Thursday, December 3, 2015

Bach, Casals & The Six Suites for 'Cello Solo: Volumes 1-4 by Steven Hancoff ((Book Spotlight and GIVEAWAY))

Bach #1

Bach #2

Bach #3

Bach #4

Book Details:

Book Title: Bach, Casals & The Six Suites for 'Cello Solo: Volumes 1-4 by Steven Hancoff

Category: Adult non-fiction, 1189 pages

Genre: Biography / Music

Publisher: iTunes

Release date: June 2015

Tour dates: Nov 30 - Dec 18, 2015

Content Rating: G

Book Description:


A Totally Immersive Multimedia Experience

Richly Detailed Text Embedded with More Than 1,000 Illustrations Illuminating Bach’s Masterpiece, from Its Creation to Its Legacy

Bach, Casals and the Six Suites for ’Cello Solo and 3-CD set Audio Recording of ’Cello Suites to be Released June 23rd

Exclusively on iTunes and CD Baby

Includes Hancoff’s Complete Recording Of His Acoustic Guitar Transcription of Bach’s ’Cello Suites

From tragedy to transcendence is the theme that embodies the essence of the life and work of Johann Sebastian Bach. “This man, ‘the miracle of Bach,’ as Pablo Casals once put it, led a life of unfathomable creativity and giftedness on the one hand and neglect and immense tragedy on the other,” says Hancoff.

Bach’s life was rife with hardship and tragedy from the start. By the time he was nine years old, he had witnessed the deaths of three siblings and then, within a year, his father and mother also passed away.

For all his education and talent, however, his first job was serving as a lackey for a drunkard duke. Subsequently, he spent the next fifteen years in the employ of Weimar’s harshly ascetic Duke Wilhelm Ernst, who cared little for music. When he was twenty-two, he married the love of his live, his distant cousin, Maria Barbara Bach. During the thirteen years they were married, she bore him seven children, three of whom died at birth.

In 1717, Prince Leopold of Cöthen offered Bach a position as the musical director for Cöthen. Bach jumped at the chance. The officials of Weimar, however, threw him in jail for “the crime” of daring to resign his present position. Still, Bach was on the verge of a career breakthrough.

Three years into his happy and contented tenure in Cothen, Prince Leopold and Bach visited the spa town of Carlsbad for a month of vacationing and music-making. Unfortunately, upon his return Bach learned of the death of his wife and then only when he entered into his home. Imagine the shock, the impact. He never even discovered the cause of death.

Yet this tragic setback in Bach’s life was a major turning point because he came to grips with his personal tragedy by unleashing a flood of masterpieces for which he is and will be forever revered. First came the Six Violin Sonatas and Partitas for Violin Solo and then the Six Suites for ’Cello Solo.

In the ’Cello Suites we hear Bach expressing his own seeking, yearning, love, loss, sorrow, grief and determination and their overtones of surrender, resolution affirmation and transcendence. He aspired to articulate an ultimate personal confession, a revelation, entirely unique, entirely sublime, as an ultimate act of artistic and creative testimony, a heavenly statement about his own life and even of life itself—as a final gift and an enduring, heavenly send-off for his beloved wife.

Bach, Casals and the Six Suites for ’Cello Solo invites readers and music lovers into a unique experience, contained in an immersive four-volume e-book from Steven Hancoff – a virtuoso musician’s restless, passionate, multimedia exploration of a musical masterpiece that only grows in stature almost three centuries after it was written.

The many fascinating and inspiring aspects of the book include:

• How Bach struggled and overcame adversity and the lessons his example offer us today.

• The ultimate meaning of the Six Suites for ’Cello.

• How almost all of Bach’s works would have nearly sunk into oblivion were it not for the extraordinary efforts of Sara Levy, the great aunt of Felix Mendelssohn, to rescue them.

• How Felix Mendelssohn singlehandedly created with the performance of the St. Matthew Passion a Bach renaissance and a legacy that continues to be enjoyed to the present day.

• The miraculous discovery of the six ’Cello Suites by Pablo Casals in a Barcelona thrift shop and why he studied them for twelve years before performing them in public.

• What Pablo Casals meant when he spoke of “the miracle of Bach.” Bach, Casals and the Six Suites for ’Cello Solo promises to be an adventure for anyone fascinated by the enduring power of music, art and why they matter.

Buy the music & ebooks: iTunes

Meet the author:

Steve Hancoff began playing guitar when he was 13 years old, captivated by the folk music craze of the 1960s. Within a year he was performing in coffeehouses around Baltimore and Washington, D.C.

