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Bach: Cello Suites

50 customer reviews

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Audio CD, June 13, 1995
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$31.02
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$31.02 & FREE Shipping on orders over $35. Details Temporarily out of stock. Order now and we'll deliver when available. We'll e-mail you with an estimated delivery date as soon as we have more information. Your account will only be charged when we ship the item. Ships from and sold by Amazon.com. Gift-wrap available.

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Bach: Cello Suites + The 6 Unaccompanied Cello Suites Complete
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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

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Mstislav Rostropovich is one of the few musicians who can create a larger-than-life experience through the combined forces of exceptional music, a beautiful instrument, and uncommonly facile communicative skills. In his performances of Bach's transcendent masterpieces for solo cello, Rostropovich finds a perfect balance between a romantic, rhapsodic interpretation and one that emphasizes the purely formal "aridity" of Bach's structures. Although it's nearly impossible to isolate one or two highlights, the Sarabande and Prelude from Suite No. 5 are among the most profoundly moving cello performances you will ever hear--the closest we probably will ever come to experiencing through music the soul of both Rostropovich and Bach. Not everyone will immediately appreciate the very resonant sound that emphasizes the cello's lower register. But after a few minutes your ears adjust, the music takes over, and nothing else seems important. --David Vernier

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Product Details

  • Performer: Mstislav Rostropovich
  • Composer: Johann Sebastian Bach
  • Audio CD (June 13, 1995)
  • Number of Discs: 2
  • Label: Warner Classics
  • ASIN: B000002RUY
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (50 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #51,413 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

147 of 153 people found the following review helpful By Steven R. Jones on December 19, 1999
Format: Audio CD
I am an ameteur cellist and do not easily criticize the efforts of the many truely great and talented masters of the instrument who have undertaken the challenge of the Bach Cello Suites.
To me, the Suites are virtually a world unto themselves within the broad range of music for the instrument. The act of performing the Suites seems to be a defining moment for the cellist, with the example set by Casals earlier in the century.
The unusual balance of austerity and warmth, grace and power, and lyricism without leading into sentimentality make this a unique contribution to the discography of this work. If you are to experience only one perfomance of the Suites, this is the one.
There is no question that every student of the cello should listen at some point to the Casals performance of the suites. The recording by Turovsky is especially animated but tends to carry more raw energy and power than seems best suited for this piece. The Yo Yo Ma recording is my second choice, as it seems to tend slightly to far toward the lyrical and often offers too much finess where more energy and power would better serve the music. Lynn Harrell's recording is technically excellent, but perhaps lacks the benefit of Slava's breadth of experience and heart (he is still less than 60 years old). Pierre Fournier's performance is an interesting on to compare as well. The phrasing and sense of rhythm are different than the others, and deserves a careful listening as well.
The Bach Suites are best appeciated by hearing the varied approaches of the many great cellists who have performend them. This is not a work where any serious listener or student of music can reasonably expect to own only one recording, but Slava's Bach Suites are a remarkable demonstration of artistry played on a remarkably beautiful cello. The recording is a technical masterpiece by EMI as well.
Highly recomended.
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79 of 83 people found the following review helpful By Yvonne Caruthers on May 13, 1999
Format: Audio CD
I'm a cellist in the National Symphony Orchestra, which Slava conducted for 18 years. It was my privilege to work with him and get to know him as a musician and as a person. Listening to these suites is a lot like talking to Slava--intense, human, warm, committed. No, they aren't like anyone else's playing, but Slava is unique. He has thought deeply about these pieces, knows every note in them, and wanted to pass on his vision of the music to the world. The playing is impeccable, the vision is transcendant. I prize these recordings as homage paid from one master, Slava, to another, Bach. (These recordings are the same music that is on the videos Slava made of the Bach suites, but in CD format.)
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27 of 28 people found the following review helpful By Derek Lee on November 30, 2005
Format: Audio CD
When I heard these recordings for the first time, I almost wept. I don't know if this makes any sense, but the only way of saying how I felt was that it was like coming home. Rostropovich plays so simply and directly that one feels all pretense peel away. If art is an imitation of the glory that is nature, and performance an imitation of the art, then this is probably as close as you can come to removing the imitation and having a direct physical, emotional, and spiritual communion. Superlatives fail me and seem trite, so I think I should make this short. Bach's cello music is some of the most beautiful art ever created, and it has such remarkable power to heal the soul. Every human being who appreciates music deserves the priviledge of hearing this music. As I mentioned, the performance is superb, like an improvisation but so carefuly though out and so deeply felt. The recording quality is excellent too, capturing the meltingly beautiful sounds of Rostropovich's cello. Please listen to this; I hope you will be as moved as I was. If I can make a suggestion relevant to the time I'm writing this (Nov. 30th), make a present of this to someone you love for the holidays, the time of peace, as this is one of the great musical expressions of peace and boundless love.
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55 of 62 people found the following review helpful By Guy Cutting on June 12, 2000
Format: Audio CD
As a singer, I generally feel comfortable writing reviews of much of the Renaissance music I listen to - but cello music is different. I play the piano and the organ, so I can relate to the interpretation of instrumental music on some level; having never played a stringed instrument, though, I'm not sure I'm as equipped to judge this recording. But let me start by expressing my love for these cello suites. One thing immediately noticable about them is true almost universally of Bach's music - the emphasis is not on melody, but rather texture and harmony (and in the case of solo instrumental music, implied harmony). Even in the case of the prelude to the first suite (an enormously popular piece of music and one you'll recognize immediately even if you're not familiar with these pieces) the focus is on symmetry and proportion, and not melody per se. These works truly are masterpieces - Bach does more with one instrument than it seems possible to. There is a lifetime and more of music here. Moving on to the recording itself, let me just say that I would pay $30 just for the liner notes. They are not just informative about the pieces played, but give fascinating insight into Rostropovish as a musician, artist, and a character. The depth of feeling with which Rostropovich approaches these pieces is really something. His playing is spectacular. The tempi (which struck me as fast in places on the first listen) actually make a lot of sense - once you realize what is mentioned above about melody, you realized that the quick tempos serve to highlight the texture of the line which is so important to the music.Read more ›
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