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J.S. Bach: Cello suites/Queyras

Jed Distler

Artistic Quality:

Sound Quality:

In a promotional DVD accompanying this release Jean-Guihen Queyras cites the abundance of excellent Bach Cello Suites cycles on the market as one reason he waited until 2007 to commit his interpretations to disc. Queyras needn’t have worried, for his playing is never less than beautiful, eloquent, and thoroughly world-class. It fuses the most apparent characteristics distinguishing certain memorable editions: Schiff’s shapely melodic parsing, Pergamenschikov’s infectious feeling for the dance, Bylsma’s period-performance innovations, and Tortelier’s purity of tone.

Queyras possesses an all-encompassing, supple, and effortless technique equal to Truls Mørk’s, yet he avoids the latter’s arch and self-conscious tendencies. In fact, the array of colors and articulations Queyras obtains always bypass the instrument en route to the music. The Sixth Suite is a good example. Because the work’s notoriously high-lying tessitura poses no problems for Queyras, he can sustain the Sarabande with whispering deliberation or, by contrast, make the Gavottes lighter and more bracing than usual. The latter also applies to the E-flat suite’s Gigue and the C major’s zesty Bourées. In Queyras’ hands, each Suite’s opening Prelude amounts to a master class in how to intelligently scale dynamics and inflect a basic pulse with a sense of proportion and controlled freedom, such as in the D minor Prelude’s insidious build. An ideal church acoustic and Cécile Lenoir’s sensitive engineering make Queyras’ Bach all the more recommendable.

Recording Details:

Reference Recording: Schiff (EMI)

J.S. BACH - Cello Suites

    Soloists: Jean-Guihen Queyras (cello)

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