J. S. Bach: Suites 1-6 for solo Cello

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Johann Sebastian Bach: Suites1-6 for solo Cello – Janos Starker
Mercury SR3-9016

Jeho 6 suit pre violončelo nestojí síce na začiatku sólovej literatúry pre nástroj, Bach ju však dotiahol na vrchol a to nielen z hladiska náročnosti, obtiažnosti. Základnou črtou jeho skladieb je silné polyfonické cítenie, ako aj reálna polyfónia, s akou sa dovtedy nebolo možné stretnúť. — Dejiny Hudby III Barok NH

Today it is difficult to understand that despite the tremendous Bach renaissance that took place in the 19th century many compositions by the Cantor of St. Thomas’s Church in Leipzig had been underrated. The Cello Suites, for example, have been regarded for almost 300 years as purely a set of tricky etudes that every virtuoso in the making simply must tackle. What recording engineers and their equipment can bring to the ears is quite astounding. So it was back in the Thirties with Pablo Casal’s legendary recording against which every cellist is measured today and to whose perfection he aspires.
Janos Starker’s recording of the Suites from 1965 makes a lasting impression on the listener, even when compared with other recordings from the digital era, and even record producers who are well used to recorded excellence have been highly impressed. For Charlotte Gilbert of the Mercury record label, these recording sessions were one of five truly great events in all her 20 years of recording experience.
Without a doubt, Starker allows his instrument to resound freely but without forcing the tone. Starker’s full-bodied sound and technical brilliance are complemented by his finely chiselled interpretation that lends immense expression to Bach’s thrilling harmony and verve to the strict rhythmic construction of the movements. Just listen to his organ-like double-stopped passages, the eloquent dialogues, and the pure excitement created by his highly individual treatment of tempo. Then you will surely agree with the often-quoted paradox that Bach’s Cello Suites are ‘polyphony for a solo instrument’.

Recording: April 1963, September and December 1965 at ballroom Studio A at Fine Recording Studios, New York, by C. Robert Fine and Robert Eberenz / Production: Wilma Cozart

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4 Responses to "J. S. Bach: Suites 1-6 for solo Cello"
  1. Rare originals of this recording have been going on Ebay for upwards of $1,500. The sound quality and performance are absolutely to-die-for.

    Today, it is difficult to understand that despite the tremendous Bach renaissance that took place in the 19th century, many compositions by the Cantor of St. Thomas’ Church in Leipzig had been underrated. The Cello Suites, for example, have been regarded for almost 300 years as purely a set of tricky etudes that every virtuoso in the making simply must tackle. Janos Starker’s recording of the Suites from 1965 makes a lasting impression on the listener, and even record producers who are well used to recorded excellence have been highly impressed. Starker’s full-bodied sound and technical brilliance are complemented by his finely chiseled interpretation that lends immense expression to Bach’s thrilling harmony and verve to the strict rhythmic construction of the movements.

    Just listen to his organ-like double-stopped passages, the eloquent dialogues, and the pure excitement he conjures up with his bow. Then you will surely agree with the often-quoted paradox that Bach’s Cello Suites are „polyphony for a solo instrument.“

    „The sound on this Speakers Corner reissue, mastered by Willem Makke at Universal’s Berliner facility in Hanover, from Harold Lawrence’s original three-track mastertapes, is superb. The cello, situated to the right of stage center and back a bit from stage front, is gorgeously rich and full in tone color; dynamics are exceptionally impressive…There is music for occasions, and there is music that creates a world to dwell in, rather than merely visit – Bach’s Cello Suites are quintessentially the latter. This is a set that all music-loving audiophiles should own.“ – Jonathan Valin, The Absolute Sound, June/July 2005, Issue 154

    „You don’t have to know a Bourree from a crème brulee to be moved by this music. You can listen without the annotation and appreciate both Bach’s emotional power and Starker’s prowess. Or you can read along and understand the music’s intellectual and structural underpinnings. This Mercury release from 1966 has long been treasured by music lovers and audiophiles for both the performances and the sound. Thanks to Speakers Corner, this beautifully produced, three-LP boxed set – mastered by Willem Makke at Universal’s Berliner mastering facility in Hanover, Germany, from the original tapes – restores this historic set to the catalog. The updated annotation includes new notes by the 80-year-old Starker.“ – Michael Fremer, Stereophile, 2005

  2. review Absolute Sound

    This is the absolute best version of Bach’s Cello Suites you will ever hear!

    Today it is difficult to understand that despite the tremendous Bach renaissance that took place in the 19th century many compositions by the Cantor of St. Thomas’s Church in Leipzig had been underrated. The Cello Suites, for example, have been regarded for almost 300 years as purely a set of tricky etudes that every virtuoso in the making simply must tackle. What recording engineers and their equipment can bring to the ears is quite astounding. So it was back in the Thirties with Pablo Casal’s legendary recording against which every cellist is measured today and to whose perfection he aspires.

    Janos Starker’s recording of the Suites from 1963 and 1965 makes a lasting impression on the listener, even when compared with other recordings from the digital era, and even record producers who are well used to recorded excellence have been highly impressed. For Charlotte Gilbert of the Mercury record label, these recording sessions were one of five truly great events in all her 20 years of recording experience. Without a doubt, Starker allows his instrument to resound freely but without forcing the tone. Starker’s full-bodied sound and technical brilliance are complemented by his finely chiselled interpretation that lends immense expression to Bach’s thrilling harmony and verve to the strict rhythmic construction of the movements. Just listen to his organ-like double-stopped passages, the eloquent dialogues, and the pure excitement created by his highly individual treatment of tempo. Then you will surely agree with the often-quoted paradox that Bach’s Cello Suites are ‘polyphony for a solo instrument’.

    ‚The sound on this Speakers Corner reissue, is superb. The cello, situated to the right of stage center and back a bit from stage front, is gorgeously rich and full in tone color; dynamics are exceptionally impressive. This is a set that all music-loving audiophiles should own.‘
    – Jonathan Valin, The Absolute Sound, June/July 2005, Issue 154

  3. hi there try also these chello recordings 🙂

    Beethoven: Complete Sonatas & Variations – Wispelwey (cello) / Lazic (Piano)

    Beethoven Cello Sonatas No. 3, 5 & 2 played by Jaqueline Du Pre (cello) & Stephen Bishop (piano)

    Starker’s VARIATIONS ON A ROCOCO THEME by Tchaikovsky

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