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A lucid, humane, and fulfilling rendition
on 12 October 2015
Bach created incomparable masterpieces in his six suites for unaccompanied cello.
Bach performed his cello suites within the framework of the standard baroque suite: four basic older dances - allemande, courante, sarabande, and gigue, - and Galanterien an optional group of newer, shorter, and more homophonic dances usually in pairs - in the cello suites pairs of minuets, bourrees, or gavottes - which Bach inserted between the last two older dances. The only non-dance movement is the Prelude. The six Preludes are fascinating because each exploits a different mood of the cello.
The delight of the cello suites rests in the perfection of design, the beauty of their melodies and counterpoints, and the marvelous exploitation of the instrument.
The rendition is informed by two remarks of the artist which appear in the liner-note respectively on he cover and in the body of the text: ''Bach in German means 'brook', explained Tortelier. ''If you add too much expression, the water stops flowing... if you want to do an abstract Bach, then the water turns cold. That's no longer a Bach who glorifies God and nature...''; ''Pablo Casals used to say, 'First comes Bach -then all the others,' Despite my great love for many of the others - not least Beethoven and Mozart - I can only agree with Casals. Bach dominates the whole lot''.
The rendition is warm with an exquisite variation of pace, color, and emphasis; I felt the underlying passion of the artist expressed in a lucid, vivid, dancing rendition with an underlying admiration and veneration for Bach. I had the continuous feeling that I was not a passive listener but an active participant in the creative process and through the sublime music a communion with the intent and spirit of Bach. The experience was moving, gratifying, and fulfilling bordering on euphoria.