- Performer: Matt Haimovitz, J. S. Bach
- Audio CD (November 21, 2000)
- Number of Discs: 3
- Label: Oxingale Records
- ASIN: B000056PH0
- Average Customer Review: 6 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #597,354 in CDs & Vinyl (See Top 100 in CDs & Vinyl)
Bach: 6 Suites for Cello Solo / Matt Haimovitz
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Audio CD, November 21, 2000
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Oxingale Records releases cellist Matt Haimovitz new recording: 6 Suites for Cello Solo by J. S. Bach. Complete on three compact discs, this vibrantly original, yet historically sensitive rendition of the beloved cello suites is accompanied by a 24-page booklet featuring musical commentary on each suite and 15 black and white photographs.
With this recording, Israeli-born Matt Haimovitz makes his first appearance on Oxingale Records. Previously, his six acclaimed recordings on the Deutsche Grammophon label received praise for their deep expressiveness, interpretive insight, flawless technique and burnished tone. His recording, Suites and Sonatas for Solo Cello, was awarded the Grand Prix du Disque (1991) and le Diapason dOr (1991). Of his debut 1989 recording, Saint-Saens, Bruch, and Lalo with James Levine and the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Gramaphone Magazine wrote, "this recording heralds the arrival of a new star in the cello firmament." For GRP Records Matt Haimovitz also recorded two improvisations with jazz bassist Rob Wasserman for the album, Trios, which features Jerry Garcia and Branford Marsalis, among others.
Matt Haimovitz 6 Suites for Cello Solo by J. S. Bach, complete on three compact discs, was recorded in the Plainfield Congregational Church in Plainfield, Mass. In his program note Haimovitz writes: "the 250th anniversary of Bachs death on July 28th, 2000 inspired the schedule of the recording sessions July 10 to 13 and August 6 to 7 of that year. I found the sanctuary of Plainfields historic hilltown church to be an ideal ambiance that both nurtured the cellos natural tone and allowed space for the sound to be sculpted." The recording was produced by Luna Pearl Woolf, who, as a composer herself, brought her insight into the compositional process to the production. Engineering was provided by Mark Thayer, whose 20 years of experience recording classical, jazz and acoustic folk music brings a warmth and intimacy to the final sound. The album was mastered by David Glasser, who has mastered 45 Grammy-nominated records and received a Grammy for mastering and restoration of the critically acclaimed "Anthology of American Folk Music."
Audiophile sound, rich with color, and clear as a bell
. Thrilling, direct access to a musical universe of unique beauty. -- Concertonet.com, February 7, 2001
Haimovitzs ardent interpretations of the suites [are captured] with warmth and detail a refreshing dose of humanity. -- Billboard, February 17, 2001
TOP PICK: Haimovitz playing resounds with heartfelt emotion. -- US News and World Report, February 19, 2001
These recordings embrace the listener. Phrases dance and sparkle, individual pitches bloom, lines are imbued with a fullbodied, enduring quality. -- Sunday Republican, November 19, 2000
With this release, Haimovitz joins the masters. His interpretation is grittier, more deeply expressive and nuanced than Ma, for instance. -- Advocate Newspapers, November 16, 2000
Top customer reviews
Haimovitz's reading of the Bach suites may not have the transcendent quality of Yo-Yo Ma's 1997 recording on Sony, or aristocratic beauty of Pierre Fournier's 1961 recording on Polydor, or the technical wizardry of Pieter Wispelwey's 1998 baroque version on Channel Classics, but it's in a class alone for its willingness to take radical departures from the conventional boundaries of interpretation of this great work, including a pizzicato rendering of the repeat of the second minuet in Suite #2. None of the several dozens of editions of the Bach suites authorizes such an extreme break from convention for the right-hand, but since no scoring of the suites can be found in Bach's pen anyway, Haimovitz gets a pass based on artistic merit alone. He pulls it all off warmly, getting deep inside the music, and not compromising by trying to squeeze it all into the standard 2-disk format. The 65 minutes he gives to the last two suites is longer than any other version I've heard, a deeply introspective account of #5 and unusually deliberative reading of #6.
It's not uncommon these days to be confronted by in-your-face stylings of the great classics of string music, typically from string soloists who delight in breaking, smart-alecky, from custom. Mr. Haimovitz has managed in this beautifully recorded interpretation to find a fresh approach to a revered body of music that remains faithful to good taste.
However, while I am in full support of and often enjoy original interpretations, Haimovitz pushes the limit. A musician must keep some sense of the original music in mind-- and Haimovitz is blind to this. These Bach suites are romanticized to the point of being embarrassing. The tempos are completely spontaneous, making listening difficult and uneasy. On top of this, the sound if his instrument is scratchy, lacking any depth or warmth, and intonation and bow control are anything but perfect.
Simply put, Haimovitz just tries too hard, and with no avail. I do not recommend this recording to anyone other than those simply looking to expand their collection of recordings of the suits. If you are looking for original, beautifully played work, look into Pieter Wispelwey's most recent recording.