Bach: Cello Suites. Rostropovich [Boxed set] Double CD
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Top Customer Reviews
Rostropovich refused to make a recording of these pieces until he felt he had enough musical experience and ability to do J.S. Bach's music justice. This CD was made when he was about seventy. Compare this to the much younger Yo-Yo Ma's recordings and you can hear the benefit of such respect for the composer. The depth of emotion Rostropovich puts into his playing is like nothing I've ever heard before, and of course his tone is flawlessly beautiful. I cannot say anything specific about the individual suites, as there are no criticisms to make, and the standard is so uniformly high that no one moment is more perfect than another. Listening to this CD will remind you exactly why people listen to music.
As it happened I just heard the Rostropovich set today for the first time, aware of the strong, unanimous ovations from Amazon's customers. After hearing a few bars my friend's reaction sprang to my mind -he was right. I heard a great musician in serious decline. Ok there is 'wisdom' and 'authority'. But I sense a painful lack of cantabile, dance and flow. And what about purity of tone and intonation? I couldn't believe my ears; try the Prelude from the 4th Suite for a sample. Scandalous!
I'd love to be able to overlook these shortcomings as being merely technical and superficial, but I can't. The music doesn't have some kind of varnish under which the 'essence' or 'heart' lies. The music IS its surface or, the surface, the technique and their beauty are inseparable parts of the music itself.
For Bach's Cello Suites I would recommend Janos Starker on Mercury. Among Rostropovich's recordings I would recommend Schubert: Arpeggione Sonata, Concertos by Shostakovich (don't miss Nr. 2!) and of course Dvorak and finally Prokofiev's Symphony-Concerto (Sinfonia Concertante).
I know only one bad record by Miles Davis and it's Doo-Bop (one of his last if not the very last), one bad by Jascha Heifetz, namely Schubert's Fantasy and here we have Maestro Rostropovich's contribution to that category -based on what I've heard which indeed is from a limited not to say narrow horizon (at least in the case of Rostropovich).
If only he would have recorded the Suites some 15 years earlier!
So here it is, against all odds, unwarranted and ill-deserved - an opportunity to fan that flame within you which transcends the dust of the Periodic Table. How that flame burns as Johann Sebastian Bach and Mstislav Rostropovich, once beggars, quieten the City of Mahagonny to address the Real. To think that Mozart never heard this music and the Devil informed him of its existence in his last moments.
Submit yourself to this experience. Bid farewell to constructs and shadows. Be transfigured as the catenation of numbers comes to an end as they taper away into totality.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I love Rostropovich having watched a documentary about him. No doubt he has his failings but I am not musically educated enough to identify them. I just love his playing.Published on 30 May 2014 by P. Bridle
I remember Rowan Williams saying something to the effect that Bach's solo cello suites are probably the closest one can get to the Divine through music, and I wouldn't disagree. Read morePublished on 18 Dec. 2007 by Andrew Cranmer
This is a wonderful recording - Rostropovich delivers a soulful and meticulous rendition of the 6 Bach Cello Suites. This really is exemplary playing and thrilling to listen to. Read morePublished on 26 July 2007 by David Lusher
These performances are a delight from start to finish - Rostropovich unobtrusively uses his amazing technique to unlock the emotional content of the suites and pass it to the... Read morePublished on 1 Jan. 2005 by Bernie Duggan