No piece of solo music for cello is greater, or more popularly known, than Johann Sebastian Bach's Cello Suite No. 1 in G Major. Better known as the "Prelude," the first of six Baroque suites Bach composed between 1717 and 1723, the piece has appeared "in hundreds of TV shows and films."
"It's so famous, that if you don't remember its title, "you can just google 'that famous cello song' and it will invariably pop up."
What is it about this piece that so appeals? Its constant, rhythmic movement conceals "what's most compelling about it"- its simplicity. "The whole thing just takes up two pages of music, and it's composed for an instrument with only four strings.
Bach's cello suites are the Everest of the cello's repertory, offering a guide to nearly everything a cello can do-as well as, many believe, charting a remarkably complete anatomy of emotion and aspiration.
What's interesting about Bach's six cello suites is that they were written by a non-cellist, the first non-cellist composer to give the cello its first big break as a lead actor.
Composed just before Bach moved to Leipzig, the cello suites, now musical and emotional touchstones, were little known until the 1900s. It was thought, even by some who knew of them, that they were merely études, nothing you'd want to perform in public.
Now, it is perhaps the most famous classic icon in the world!