Author Topic: Bach Cello Suites  (Read 107219 times)

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Offline ShineyMcShineShine

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Re: Bach's Cello Suites
« Reply #540 on: February 12, 2018, 09:19:23 AM »
Can anyone recommend a good dry recording of the cello suites? I have Jaap ter Linden's and I don't like the reverb. Same goes for Bylsma's.

Offline San Antone

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Re: Bach's Cello Suites
« Reply #541 on: February 12, 2018, 09:35:58 AM »
Can anyone recommend a good dry recording of the cello suites? I have Jaap ter Linden's and I don't like the reverb. Same goes for Bylsma's.

This is a good set, imo, with dry acoustic.


Offline Omicron9

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Re: Bach's Cello Suites
« Reply #542 on: March 27, 2018, 09:32:11 AM »
Listened to up to 3/allemande. I don't see any particular reason to prefer this recording to any other average recording.

This is regarding the new Demenga on ECM.  I almost think ECM New Series can do no wrong, but I was really disappointed in this.  Very average at best.  Nothing to differentiate the performance other than some intonation issues. 

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Baron Scarpia

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Re: Bach's Cello Suites
« Reply #543 on: March 27, 2018, 09:41:34 AM »
I find it amazing that recordings of these works have proliferated so in recent years.

Offline Mandryka

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Re: Bach's Cello Suites
« Reply #544 on: March 27, 2018, 12:12:40 PM »
  Nothing to differentiate the performance other than some intonation issues. 

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 I find him less song like and more speech like than many other cellists. Listen, for example, not the allemande of 3, but to the sarabande.
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Offline (: premont :)

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Re: Bach's Cello Suites
« Reply #545 on: March 27, 2018, 01:56:38 PM »
I find it amazing that recordings of these works have proliferated so in recent years.

Yes, the cello suites may be the most recorded Bach-works to day. There are f.i. more recordings of the cello suites than there are of the Brandenburg concertos.
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Offline Mandryka

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Re: Bach's Cello Suites
« Reply #546 on: March 27, 2018, 10:10:23 PM »
I've listened to Demenga's new recording of ECM suites again and more closely than before, I love them for the bowing, the restraint, the rhythms, and for the quiet and gruff cello sound.

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Offline San Antone

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Re: Bach's Cello Suites
« Reply #547 on: March 27, 2018, 10:53:34 PM »
I've listened to Demenga's new recording of ECM suites again and more closely than before, I love them for the bowing, the restraint, the rhythms, and for the quiet and gruff cello sound.

+1

Offline Omicron9

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Re: Bach's Cello Suites
« Reply #548 on: March 29, 2018, 07:29:52 AM »
I've listened to Demenga's new recording of ECM suites again and more closely than before, I love them for the bowing, the restraint, the rhythms, and for the quiet and gruff cello sound.

That's cool.  My opinion was merely that, and whether I like a specific recording or not is moot really.  What I do like is that there are so many recordings of this miraculous work of art, and that each brings differing detail or considerations.  All new versions and recordings are quite welcomed in these quarters.

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Offline Mandryka

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Re: Bach's Cello Suites
« Reply #549 on: April 08, 2018, 02:14:23 AM »



This recording of two suites by Sadao Udagawa is an excercise in imagination and in style. He has fantasised that there was a manuscript for unaccompanied viol suites written by Bach, given to Friedrich Wilhelm II by CPE Bach and performed by Forqueray in a "feminine and rounded" way. He calls this style rococo, and it's what he's attempted to do on the CD.

The result is totally disorientating. It's slow, but that's maybe something that brings rewards, only time will tell.  At the moment I'm not sure that there's anything to be gained by joining Udagawa on his poetical adventure. I am not able to say whether it's more than just a grotesque curiosity.
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Offline San Antone

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Re: Bach's Cello Suites
« Reply #550 on: April 08, 2018, 04:00:15 AM »


This recording of two suites by Sadao Udagawa is an excercise in imagination and in style. He has fantasised that there was a manuscript for unaccompanied viol suites written by Bach, given to Friedrich Wilhelm II by CPE Bach and performed by Forqueray in a "feminine and rounded" way. He calls this style rococo, and it's what he's attempted to do on the CD.

The result is totally disorientating. It's slow, but that's maybe something that brings rewards, only time will tell.  At the moment I'm not sure that there's anything to be gained by joining Udagawa on his poetical adventure. I am not able to say whether it's more than just a grotesque curiosity.

I sampled the tracks on Amazon and was interested in what I heard, but will wait on purchasing.  There appears to be something of a trend in more recent Bach recordings which demonstrate slower, looser and, for lack of a better term, atypical interpretations of Bach: Anton Batagov, Wolfgang Rubsam, Viola de Hoog, Thomas Demenga (atypical in other ways), Gunar Letzbor.  And I've noticed that while I "love" them on first hearing over time they lose much of their attraction.

Offline Mandryka

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Re: Bach's Cello Suites
« Reply #551 on: April 08, 2018, 05:55:07 AM »

By the way I noticed an interesting point in common between Letzbor's solo Beethoven and Beghin's "Hearing Machine" -- they both think it's interesting, revealing,  to present the music on the recording from the player's point of view, rather than from the perspective of an audience.