For nearly 15 years, he toured the world—about 50 countries—as an official Artistic Ambassador representing the United States of America. His recordings include Steel String Guitar, New Orleans Guitar Solos, Duke Ellington for Solo Guitar, and The Single Petal of A Rose. He is also the author of Acoustic Masters: Duke Ellington for Fingerstyle Guitar and New Orleans Jazz for Fingerstyle Guitar. He is a graduate of St. John’s College, home of the “100 Great Books of the Western World” program and has a Masters degree in clinical social work. He is a psychotherapist, a Rolfer, and a practitioner of Tai Chi. An avid hiker, he is also a member of the Grand Canyon River Guides Associations.

Connect with the author: Website   ~  Twitter  ~   Facebook

Subscribe to Steven's Hancoff's work on YouTube

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Interview with Steven Hancoff

Do you remember the first book you read?

No. I don’t remember any time when I was not reading a book. But I remember that in first grade, the class was divided into three reading groups: the teacher, Miss Bean, assigned me to be the teacher of the group of kids who read least well!

What makes you laugh/cry?

Beth, my other half, makes me laugh – a lot. She somehow sees humor almost everywhere. She’s really the one who brought laughter into my life. I tend to cry over the experience of deep connection or deep feeling rather than deep pain. So, my tears tend to be tears of poignancy, or of being moved, rather than tears of rage or pain.

Is there one person past or present you would like to meet and why?

Way more than one. Bach, of course. Shakespeare, Newton… I would love to have been on the Beagle with Darwin. Why is obvious… theirs are the shoulders of modernity upon which we all stand. Euclid – I would love to know what motivated Euclid to spend his life constructing proofs of apparent reality.

What do you want written on your head stone and why?

I don’t know. I’ve once heard that Mel Blanc (the cartoon voice of Porky Pig, Bugs Bunny, et al, had inscribed Th-Th-Th-That’s All, Folks! on his) How about: He lived a long, creative and adventure-filled life with his beloved, his soul’s twin. Many people the world over were touched by his music and his writing.

Other than writing do you have any hobbies?

No hobbies. Back in 1981 I had to make the choice whether to be a full-time guitarist or a full-time whitewater guide on the Colorado River in Grand Canyon. I chose guitar. But I still love to get on the water.

Beth and I love to look at art together. Living these years near to Washington, DC, we haunt the National Gallery of Art and the Phillips Collection.

What TV shows/films do you enjoy watching?


Favorite foods?

On tour in so many countries, many times people insisted on taking me to their favorite restaurants, or cooking their favorite dishes at home. Favorite of all time was centolla (kind of like Alaskan king crab) in Ushuaia, Argentina; certain vegetable dishes (whose names I have no idea of) all over China, goat prepared over an open wood fire in Yemen, sushi, & in Israel the way restaurants put out about half a dozen different exotic salads on the table as soon as you sit down. I discovered I did not much go for kangaroo in Australia or pickled pigs ears in China!

Do you have any advice for other writers?

Do what you love (whether you are a writer or not). And delve deeper, even when you think you have already gone as deep as you can. There is always more. As Paul Verlaine once said, “A great work of art is never completed; it is only abandoned.”


Note from Me:

As a gift, I was sent the CD set, The Six Suites for 'Cello Solo, for Acoustic Guitar by Steven Hancoff. While I'm not required to review it, I did want to briefly mention how much I've enjoyed it! As a way to relax, I frequently turn to classical type music these days. This music has been relaxing to me, and has also been a pure pleasure to listen to!

1 comment:

  1. Hancoff's fervor for the Bach suites echoes Casals’ devotion… strains of music dovetail with what is the largest collection of Bach-inspired visual art ever amassed… It is an antique subject elegantly rendered in an impossibly light 21st-century container. – Roxane Assaf, Huffington Post, writing about the iBook

    Dear Bluenose,

    Thank you.

    Eight years! Eight years ago, I started the process of transcribing Bach’s masterpiece Six Suites for Cello Solo for my acoustic guitar. My only intention was to transcribe and then record them. But the more I worked, the more I felt a need to learn about the man, and especially the circumstances of his life, when he composed the Cello Suites. And the more I discovered, the more questions and ideas arose …until I began to realize that this was not simply a music project, but this was transforming itself into a life’s work. Fulfilling that mission became my purpose.

    And now, the project is done and released. And I want to tell you how much I appreciate your helping to make this work known to the world.

    I have come to feel that the saga I have discovered and articulated in the iBooks is the pre-eminent and most grand and by far the most profoundly serendipitous legend of Western culture. I intend to be touring the country with a multimedia presentation of it, telling the story with slideshow and video – pictures galore -- over the next years. The presentation will be entertaining and enlightening.

    Thanks again…

    Steven Hancoff