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Cello Suites

Johann Sebastian Bach , Janos Starker Audio CD
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (27 customer reviews)

Price: $16.48 & FREE Shipping on orders over $35. Details
o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o
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Songs from this album are available to purchase as MP3s. Click on "Buy MP3" or view the MP3 Album.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         


Disc 1:

Samples
Song Title Time Price
listen  1. Suite No. 1, BWV 1007, In G: Prelude 2:41$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  2. Suite No. 1, BWV 1007, In G: Allemande 5:28$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  3. Suite No. 1, BWV 1007, In G: Courante 2:34$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  4. Suite No. 1, BWV 1007, In G: Sarabande 3:17$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  5. Suite No. 1, BWV 1007, In G: Menuet 1 And 2 3:19$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  6. Suite No. 1, BWV 1007, In G: Gigue 1:44$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  7. Suite No. 3 In C, BWV 1009: Prelude 4:27$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  8. Suite No. 3 In C, BWV 1009: Allemande 4:06$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  9. Suite No. 3 In C, BWV 1009: Courante 3:07$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen10. Suite No. 3 In C, BWV 1009: Sarabande 4:35$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen11. Suite No. 3 In C, BWV 1009: Bourée 1 And 2 3:33$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen12. Suite No. 3 In C, BWV 1009: Gigue 3:12$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen13. Suite No. 5, BWV 1011, In C Minor: Prelude 6:49$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen14. Suite No. 5, BWV 1011, In C Minor: Allemande 7:31$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen15. Suite No. 5, BWV 1011, In C Minor: Courante 2:18$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen16. Suite No. 5, BWV 1011, In C Minor: Sarabande 3:37$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen17. Suite No. 5, BWV 1011, In C Minor: Gavotte 1 And 2 4:30$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen18. Suite No. 5, BWV 1011, In C Minor: Gigue 2:39$0.99  Buy MP3 


Disc 2:

Samples
Song Title Time Price
listen  1. Suite No. 2, BWV 1008, In D Minor: Prelude 3:51$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  2. Suite No. 2, BWV 1008, In D Minor: Allemande 4:07$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  3. Suite No. 2, BWV 1008, In D Minor: Courante 2:14$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  4. Suite No. 2, BWV 1008, In D Minor: Sarabande 5:00$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  5. Suite No. 2, BWV 1008, In D Minor: Menuet 1 And 2 2:58$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  6. Suite No. 2, BWV 1008, In D Minor: Gigue 2:39$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  7. Suite No. 4 In E-Flat, BWV 1010: Prelude 4:36$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  8. Suite No. 4 In E-Flat, BWV 1010: Allemande 4:11$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  9. Suite No. 4 In E-Flat, BWV 1010: Courante 3:47$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen10. Suite No. 4 In E-Flat, BWV 1010: Sarabande 4:07$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen11. Suite No. 4 In E-Flat, BWV 1010: Bourée 1 And 2 5:04$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen12. Suite No. 4 In E-Flat, BWV 1010: Gigue 2:36$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen13. Suite No. 6 In D, BWV 1012: Prelude 5:13$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen14. Suite No. 6 In D, BWV 1012: Allemande 6:20$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen15. Suite No. 6 In D, BWV 1012: Courante 3:51$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen16. Suite No. 6 In D, BWV 1012: Sarabande 4:53$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen17. Suite No. 6 In D, BWV 1012: Gavotte 1 And 2 4:09$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen18. Suite No. 6 In D, BWV 1012: Gigue 4:13$0.99  Buy MP3 


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Child prodigy
Starker was born in Budapest to a father of Polish descent and a mother who had immigrated from Ukraine, both Jewish. His two older brothers were violinists, and the young János (named for the hospital in which he was born) was given a cello before his sixth birthday. A child prodigy, Starker made his first public performances ... Read more in Amazon's Janos Starker Store

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Product Details

  • Performer: Janos Starker
  • Composer: Johann Sebastian Bach
  • Audio CD (March 11, 1997)
  • Number of Discs: 2
  • Label: RCA
  • ASIN: B000003FD9
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (27 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #17,100 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com

