Bach, (J.S.): Cello Suites

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Bach, (J.S.): Cello Suites
Alisa Weilerstein (cello)

[ Pentatone / 2 CD ]

Release Date: Friday 3 April 2020

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"There are dozens of recordings of these suites to choose from, but this stands up with the best." The Guardian

After her acclaimed Pentatone debut with Transfigured Night, Alisa Weilerstein returns with a complete recording of Bach's Cello Suites. These pieces present the highest mountain to climb for any cellist, and one of the most transcendent and rewarding experiences for listeners alike. With his suites, Bach crafted - essentially without direct precedent - a body of solo cello music that forever defined the genre and brought the Baroque cello on par with its more popular cousin, the viola da gamba. Since Pablo Casals put them in the limelight again after 150 years of relative oblivion, Bach's suites have become the alpha and omega for generations of cellists. To Weilerstein, the joy of this music - vibrant, contemporary, unquestionably alive - is the joy of discovery. Having heard and studied these pieces for years, she now entrusts her interpretation to the listener.

Since signing an exclusive contract with Pentatone, Alisa Weilerstein has released Transfigured Night (2018), and featured on Inon Barnatan's Beethoven Piano Concertos Part 1 as well as Old Souls, an album with music for flute and strings (both released in 2019).

GRAMOPHONE Award Nomination 2021 - Instrumental

"The American's sumptuous sound and modern technique have greater kinship with Casals and his successors than with "period-style" performers, and her spacious readings have something of du Pré's emotional style...This outstanding artist is a great catch for Pentatone." Sunday Times

"What emerges is a performance that unfolds at its own pace and in its own space, inward-looking yet confident - one captured at exactly the right time. And, crucially, it's a performance that sings: put Weilerstein next to most of her colleagues in these suites (competitors would be the wrong word - Bach doesn't encourage competition) and she would win for sheer resonance of tone and length of line...There are dozens of recordings of these suites to choose from, but this stands up with the best." The Guardian

"I find the sound to be perfect: just enough air and distance around the instrument to suggest a performing space and not so close that we have to share the performer's every intake of breath or hear every click of the bow." MusicWeb

"Weilerstein's special qualities? Her resolve to allow each movement of each suite to shine on its own terms. Hers is not an overview systematically imposed but more a way to facilitate the cycle's immense expressive range piecemeal. Not that the best of her rivals don't; but with Weilerstein you enjoy the sensation of being escorted through a Baroque dance hall by an all-encompassing commentator with a comprehensive understanding of what she plays." Editor's Choice Gramophone July 2020


Cello Suite No. 1 in G Major, BWV 1007
1) I. Prélude 2.38
2) II. Allemande 5.48
3) III. Courante 2.55
4) IV. Sarabande 3.38
5) V. Menuets I & II 3.34
6) VI. Gigue 2.04

Cello Suite No. 3 in C Major, BWV 1009
7) I. Prélude 3.45
8) II. Allemande 4.43
9) III. Courante 2.56
10) IV. Sarabande 5.09
11) V. Bourrées I & II 4.06
12) VI. Gigue 3.19

Cello Suite No. 6 in D Major, BWV 1012
13) I. Prélude 5.50
14) II. Allemande 9.03
15) III. Courante 4.23
16) IV. Sarabande 5.27
17) V. Gavottes I & II 4.31
18) VI. Gigue 4.42

Bach: 4. Cello-Suite (Sarabande) (Live performance)