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Thread: Bach's Cello suites - Casals or who?

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    Recruit, Pianissimo
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    Bach\'s Cello suites - Casals or who?

    I recently bought the re-mastered Naxos version of Pablo Casals' historical Bach cello suite recordings in the 1930's (!) Of course the recording quality sucks, but I found his playing to be very artistic and inspirational. I also bought Fournier's version, but I haven't listened to it yet. Has anyone listened to any other version? If so, what did you think of them? What was your favorite cellist for these suites?

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    Apprentice, Piano KJC's Avatar
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    Re: Bach\'s Cello suites - Casals or who?

    I believe that Janos Starker's set on Mercury is easily the best recording of these I've heard. (He recorded them about a decade earlier on the wonderful Period label, and these are very nice to have if you collect LPs as I do). Yo Yo Ma's version on Sony is a tremendous bore IMO, and Casals' intonation has never sounded right to me. Fournier's version is a bit idosynchratic, as is Tortelier's, if I'm remembering correctly from years ago when I last heard these.

    You should also try Starker's performance of the Sonata for Unaccompanied Cello by Zoltan Kodaly. Again, this was first released as Period LP, then years later, a 1970s performance was reissued on the Delos CD label.

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    Recruit, Pianissimo
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    Re: Bach\'s Cello suites - Casals or who?

    well I don't know about that, but Starker's 5th recording for RCA is, IMO, not as good as Fournier's. I especially don't like how he varied the dynamics rather whimsically in the prelude of the first suite.

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    Apprentice, Piano KJC's Avatar
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    Re: Bach\'s Cello suites - Casals or who?

    well I don't know about that, but Starker's 5th recording for RCA is, IMO, not as good as Fournier's. I especially don't like how he varied the dynamics rather whimsically in the prelude of the first suite.
    Did I recommend the one on RCA? No. Now go listen to some Rachmaninov.

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    Seaman, Mezzoforte
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    Re: Bach\'s Cello suites - Casals or who?

    Hi,

    I own a few copies of the cello suites, one of my favourite and less well known recordings is by Robert Cohen, the label is Regis. RRC 2001

    Although known for more budget recordings, this is a cracker, Cohen is an internationally renowned cellist(based in London and Sweden) who delivers the suites with crisp clarity and a luscious tone.

    Other recodings I have are an older Casals recoding on vinyl, great power and passion, Rostroprovich, but I would definately place Cohen up there.


    Matthew,

    www.matthewmcallister.com

  6. #6
    Seaman, Mezzoforte
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    Re: Bach\'s Cello suites - Casals or who?

    My best is Janos Starker (Mercury).

    If you like Bach on historical instrument, there are also two very good records :
    Anner Bylsma (amazing violoncello Stradivarius "Servais") / Vivarte Sony
    Bruno Cocset / Alpha

    Olivier
    Jean-Philippe Rameau / Discography

  7. #7
    Captain of Water Music
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    Re: Bach\'s Cello suites - Casals or who?

    Of the small number of sets I've heard, Pierre Fournier's is my favorite. There's a certain reserve, but his tone and control and musicianship are of the highest level. Casals is a bit rough and ungraceful at times, though he's always interesting and usually exciting. I recently picked up Jian Wang's recording on DG, and if it's not the most energetic and danceable set out there, Wang plays with enchanting beauty from start to finish.

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