The question as to whether the Bach cello suites can be as effective on the viola da gamba as the cello is completely subjective. Having played the same Suite on cello and viola da gamba, in my opinion, with transposition of key, each instrument sings at its most expressive range. This suite in the key of C major for the viola da gamba enables the top string of the instrument to be used in the same way as G major and the top string of the cello.
My main source of bowings is from the Manuscript by Anna Magdalena Bach, which is the first copy as the original in Bach’s hand does not exist. There are many ambiguities in the manuscript as it is often unclear where the slurs are marked. For this edition I have marked bowings that make the most of the viol’s resonance. For example, in the Prelude I have left the first semiquaver on a separate bow with the following three notes on a slur. This enables an easier string cross in bar 2 and in subsequent bars and leaves the C string ringing.
Edited by Jacqui Robertson-Wade