on 15 February 2010
What a bliss to hear Maestro Starker humbly put his million dollar technique in the service of Johann Sebastian Bach! Not only technique -other important qualities in abundance here are taste, understanding, cantabile, accuracy of rhythm and intonation, elegance, power, restraint and evenness -of tone, pulse and not least: in the effort to play each suite; each movement equally good. (Technique of course includes control of intonation, pulse, rhythm and tone.)
This is my reference version of Bach's suites for solo cello. It is a great mystery to me why this Starker recording isn't generally held ahead of all the famous versions. When I think of the bestselling famous versions by Rostropovich, Casals (Sorry! While tremendously likable with tons of unique musicality and warmth, Casals is hopelessly left behind by his more recent 'competitors' in terms of technique. I imagine he would easily have been able to adjust to today's level of technical polish -but he never had to.), Tortelier et al, I think of camel-like senile old men with riesenschnauzer eyebrows -and lots of wisdom too. Starker's supreme technique and elegance don't for one single note exclude depth or wisdom.
Please hear this recording -you won't regret it.