Guest Post with Steven Hancoff, Author of “Bach, Casals and the Six Suites for Cello Solo”

November 30, 2015 at 12:07 pm | Posted in Books | 1 Comment
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Congratulations on the release of your multimedia biography about Johann Sebastian Bach: Bach ibook vol 1_0504.pdfBach, Casals and the Six Suites for Cello Solo. Can you describe this project and tell us what compelled you to put it together?

Here’s a Synopsis:

From Tragedy to Transcendence:

The Six Suites for ‘Cello Solo

by J. Sebastian Bach

Steven Hancoff

Acoustic Guitar

I have transcribed and recorded the thirty-six masterpieces that comprise J. S. Bach’s Cello Suites on acoustic guitar—almost three hours of music.

I have also written a four-volume, highly interactive iBook: Bach, Casals and The Six Suites for ‘Cello Solo — biographies of Bach and of Pablo Casals, the man who rescued the Suites from oblivion. This work is anecdotal rather than technical, describing the lives of these great men in the context of their times as I have come to fathom them—as fascinating, illuminating, and inspiring artists, and as human beings challenged, like all of us, by the demands life.

In addition to the storytelling, the book is highly illustrated, with about 1,000 period pictures – portraits, oils, watercolors, stained glass, photographs, etchings and engravings, documents, sculptures, statues and monuments. These pictures illustrate the text, and make the e-book very colorful and accessible.

In addition, more than 300 contemporary artists have contributed hundreds of works of contemporary art, all of which is inspired by J. S. Bach and Pablo Casals. This is the most comprehensive art book devoted to Bach and Casals that has ever been compiled.

To tell the story of the Cello Suites, I have also created and embedded 25 beautiful and compelling videos.

Not only that but the written transcriptions — the scores – will be made available for free so that guitarists who wish to learn these pieces can try their hands at them.

Here we have a set of music by Bach never before performed on acoustic guitar, accompanied by entertaining, easy-to-read, stunning and informative biographies in the form of a visually bountiful, highly interactive e-book.

No, I cannot tell you what compelled me to do this. It more or less feels like it is my destiny to have done this. A music reviewer said that I was “called.” I know that cello is a one-note-at-a time instrument, while guitar is idiomatically suited to play harmonies, bass lines and chords. So, the creative juice is in harmonizing the Cello Suites while still playing all of Bach’s notes, and staying true to the profundity of his musical and emotional intent.

In order to fulfill this intention, I started to read about the man, then think about it, how did he come to compose this music at this time in his life. I kept on reading, and thinking about it, and writing, and talking to people… and eventually this iBook project got born.

If you would like to listen to interviews with other authors and professionals please go to www.kingdomhighlights.org where they are available On Demand.

To listen to 24 hours non-stop, commercial free Christian music please visit our internet radio station www.kingdomairwaves.org

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Book Review: “Bach, Casals & The Six Suites for ‘Cello Solo: Volumes 1-4 by Steven Hancoff

November 30, 2015 at 11:42 am | Posted in Books | Leave a comment
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Steven Hancoff in his new book, “Bach ibook vol 1_0504.pdfBach, Casals & The Six Suites for ‘Cello Solo:  Volumes 1-4″

From the back cover:  FROM TRAGEDY TO TRANSCENDENCE

ENTER THE CREATIVE WORLD OF J.S. BACH IN INTERNATIONALLY RENOWNED GUITARIST STEVEN HANCOFF’S GROUNDBREAKING FOUR-VOLUME E-BOOK: BACH, CASALS AND THE SIX SUITES FOR ’CELLO SOLO

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 Released 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.

If you would like to listen to interviews with other authors and professionals please go to www.kingdomhighlights.org where they are available On Demand.

To listen to 24 hours non-stop, commercial free Christian music please visit our internet radio station www.kingdomairwaves.org

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from IRead Book Tours.   I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 <http://www.access.gpo.gov/nara/cfr/waisidx_03/16cfr255_03.html> : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Book Review: “Murder on Safari” by Peter Riva

November 29, 2015 at 8:23 pm | Posted in Books | Leave a comment
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Peter Riva in his new book, “Murder on Safari book coverMurder on Safari” Book One in the Pero Baltazar Series published by Yucca Publishing gives us Terrorists are planning an attack and time is running out!.

From the back cover:  Only a reality TV producer and an expert safari guide can stop a terrorist attack.

Every adventure starts at the fringes of civilization. For expert safari guide Mbuno and wildlife television producer Pero Baltazar, filming in the wild of East Africa should have been a return to the adventure they always loved. This time they’d be filming soaring vultures in northern Kenya and giant sea crocodiles in Tanzania with Mary, the daughter of the world’s top television evangelist, the very reverend Jimmy Threte.

But when a terrorist cell places them in the crosshairs, there is suddenly no escape and they must put their filming aside and combine all their talents to thwart an all-out al-Shabaab terrorist attack on Jimmy Threte’s Christian gathering of hundreds of thousands in Nairobi, Kenya.

The problem is, Pero has a secret—he’s been working as a clandestine courier for the US State Department for years. If anyone finds out, it may get them all killed.

Exciting and expertly plotted, Murder on Safari is a gripping, edge-of-your-seat thriller set in the great wide-open plains of East Africa

Welcome to Pero Baltazar, wildlife television producer. You wouldn’t think that he could get into a terrorist plot but that would be so wrong. It just comes down to this there is going to be a terrorist plot. Baltazar and his group have stumbled upon it. Now it comes down to they have to stop this terrorist plan while the terrorists want to kill them all to stop them. Get ready Mr. Riva has given us a fast-paced thriller. “Murder on Safari” is loaded with twists and turns that will leave you guessing all the while you are flipping pages to find out what happens next. this book is going to take up all of your attention so start reading early because once you get started you will not want to put this book down until you actually finish. I am looking forward to the next book in this series.

If you would like to listen to interviews with other authors and professionals please go to www.kingdomhighlights.org where they are available On Demand.

To listen to 24 hours non-stop, commercial free Christian music please visit our internet radio station www.kingdomairwaves.org

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from IRead Book Tours.   I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 <http://www.access.gpo.gov/nara/cfr/waisidx_03/16cfr255_03.html> : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

#MurderonSafari #PeterRiva

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