6 of 8 people found the following review helpful
Rich and engaging,
This review is from: Bach - Cello Suites / Steven Isserlis (Audio CD)
These remarkable works have now been recorded by a great many cellists - they seem to be the 'staple' big mission for any cellist wanting to show his or her worth. The works are complex masterpieces, each movement of each suite consisting of a miniature of absolute perfection.
Isserlis is a performer I much admire - I like his Brahms recordings very much and find great pleasure in some of his concerto recordings. I'm not entirely convinced by his Bach playing though. Whilst individual movements in themselves are well played - rich in tone and nicely expressive - I found a slight lack in consistency, in that overall each Suite as a whole didn't quite come together and sit as a complete musical entity. Each suite conjures a particular mood and I didn't feel that Isserlis really connected with the underlying spirit convincingly enough.
In particular, I found the opening movements of each suite to be very convincing. The Sarabandes unfortunately felt a little too over-emphasized in that the flow was lost somewhat. The Gigue movements were mixed, in that some flowed and skipped-along beautifully, whereas others felt a little stilted and almost self-conscious. This is what I mean by the playing being a little too inconsistent.
As always, with Isserlis, one cannot fault tuning or quality of sound. I just wish that perhaps more thought had been given to making each suite a unified musical work.