Suite Inserts

Research output: Non-textual formComposition


Suite Inserts (solo cello and laptop) adapts the form of four dances from the Bach Cello Suites – two Allemandes, a Courante, and a Minuet – and abstracts them to create four new pieces totalling ten minutes in length. It is written for cellist Audrey Riley (Icebreaker, Coldplay, Muse, Gavin Bryars, Merce Cunningham) with whom I worked closely to create a bank of sounds and melodic gestures for electronic processing that accompanies and contextualises the live cello part.

Suite Inserts is written to be interpolated into a performance of the first three Bach Cello Suites and was commissioned by DRS (Dance Research Studio) for Jacky Lansley’s contemporary dance piece Guest Suites. Choreography to Suite Inserts and the Bach Cello Suites (performed live by Audrey Riley, and on historic recording by Pablo Casals) will be made by Jacky Lansley. In addition to the new material, I am also responsible for the overall sound design of Guest Suites.

The contemporary condition is a complicated one. It is not simply about privileging the here and now, the latest and most fashionable, but about situating this alongside our understanding of the past and our hopes for the future. Bach’s Cello Suites remain a touchstone for all artists, but do they allow contemporary practitioners space for innovation? Research has shown that some of Bach’s solo string music is based on inaudible cantus firmi and Suite Inserts explores how contemporary dance choreographed to the original Bach can reach back to 18thC. and embody a physical cantus that in turn supports the construction of new musical architectures.

Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2012


  • Composition
  • Dance

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