Bach wrote the first five suites for violoncellp prescribing the scordatura, i.w. the downward tuning of the A string to G, in the fifth suite. The sixth suite was written for a five stringed instrument with an additional E string (viola pomposa); however, it is common practice today to perform this piece on the cello.
The homophonic works were still little known in the 19th century and even appeared rather foreign and ascetic to a world whose instrumental idiom was exceptionally lush and profuse. It was Pablo Casals who conveyed the importance of these works to a broad public for te first time in the early 20th century.
Esther Nyffenegger twice recorded the Six Suites for violoncello solo that Johann Sebastian Bach wrote in Köthen about 1720: in 1971 and 1988 - thus at an interval of about 20 years.
In this recording she used three different instruments. For Suites I and VI she played an instrument built by Andrea Guarneri (1672-1698) in 1657, for the minor-mode Suite II and V a cello crafted by Antonio Testore (1688-1764) in 1740, and for Suites III and IV an instrument built by Roland Sandner (*1943) in 1968. Listeners may find it particularly rewarding to compare the sound and quality of the different instruments while listening to the suites.