This is Janos Starker's fifth recording of Bach's cello suites. His third set, for Mercury (423 756-2), is even more perfectly played. But the musical maturity, the subtlety of inflection and expression, in this set is truly incomparable. Unlike his earlier recordings, Starker now plays all the marked repeats in the score, making them an even richer experience. This playing satisfies all requirements of the head and the heart; it makes every point you want to hear, and it's profoundly moving. This recording is one of the best Bach sets in the catalogs, and one of the most justified Grammy awards ever. --Leslie Gerber

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Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
(27)
4.6 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
152 of 161 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Very Impressive November 26, 2002
Format:Audio CD|Verified Purchase
To review a performance of Bach's work always seems like something I should prepare for by getting a musicological degree. As it is, I have only my ear and my experience and (what is most helpful) other performances of the same piece to go by. The purpose of this review isn't to prove, then, better or best, but to try to clue others into the specific character of this performance.
The Suites for Solo Cello by Bach are exactly that--one performer, and nearly everything possible on the instrument (until composers discovered more tricks for the instrument in the 20th century). It is six suites, each comprised of six pieces (all various dance forms, though Bach's genius so refines the form that tempo tends to be the only aspect of each dance that is readily obvious). As compositions, just about all of the pieces are captivating; from a technical aspect I'm told that they are even more amazing still. (Sometimes Bach arranges contrapuntal phrases so that the cello becomes a one-man chamber orchestra.) For the dabbler, there is a slight chance that the first prelude of the first suite might be familiar--it has been recorded on all kinds of other instruments, and warrants such a spotlight given its ceaseless charm. Buried more deeply in the collection, the Allemande from the Suite in C Minor is a literally heart-wrenching piece deserves to stand alongside the much more famous Erbarme Dich from Bach's Saint Matthew Passion.
As to the performance itself, one could go on endlessly comparing one performer to another, specific performances to a preferable one somewhere else, or even (in the present case) of Starker's 1992 recording with his four earlier ones. In fact, I have performances by Ma, Starker, Gendron, Rostropovich, Wispelwey, Bylsma and the one that started it all, Casals.
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71 of 74 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars an aristocrat among cellists June 13, 2000
By A Customer
Format:Audio CD
Bach's suites for solo cello were dismissed by his first biographer as technical exercises!: their profound beauty only gained notice when Pablo Casals first began playing them as integral suites, early in this century. Casals' performances of these pieces, for all the shortcomings of the recordings, are still some of the most remarkable musical statements I have ever encountered. Many superb cellists have recorded them since, but Starker's may be at the top of my pile. He possesses a dazzling technique that lies totally at the service of the music. Every time I listen to these performances I find myself breathless in astonishment at the beauty of the phrasing. These are not "original instrument" performances, but at the same time Starker maintains a kind of reserve that seems completely appropriate to this noble music, and quite different from other modern performances. Altogether, there is something magisterial about his ability to express true emotion without lapsing into exaggeration. All music lovers should know the Bach cello suites, disarmingly simple in places and full of rhythmic and tonal complexity in others. This recording is a superb statement by an artist who is in total control: technically of his instrument, and emotionally of the music itself.
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33 of 35 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars pure delight September 9, 2004
By laroja
Format:Audio CD|Verified Purchase
As always, opinions vary in terms of who is the master at recording timeless pieces of music such as these Bach cello suites. Starker himself pronounced in the sleeves of this CD that this edition, the 4th recordings of these music by himself is not "technically perfect", but in many ways, his most mature interpretation. You can spend hundreds trying to find a Mercury copy of "the perfect" rendition; or you can appreciate the little imperfections of an aged artist, at the height of his humanistic understanding of music, and of life.
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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars "big" Bach November 1, 2006
Format:Audio CD
Listening to these readings of the Bach solo Cello suites, I was reminded of Herbert von Karajan's 1960's recordings of the Beethoven symphonies with the Berlin Philharmonic. That was "big" Beethoven, just as Starker's performances here are "big" Bach: tempos are taken rather slow (except in the especially lively, dance-like movements, which are played at a good clip) and long, arching, legato lines are drawn out of the scores. Everything is lush and broad and expansive; rich, resonant, and very modern instrumental sonorities are perhaps the centerpiece of this opulent, mid-century style of playing. (This album was in fact recorded in '92, late in the century, but it was Starker's fifth and last recording of these works, made in his old age. His aesthetic ethos is unmistakably that of the middle 20th century, the formative time of his youth.)

