39 of 41 people found the following review helpful
A magnificent recording,
This review is from: Bach - Cello Suites / Steven Isserlis (Audio CD)
I have loved the Bach Cello Suites ever since I was an almost talent-free teenage cellist getting on for 40 years ago, and in that time I have heard (and often bought) wonderful recordings by some of the world's very greatest cellists including Casals, Tortelier, Fournier and Yo-Yo Ma. Isserlis's recording stands with the very best of them. He is a magnificent musician and has thought and studied for years before tackling the Bach Suites. This shows in his delightful involvement in the music, the way the dances really dance when they should and how the very soul of the music and of Bach shines through what he does. Joy, sorrow, beauty and passion are all beautifully evoked, and it's all exactly appropriate - no flashy tricks or dodgy imposition of things which aren't really there. There is just a deep understanding and love of Bach's music. The whole thing is a monumental pleasure.
The accompanying notes are extremely interesting. They show both the depth of Isserlis's scholarship and his thoughtfulness about the Suites. I particularly like the section headed "A personal feeling (definitely not a theory!)" in which he suggests that the suites may be seen as akin to Mystery Sonatas - an interesting and thought-provoking viewpoint, which never interferes with the music itself.
The recording quality is excellent. It is miked very close, giving an intimate feel - so intimate that you can hear the slap of Isserlis's fingers in the livelier parts. I love the sense this gives of his being in the room with you, and the sound of his cello is simply lovely throughout.
In the face of the greatness of some of the recordings which have preceded this one, I couldn't say this was definitive, nor even that it was my absolute favourite. But then I couldn't say that of any of the others either. I do know that if I had to choose just one recording to live with, this would be a very strong contender. Very highly recommended indeed.