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Johann Sebastian Bach: 6 Suites per Violoncello Solo Senza Basso Import

4.6 out of 5 stars 24 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Performer: Pieter Wispelwey
  • Composer: Johann Sebastian Bach
  • Audio CD (September 1, 1998)
  • SPARS Code: DDD
  • Number of Discs: 2
  • Format: Import
  • Label: CHANNEL CLASSICS
  • ASIN: B00000C2B4
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (24 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #183,765 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD
This is Wispelwey's second recording of Bach's cello suites. The first recording dates from the 80s, and in the future he wants to do a third recording. If you compare both recordings, you'll understand why. A comparison between the two recordings shows how Wispelwey matured and how his opinions changed as to how Bach should be played. This recording is not only played faster and less rigid than the previous one, it also played with more boldness. It's predecessor sometimes sounded a bit too hesitant. Again Wispelwey plays on a period instrument, which allows a vivid performance. This album won many international prizes. Listening to it, this should come as no surprise. This is my favourite performance of Bach's cello suites. I am looking forward to Wispelwey's third interpretation.
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Format: Audio CD
I have four recordings of the Bach cello suites: Wispelwey, Casals, Yo-Yo Ma, and some played by Jacqueline Dupres. I love Casal's older recording. Casals plays with great abandon and fire; he felt that all Bach should be played as if by a gypsy. Ma's seems a bit unfeeling to me, somewhat rushed in places. Dupres is full of fire and both rhythmic and dynamic variations not necessarily in the music. A bit mannered and uncontrolled. I continually return to Wispelwey's wonderful music. His playing is restrained and measured, yet conveys a deep sensitivity to the music. His playing is dry, spare, unadorned and with little vibrato on a period instrument. What emerges is a fresh look at Bach, and a wonderful interpretation that seems to strike to the very essence of the music. Recommended above all others.
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Format: Audio CD
For a work as popular as this, it's a wonder why most of the recordings are "modern" (Ma, Fournier, et al), and why there are so few "original instrument" recordings like this one.
Wispelwey plays with imagination and vigor. An example of these traits (and perfectly in keeping with Baroque performance practice), is how he takes the final chords of the D minor Prelude, and instead of sitting on them (as is written), he plays a set of furious arpeggios on the chords. However, on the whole, the ornmenation is relatively subdued throughout.
The sound quality of the recording is examplary. As a matter of fact, this is one of the only knocks I have against the recording -- it's miked so closely that you can hear Wispelwey pound the fingers of his left hand down onto the fingerboard. While this gives him excellent articulation, the slight thudding noise is a bit distracting. (And of course, the instrument is tuned almost a half-step low. Cellists with perfect pitch: beware.)
His use of vibrato is very spare, which also follows the performance practice. At times he could use a teeny bit more warmth, for example in the famous Sarabande of the C minor suite. He seems to be downplaying the emotions of this simple yet profound movement. I prefer Ma's rendition of this movement (but, then, the movement is a special favorite of Ma's...).
All in all, an excellent choice for an "original instrument" version of the Suites. Recommended.
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Format: Audio CD
Johann Sebastian Bach (1685- - 1750): 6 Suites per violoncello solo senza basso. Performed by Pieter Wispelwey on a baroque cello by Barak Norman 1710 and, for Suite No. 6, on a violoncello piccolo (anonymous, 18th century). Recorded at the Church of Valkkoog in the Netherlands in January 1998. Released by Channel Classics as CCS 12298 (LC 4481) in 1998. Total playing time: 140'03".

This was my third recording of these suites, and I must say that I have thoroughly enjoyed every moment of it, especially as it is vastly different from the other two recordings of the same work which I know. Pablo Casals, in his 1930's classic recordings, plays superbly, but his style is, of course, "romantic", with plenty of vibrato and the performer "searching" for the right tone in the Preludes. - Anner Bylsma's second (1992) recording of these works on the "Servais", a Stradivari cello from the Smithsonian collection, is totally different again. Its main advantages, from my point of view, are the wonderful, resonant sound of the oversized instrument and the way in which Bylsma makes the dance rhythms plain. Pieter Wispelwey is, to my mind, more subtle and requires closer listening. A German critic, on the basis of whose review I bought these discs, claimed that the first three suites were played a little superficially, but that the second of the two CDs was so superb as to make it worthwhile buying both. I'm not sure I agree that the first three suites are "superficial", I would say rather that Wispelwey sees them as Bach's introduction to his exploration of the possibilities of cello, drawing out the melodies and rhythms and generally not sounding too different from other performers. But with the second CD it is really a matter of "Wow!
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Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Wispelwey's second rendition of the Bach's cello suites is among my favorites. This is no doubt in part due to the hushed, organic sonority of his baroque cello, which often has an intimate, meditative quality. Similar to my other favorite, Heinrich Schiff on EMI, Wispelwey employs widely varying tempos and flexible, often angular phrasing. Unlike Schiff, however, he uses practically no vibrato - perhaps another reason it strikes me as meditative. I don't think there is a single movement played by Wispelwey that I don't like, and I often think his Allemandes and Sarabandes are among the best I've heard.

The sound of this recording is quite special, again mostly due to the unique tone he coaxes from his instrument. The recording seems fairly close but with just the right amount of reverb. One side effect of the close miking is that Wispelwey's fretwork is quite audible. Breathing is also there but is less noticeable.

I have sampled Wispelwey's first recording on Channel Classics from 1990 and generally found that I preferred his more lively, flexible way with the music in this second recording. His playing is more self-assured and nuanced and he produces a more varied tone. Finally the sound is more intimate and special on the second recording.

I can see how Wispelwey's angular phrasing might bother some people who prefer more "traditional" views of the suites. For them Bylsma's two recordings, also on baroque cello, are probably a better bet. Though I like Bylsma, particularly in his second recording, Wispelwey is special for his own reasons.
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