The wonderful thing about listening to different interpretations of these works is, they are just that: very different interpretations. Each great player to approach them brings such a different style and expression out of them than the next does. If I had to choose, I suppose I would take Pierre Fournier's readings as my first choice; but I am quite fond of almost all of the different interpretations of these works that I know, and so I heartily recommend this disc if you are considering it.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Starker's last will and testament in Bach July 10, 2011
Format:Audio CD
NB: My review refers to the 2010 re-issue of these recordings in the super-bargain Sony Masters series.
So far as I can tell, they have not been remastered since the original 1997 RCA issue.

Janos Starker was born in 1924 in Budapest, Hungary. Two of his older brothers perished in the Nazi holocaust, and he himself was interned. A child prodigy, he made his debut aged 11, and caused a sensation when he played the Dvorak concerto aged 14, standing in at short notice for an indisposed soloist. After the War, he went to America at the invitation of Antal Dorati, and was first cello in several prominent orchestras there before branching out as a chamber player [with Joseph Suk and Julius Katchen] in 1951, and as a soloist and teacher. He became an American citizen, and was widely recognised as one of the greatest cellists of his generation. He recorded virtually all the great works of the cello repertoire, many of them several times. He has always been closely associated with the Kodaly sonata for solo cello.

Starker has made five sets of recordings of the Bach suites, the pinnacle of the cello repertoire, though only three have been widely available. These are the early 1950s set for Period [just suites 1,3,4 & 6], issued on LP in the UK by Nixa and re-issued by Saga; the mid-60s set for Mercury; and this version for RCA. [In addition, there was a late 1950s EMI set (1, 2, 3 & 5 in mono: 4 & 6 were recorded in stereo, but appear only in mono in a recent French EMI set), and a 1984 digital set for Sefal.]

This set, his last, was apparently recorded in 1992, but not released until 1997, originally by RCA. In its present incarnation, it represents astonishing value for money, despite the lack of any notes about the artist or the music.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars The performance to own
Starker is my favorite performer on the Bach Cello Suites. I originally bought these performances on LP decades ago, and upgraded to CD (well, also decades ago). Read more
Published 6 months ago by David Ehrlich
5.0 out of 5 stars Great cd performed by a master!
Excellent music! Sound quality is great, Bach's cello suites are a perfect background choice for dinner or to relax with a glass of wine.
Published 6 months ago by Ivor Giraldo
5.0 out of 5 stars the best ever recording of these suites
flawless - totally deserving of the high praise it has received - clean and pure with none of the flash and dash attempted by so many others
Published 14 months ago by paloma
5.0 out of 5 stars A Genius Has Passed
Here's a wonderful appreciation of Starker and his career: [...]

A very good friend send me a CD where he had burned about 10 different versions of Bach's first Cello... Read more
Published 14 months ago by Beaudreau
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant and moving
This music gets me through rough times in my life. I lost my Starker Bach discs in a divorce and bought my own copy immediately upon separation. Read more
Published 14 months ago by M&T
5.0 out of 5 stars Pure beauty
I listen to Starker to and from work. Technique and interpretation are the best.
Will treasure this set and share with friends.
Published 16 months ago by Lisa Jackson
5.0 out of 5 stars Purest Cello
This Red Seal performance by Janos Starker from the 1990s can be compared with his Mercury Living Presence performance from the 1960s. Read more
Published 19 months ago by Jeremy G
5.0 out of 5 stars Moving, Beautiful
This is a recording made after a lifetime by a virtuoso searching for the inner poetry in Bach... a successful search. Read more
Published on August 28, 2010 by MC
5.0 out of 5 stars Unsurpassed
As a cellist (at least during childhood) and son of a cellist, I heard a lot of wonderful music from the masters in my home, including early Janos Starker. Read more
Published on January 23, 2008 by For Two Cents Plain
5.0 out of 5 stars Exquisite!
It's a curious thing; keyboard players seem to suffer no impairment of technique as they approach old age but, generally, string players fare less well. Read more
Published on December 28, 2007 by Dermot Elworthy
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