Re Sadao Udagawa, I think you're probably very sensible to keep your money in your pocket. In fact, I have a rule to never buy anything if it's available high quality streaming.
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Offline San Antone

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Re: Bach's Cello Suites
« Reply #552 on: April 08, 2018, 07:05:53 AM »
By the way I noticed an interesting point in common between Letzbor's solo Beethoven and Beghin's "Hearing Machine" -- they both think it's interesting, revealing,  to present the music on the recording from the player's point of view, rather than from the perspective of an audience.

Re Sadao Udagawa, I think you're probably very sensible to keep your money in your pocket. In fact, I have a rule to never buy anything if it's available high quality streaming.

I didn't find it available to stream; which is why I would even consider buying it.  Where did you find it?

Offline Mandryka

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Re: Bach's Cello Suites
« Reply #553 on: April 08, 2018, 08:12:40 AM »
Qobuz.

The label, Waon, seems to comprise entirely of "characterful" Japanese performers of early music.
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kishnevi

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Re: Bach's Cello Suites
« Reply #554 on: April 08, 2018, 08:18:41 AM »
By the way I noticed an interesting point in common between Letzbor's solo Beethoven and Beghin's "Hearing Machine" -- they both think it's interesting, revealing,  to present the music on the recording from the player's point of view, rather than from the perspective of an audience.

Re Sadao Udagawa, I think you're probably very sensible to keep your money in your pocket. In fact, I have a rule to never buy anything if it's available high quality streaming.

You mean, I assume, Letzbor's solo Bach....

[Back of milk carton: HAVE YOU SEEN ME?  GMG EDIT FUNCTION.   LAST KNOWN LOCATION CANBERRA  APRIL 3]

I suppose you might think of the idea as being the performer playing only for himself, with no audience to please....

Offline aukhawk

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Re: Bach's Cello Suites
« Reply #555 on: February 06, 2019, 02:30:03 AM »
I've lost count of the new releases of Cello Suites in the last year or so but this discovery by Mandryka caught my eye (and ear):



I know this performer through his Froberger transcriptions.

If you look carefully at the picture and count the strings you’ll see he’s not playing a cello, he’s playing a five string bass violin called a violone di Corelli. The recording is definitely worth a listen.

Definitely worth a listen I agree.  The tone of the instrument (whatever it is, and there is some discussion on that elsewhere) is darkest mahogany, in its lower registers more like a double bass, in the higher registers perhaps a bit strangled-sounding.  It is presumably a quiet instrument recorded quite close, sounding rather gamba-like as a result of that - no bad thing.
Tommaso's playing of this 5-stringed instrument is not always deft, with some stumbles and false touches especially noticeable in the slow movements.  In any case he tends to even out the tempi - the quick movements taken leisurely, the slow ones quite quickly. Of the suites I've listened to so far (1,4,5,6) the 5th is very successful, as enjoyable as any I've heard, while the 6th in contrast didn't appeal to me at all - sounds like a different instrument but I don't have the sleevenotes.
Many repeats are omitted, leading to an overall timing for the 1st suite of under 13m30, and only 20 minutes for the 6th - contrast that with Kniazev (an extreme case I know) who takes 16 minutes for the Allemande alone and 42 for the entire suite.  Useful to know if you only have time for a quick Bach fix!

Offline aukhawk

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Re: Bach's Cello Suites
« Reply #556 on: February 17, 2019, 03:35:52 AM »
... And I've enjoyed listening to this one first unearthed by North Star:

February 22 (France) / March 1 (US) release dates on Amazon


Quote
Bach and Gabrielli: the focus of this recording is an unusual musical match involving the famous 6 Suites for violoncello solo by Johann Sebastian Bach and the little-known 7 Ricercari for violoncello solo (1689) by Domenico Gabrielli of Bologna, the first example of a work for unaccompanied cello in history, and thus the only precedent and possible model for the Bach masterpiece. In what ways are the two series of compositions linked? Cellist Mauro Valli is convinced that there is a connection between the two for a number of reasons, including the preponderant correspondence of the keys. Bach assiduously performed and transcribed works by Italian composers, not only those of his contemporaries but also of earlier musicians, so it is highly likely that he was familiar with Gabrielli’s works, in particular with the Ricercari.

