Reading list

Bach Cello Suites Workshop Readings


Jennifer Morsches Lecture notes - from July 27, 2021 talk, 7:00 pm 

 - "Playing bass lines in the context of Bach's Cello Suites and Cantatas"  



Not required reading, but enjoyable!

Click here for a printable pdf of this list of books

The Cello Suites by  Eric Siblin - Crows Nest, N.S.W. : Allen and Unwin, 2011

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.


Play it again : an amateur against the impossible   by Alan Rusbridger, London : Jonathan Cape, 2013

Rusbridger's description of mastering the Chopin Ballade is hugely engaging, yet his subject is clearly larger than any one piece of classical music. Play It Again deals with focus, discipline, and desire but is, above all, about the sanctity of one's inner life in a world dominated by deadlines and distractions.


The Late Starters Orchestra  by Ari L. Goldman, Chapel Hill : Algonquin, 2015

Goldman led a rich, full life in his late 50s, with family, faith, and career (former New York Times reporter, professor of journalism at Columbia, author of three books, including the best-selling The Search for God at Harvard, 1991). But when he took his cello to his first rehearsal of the New York Late Starters String Orchestra, his “middle-aged musical obsession” blossomed. 


Never too Late : my musical life story by John Caldwell Holt,  Ticknall, Derbyshire : Education Now and Lighthouse books : 1992, c 1978

“If I could learn to play the cello well, as I thought I could, I could show by my own example that we all have greater powers than we think; that whatever we want to learn or learn to do, we probably can learn; that our lives and our possibilities are not determined and fixed by what happened to us when we were little, or by what experts say we can or cannot do.”


* Note: Chapter in "Why we Sleep : unlocking the power of sleep and dreams" by Matthew P. Walker : New York, NY Scribner, an imprint of Simon & Schuster, Inc., 2017

A section of his chapter, called "Sleep for other types of memory" discusses Dr. Walker's research to try to understand how during sleep the brain sorts out errors after a full night of sleep.  "In other workds, your brain will continue to improve skill memories in the absence of any further practice." p. 125

Dr. Ewan McNay's reading list about Music and the Brain:

This is your brain on music : understanding a human obsession by Daniel Levitin : London Atlantic 2006

Uploaded Image: /uploads/Ewan, Margaret and Marc.jpgThis is the first book to offer a comprehensive explanation of how humans experience music and to unravel the mystery of our perennial love affair with it. Using musical examples from Bach to the Beatles, Levitin reveals the role of music in human evolution, shows how our musical preferences begin to form even before we are born and explains why music can offer such an emotional experience.

 Musicophiliaby Oliver Sacks, London : Picador, 2018 (new edition)

Revised and Expanded. With the same trademark compassion and erudition he brought to The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat, Oliver Sacks explores the place music occupies in the brain and how it affects the human condition. In Musicophilia, he shows us a variety of what he calls “musical misalignments.” Among them: a man struck by lightning who suddenly desires to become a pianist at the age of forty-two; an entire group of children with Williams syndrome, who are hypermusical from birth; people with “amusia,” to whom a symphony sounds like the clattering of pots and pans; and a man whose memory spans only seven seconds-for everything but music. Illuminating, inspiring, and utterly unforgettable, Musicophilia is Oliver Sacks' latest masterpiece.

Listen to an interview with him recorded on March 21, 2019 on WAMC, Northeast Public Radio.