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New Classical Tracks: Violist Kim Kashkashian delves into the Bach six cello suites

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"With Bach, one is never completely right."

That's one thing violist Kim Kashkashian has discovered over her 50-year career. There's always something to learn when it comes to this great baroque master. Nevertheless, she decided to bite the bullet and document her interpretations of Bach's Six Suites for Viola Solo.

Kim, you are one of today's greatest advocates for the viola. You perform around the globe, and you teach, and you've also built the repertoire for your instrument by seeking out other composers who now also are seeking you out. Your new recording is taking a new approach to finding new repertoire for your instrument. It's a recording of the six suites by Bach, originally heard on cello; tell me why you wanted to do this.

"From the perspective of a violist, these suites are something we all grow up playing. Not to mention the fact that the solo cello suites are played on numerous instruments, including the marimba and the trombone. That having been said, I think there's a lot to be said for the viola version, which is simply one octave higher than the original cello version.

"But when we talk about the sixth suite, then it was actually written for another instrument entirely, which was a five-string instrument. So, I play it on a five-string viola, which, in a sense, is possibly at least as close to Bach's original intention as playing it on a four-string cello."

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