This thesis explores the musical and historical aspects of two of the greatest solo works for the cello: Suite No. 6 in D major, BWV 1012 by Johann Sebastian Bach and the Sonata for Solo Cello, Op. 8 by Zoltán Kodály. The thesis and creative project consists of a researched paper of approximately 30 pages of historical and musical analysis on both pieces and the “defense” was a recital where I performed both pieces memorized with an informed approach. Part I explores of Bach’s Suite No. 6 in D major, BWV 1012, and Section 1 includes a biography and historical context during the period in which the sixth suite was written. Section 2 consists of an analysis of all six movements (Prelude-Allemande-Courante-Sarabande-Gavottes I and II-Gigue). The analysis explores the German dance form of the suite movements and how they are relevant to the sixth suite, as well as musical aspects that make the sixth suite unique. Part II explores Kodály’s Sonata for Solo Cello, Op. 8 that has a similar structure as Part I with a Section 1 of biography and historical context during the period of the sonata, and a Section 2 analysis. Section 1 explores Kodály’s life and studies in folk music that is relevant to the Sonata, and Section 2 musical analysis with points of relevance to the Hungarian language folk song. The Sonata consists of three lengthy movements (Allegro maestoso ma appassionato-Adagio con grand espressione-Allegro vivace) and the analysis consists of formal, musical, and a few pedagogical approaches. The thesis is rounded out with a conclusion of personal reflection added during the revision process. This musical and historical analysis greatly informed my performance of these works and the “defense” recital was highly successful.
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