Bach: The Cello Suites

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J. S. BACH
Bach: The Cello Suites
Steven Isserlis (cello)

[ Hyperion / 2 CD ]

Release Date: Saturday 26 May 2007

This item is currently out of stock. We expect to be able to supply it to you within 2 - 4 weeks from when you place your order.

'Isserlis asserts the music's dance roots, whether through his thrusting accents or by sweeping through with a winning lilt … Just listen to Isserlis, Bach and your heart, and the music that never dies' (The Times)

'Some of the best Bach playing I've heard since Casals' (Rob Cowan, BBC Radio 3)

GRAMOPHONE MAGAZINE AWARD WINNER 2007 - Instrumental
BBC MUSIC MAGAZINE DISC OF THE MONTH
HENRY KELLY'S CD OF THE WEEK (CLASSIC FM)
CLASSIC FM MAGAZINE DISC OF THE MONTH
EDITOR'S CHOICE GRAMOPHONE July 2007
BBC MUSIC AWARD FINALIST 2008 (Chamber recording)

"Steven Isserlis is a cellist renowned above all for his intelligent approach to music-making. And he is clearly thinking deeply here, thinking his way into the soul of the works. Yet there comes a point where head and heart entwine and what emerges is a set of intensely affecting as well as thought-provoking interpretations. The cellist has often said that he would never feel ready to tackle these masterpieces. He need fear them no longer."
(Gramophone)

"The Henry Wood Hall an ideal acoustic, and Hyperion's recording is quite remarkable. You can play it at distance, softly and candlelit. Turn up the volume and Isserlis comes closer and closer, until you are as good as inside the gorgeous Feuerman Stradivarius instrument, bouncing around with the little ball of mousy fluff at the bottom in the most deeply resonant bits. As a set of the complete cello suites by J.S. Bach this, to me, represents the best of the best in this most personal of all possible worlds."
(MusicWeb Recording of the Month May 2007)

"His judicious ornaments sensitively decorate - never distort - Bach's lines … Rhythmically he's impeccable. The free 'phantasticus' style of the first four Preludes is gloriously fluent, capturing the harmonic flow implied within the single cello line. The fifth, a French Overture, is free of bombast and its subsequent quasi-fugue lyrical and unhurried. Isserlis plays the sixth suite, intended for a five-string instrument, on a normal four-string cello, negotiating the stratospheric range with astonishing ease … His sense of style is matched by an outstandingly secure technique. He has no need for those impassioned tenutos behind which others hide the terrors of multiple-stopping … Recording quality is excellent - two-channel stereo is all that's required, and it's excellently balanced between immediacy and spaciousness. Casals (re-issued on Naxos) started it all in 1936 - Beamish's Catalan folk-song arrangement is a charming tribute to him. Ter Linden (Harmonia Mundi) provides a fine period-instrument account, and Hugh (Kevin Mayhew) a somewhat reverberant but perceptive 'modern' option. But for me, Isserlis and Hyperion provide a completely new and inspiring benchmark for this unique tour de force"
(CD of the Month BBC Music June 2007)

'Isserlis is a passionate musician, but never thoughtless or frivolous, and the delicacy of his responses on this wonderful set sometimes take the breath away. If your soul fails to quiver in the quiet depths of the fifth suite's sarabande, then you must be a robot in disguise. Yet he's not on his knees always worshipping: time and again Isserlis asserts the music's dance roots, whether through his thrusting accents or by sweeping through with a winning lilt … Just listen to Isserlis, Bach and your heart, and the music that never dies' (The Times)

'His judicious ornaments sensitively decorate - never distort - Bach's lines … Rhythmically he's impeccable. The free 'phantasticus' style of the first four Preludes is gloriously fluent, capturing the harmonic flow implied within the single cello line. The fifth, a French Overture, is free of bombast and its subsequent quasi-fugue lyrical and unhurried. Isserlis plays the sixth suite, intended for a five-string instrument, on a normal four-string cello, negotiating the stratospheric range with astonishing ease … His sense of style is matched by an outstandingly secure technique. He has no need for those impassioned tenutos behind which others hide the terrors of multiple-stopping … Recording quality is excellent - two-channel stereo is all that's required, and it's excellently balanced between immediacy and spaciousness. Casals (re-issued on Naxos) started it all in 1936 - Beamish's Catalan folk-song arrangement is a charming tribute to him. Ter Linden (Harmonia Mundi) provides a fine period-instrument account, and Hugh (Kevin Mayhew) a somewhat reverberant but perceptive 'modern' option. But for me, Isserlis and Hyperion provide a completely new and inspiring benchmark for this unique tour de force' (BBC Music Magazine)

'Thoughtful, respectful, inspirational playing, a perfectly-placed recording, stimulating notes…this is a fine achievement' (Andrew MacGregor, BBC Radio 3)

A major artistic milestone for a performer at the zenith of his career - described recently in The Independent as 'the stuff of legend'. Steven Isserlis's award-winning discography spans his diverse musical interests, and demonstrates his supreme artistry and uniquely beautiful sound. His first recording of the complete Bach cello suites is an indelibly important addition to the set.

Tracks:

Suite No 1 in G major BWV1007
Suite No 2 in D minor BWV1008
Suite No 3 in C major BWV1009
Suite No 4 in E flat major BWV1010
Suite No 5 in C minor BWV1011
Suite No 6 in D major BWV1012
The Song of the Birds arr. Sally Beamish
Prelude from Suite No 1 from the Anna Magdalena manuscript Prelude from Suite No 1 from the Johann Peter Kellner manuscript
Prelude from Suite No 1 from the collection of Johann Christoph Westphal