MY DESERT ISLAND ALBUM| Bach: Six Unaccompanied Cello Suites


By: Ryan Johnson

While being faced with the task of picking a single album to listen to on a desert island for an undocumented amount of time is quite daunting, I feel quite confident in my choice of Bach’s Unaccompanied Cello Suites performed by Yo-yo Ma. While this may seem a bit out of character for a GMN contributor, I have a variety of reasons for choosing this way.  


  1. The cello is my favorite instrument, and Bach is my favorite composer. These suites are something I have grown up with, and as a classically trained cellist myself, they mean a lot to me, a sort of perfection and goal as a musician.
  2. The range of emotion that is created throughout all six suites is amazing, there is so much to listen and sort through, I never get bored of the suites.
  3. My favorite part of listening to classical music is the small glimpses of humanity that you are given. If you listen closely, throughout tracks you will hear a soft yet sharp inhale, these appear between phrases of a composition or before a challenging part of the piece. It is at these moments that I am reminded of the amount of focus and excellent execution that is occurring throughout these suites.
  4. While the human breath is comforting, I don’t think there is a human voice that I could consistently listen to while on an island without slowly sinking into insanity.
  5. There are two disks in this album, running for approximately two hours and forty minutes. This album is so long, the island would be a breeze. 

Luckily you don’t have to be stuck on an island to appreciate the greatness of Yo-Yo Ma, so get at it and get some classical on your playlist.

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