up ages ago. I found the J.S. Bach cello suites transcribed for sax by Trent Kynaston. Now I have no background in classical music at all but I started working on the first couple of pages and ... wow! What a lovely piece of music - that J.S. Bach wrote some damn good tunes!

It's really difficult and no really good opportunities to take a breath --- I guess you don't play it at a steady tempo (?) so you can catch a breath.

I have been doing mouthpiece refacing work on some very aggressive tenor pieces (Dukoff, Berg, Guardala etc.) that had been damaged and needed restoration and thought this Bach piece is a really nice test of the responsiveness with all the large jumps. And while it is probably hilarious to play Bach on metal Dukoff or metal Berg I am really enjoying it a lot and it's probably going to make me a better player in the process. Now I have to figure out how to phrase these lines so I can catch some air. I suppose I could break out my old didgeridoo and see if I can remember how to circular breath again and try to apply that technique but somehow I don't think that would lend itself to the Bach suite.

I'm not at a place where I dare post a recording yet ... but maybe I'll try to record a few bars of this one of these days.
I performed the first movement of Bach's A minor violin concerto in a college recital, so I know what you mean by breathing. In my understanding there are 3 choices: do a brief pause to breathe in a musically appropriate spot, do circular breathing, or leave out one or more notes to take a breath without a halt in the tempo. I chose the first, but marked in the music where to breathe and practiced the same way every time.
I know I am late but playing Bach is a task of a lifetime :)
Circular breathing is a good proposition. It has been quite common in Bach's times and some pieces for wind instruments are plainly unplayable without circular breathing.
If would suggest to listen to some of Bachs oboe works. You'll find that there are sometimes extremely long phrases seemingly without breathing. But keep in mind circular breathing is a bit harder on the saxophone than on the oboe because the saxophone requires a much more breath. You'll never ever be able to empty your lung on a modern oboe. It is no fake: this guy breathes out at the end of the Video with the rest of his air in his lungs;):

I found a interpretation of the Cello Suites in baritone Saxophone which I like a lot. This guy makes it well without circular breathing. The articulation is beautiful. Maybe this could be an inspiration for you.

And always keep in mind: Original baroque music is never ever played like it is written down. This would have been an affront. If you like to go deeper into this I suggest Quantz's "Versuch" (the part about ) which is for flute but I found it helpful even for more modern music especially chapters 8 and 9 but also in part the chapters 6, 12, 13, 14 and 15. To make a long story short: you are expected from a baroque audience to add plenty of proper articulations while you follow the rules.
The Bach cello suites are tough enough on cello and some of them are at virtuoso level. I can now play most of the first suite on cello... I've played some on sax as well where they present different challenges. As a woodwind player, you have to treat it the way you do when singing Bach - you just have to insert breaths where needed.

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