Mauro Valli provides an intriguingly new interpretation of Bach’s six masterpieces by heralding each one with the corresponding Ricercare. The outcome is strikingly fresh and original, with a wealth of courageously personal diminutions and embellishments that derive from Valli’s deep knowledge of the Italian baroque repertoire. Bach was fascinated by composers such as Frescobaldi, Albinoni and Vivaldi, and it certainly makes good sense to perform his Suites in the Italian style!
    https://outhere-music.com/en/albums/bach-in-bologna-a459

I quite like the juxtaposition of the Gabrielli Ricercars, basically one preceding each Cello Suite, and in a matching key (all bar the 5th Suite, where C minor is prefaced by A minor).  They are quite substantial pieces - the longest is 11 minutes - and a cynic might say it is just a way of spreading the Cello Suites over 3 discs instead of 2. 
Unfortunately it is sometimes apparent that they were recorded at a different session - well of course most recordings are the result of multiple sessions and subsequent edits, but I would expect those involved to make an effort to present the result as a unified thing - as though the cellist had actually played a Ricercar and then launched into the Prelude of a Suite - that is clearly not the case here.  I also thought the inclusion of a single Canon for 2 cellos (in D, placed after the 6th Suite) was a mistake, and I'll be programming it out of my own copy.  (Incidentally the Suites are presented in the order 1, 6, 2, 4, 3, 5)

The Suites themselves are far more ornamented than I have heard in any other recording - especially the slow movements - to my ears occasionally in danger of losing the line altogether.  This style is not to my taste at all but saying that, they are beautifully played and the whole soundscape is most beguiling.  Unlike Tomasso (above) Valli tends towards accentuating the tempo variations, with several of the slower movements taken quite slow.  The 6th Suite takes 33 minutes in total with 9 of those being the Allemande.

Never a first choice or even a second, but this is a very interesting and enjoyable alternative view of the Cello Suites that I'll be glad to add to my collection.
« Last Edit: February 17, 2019, 03:50:26 AM by aukhawk »

Offline Mandryka

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Re: Bach's Cello Suites
« Reply #557 on: February 17, 2019, 05:08:30 AM »
Some comments from Valli’s booklet essay may be worth thinking about

Quote
It is noted that Bach left much less freedom to the performers of his music, having been a formidable and unparalleled “codifier” of diminutions, embellishments, and variation of all types. However, it is also known that Bach was an extraordinary improviser, and one can therefore hardly maintain that he himself would not have varied his own works during performances, even if certain embellishments were already codified in the manuscripts. The improvisation of diminutions and embellishments was diffuse and common practice in Germany as well as in the rest of Europe during Bach’s time. With this in mind, and following the thread of the abundant and varied diminutions and harmonizations that I added in the Gabrielli Ricercari, I allowed myself to give in to the temptation to vary and “enrich” the Suites as well, particularly the repeats of dance movements, in keeping with the historical practice of the time. And, in fact, despite the already detailed and richly codified nature of Bach’s dance movements, there is still a cer- tain margin; identical repetitions make for tiring and heavy to listening.

Quote
In recording Bach at A=465 Hz, however, I fantasized about a reverse itinerary – a scenario in which one of these [Italian] composers came home, bringing Bach’s Suites with him/her. In the context of imagining the Suites being circulated and performed in eighteenth- century Bologna, my use of the Bolognese pitch-stan- dard and my diminutions and embellishments make sense. It should not be forgotten that, inherent in the mindset of baroque musicians, was a great freedom and flexibility in adapting to different instrumentations and pitch-standards, as these varied enormously from one city to the next.


Quote
. . . Consequently, I respectfully decided to go beyond the great Bach’s instructions. I dared to imagine that if only he had thought of it, or if only a cellist had proposed the idea, he would not have had anything against the solution that I adopted in his fourth Suite, in which – in order to render the execution more comfortable and final effect more harmonious – I used the same violoncello piccolo as indicated for the sixth Suite, lowering the first and second strings, respectively to e-flat and a-flat. In E-flat Major (the key of the fourth Suite), this solution creates a sonority very rich in harmonic overtones and simplified fingering patterns, due to the possibility of using many open strings. It was common practice of baroque composers to take full advantage of the rich natural sonorities offered by open strings, sometimes going to great lengths of inventing tricky scordatura tunings in order to do so (as evidenced clearly in the music of the Bohemian-Austrian composer Heinrich Ignaz Franz Biber).
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Offline (: premont :)

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Re: Bach's Cello Suites
« Reply #558 on: February 17, 2019, 05:20:08 AM »
Some comments from Valli’s booklet essay may be worth thinking about

Quote Valli:
. . . Consequently, I respectfully decided to go beyond the great Bach’s instructions. I dared to imagine that if only he had thought of it, or if only a cellist had proposed the idea, he would not have had anything against the solution that I adopted in his fourth Suite, in which – in order to render the execution more comfortable and final effect more harmonious – I used the same violoncello piccolo as indicated for the sixth Suite, lowering the first and second strings, respectively to e-flat and a-flat. In E-flat Major (the key of the fourth Suite), this solution creates a sonority very rich in harmonic overtones and simplified fingering patterns, due to the possibility of using many open strings. It was common practice of baroque composers to take full advantage of the rich natural sonorities offered by open strings, sometimes going to great lengths of inventing tricky scordatura tunings in order to do so (as evidenced clearly in the music of the Bohemian-Austrian composer Heinrich Ignaz Franz Biber).


But this works against Bach's intentions, since his idea of using the E-flat major mode on a standard cello without doubt was to change the general sonority of the piece by making it impossible to use open strings that often.
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Offline aukhawk

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Re: Bach's Cello Suites
« Reply #559 on: February 18, 2019, 08:53:26 AM »
Some comments from Valli’s booklet essay may be worth thinking about

Very interesting, thanks for sharing those.