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Suites for Cello Solo BWV 1007-1012

Hidemi Suzuki (Baroque Cello)

Short Review: Suzuki Plays Bach's Solo Cello Suites

1

J.S. Bach: The Suites for Unaccompanied Cello

Disc 1:
Suite No. 1 in G major, BWV 1007
Suite No. 4 in E flat major, BWV 1010
Suite No. 5 in C minor, BWV 1011
Disc 2:
Suite No. 3 in C major, BWV 1009
Suite No. 2 in D minor, BWV 1008
Suite No. 6 in D major, BWV 1012

Hidemi Suzuki (Baroque cellos)

Deutsche Harmonia Mundi

1995

2-CD / 65:04 + 70:21

Donald Satz wrote (October 5, 2004):
Comparisons: Beschi/Winter & Winter, Sheppard/Metronome, ter Linden/Harmonia Mundi,
Bylsma/Sony Vivarte, Wispelwey/Channel Classics, Markson/Meridian, Schiefen/Arte Nova,
Rostropovich/EMI, Maisky/Deutsche Grammophon, Small/4Tay (Goldbergs)

The Label - DHM likely expected many advantages when it was absorbed by BMG - didn't happen. Instead, BMG sliced and diced the DHM catalog with a vengeance. So it is good to see that a new mid-priced series called "DHM Splendeurs" is bringing back to the market previous DHM full-price releases. One of the releases is the 1995 recording of Bach's Cello Suites by the HIP specialist Hidemi Suzuki.

The Music - As one would expect from the greatest composer ever born, the Cello Suites contain a great variety of technical devices, wide range of emotional content, and some of the most compelling voice interaction/conversation of a body of musical works.

Although quite a simplification, Suites Nos. 1/3/6 tend to be exuberant and upbeat, while the remaining three suites are deeply moving and introspective. I'll get back to these two categories later.

The Performances - I feel like I'm made of Teflon every time I listen to Suzuki's readings, but there are good reasons why they don't penetrate:

1st Reason: From the spectrum of emotions Bach conveys, Suzuki chops off a large chunk from each end - emotional neutering. I've been listening to a Goldberg Variations recording by pianist Haskell Small who essentially does the same thing. However, within his range, Small is exceptional and interesting. Suzuki is merely efficient. Compared to the wonderful exuberance displayed by Richard Markson in his modern cello recording, Suzuki is on the comatose side.

2nd Reason: Lack of variety and contrast. Each of the comparison sets gives us plenty of changes in tempo and dynamics; Suzuki does not. He's a straight-ahead guy at all times, and a steady diet of this playing is tiresome.

4th Reason: It's called conversation, and Suzuki doesn't seem to care about it in the least. I'm not a big fan of the comparison sets from Anner Bylsma and Pieter Wispelwey, but both gentlemen deliver a fine level of voice interaction not forthcoming from the faceless Suzuki.

Sound Quality - With performances so uncompetitive, sound is not relevant.

Availability - My usual USA sources do not cite this set, but I know that other recordings under the "DHM Splendeurs" logo have been hitting U.S. stores and sales websites. If you can't find it, you're in good shape.

Don's Conclusions: Look elsewhere for baroque cello sets. Paolo Beschi is a fountain of variety and excitement, Susan Sheppard is quite intense, and Jap ter Linden emotionally rich. Actually, the only set I've heard that is less rewarding than Suzuki's is the coarse and overbearing one from Guido Schiefen on Arte Nova. Although I am not enthused by the highly romanticized versions that would include Rostropovich and Maisky, they are much more enjoyable and interesting than the Suzuki. I hope I have made my position clear.


Suites for Cello Solo BWV 1007-1012: Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 5 | Part 6 | Cello Suites – Phoebe Carrai | Cello Suites – Robert Cohen | Cello Suites – John Friesen | Cello Suites – Pascal Monteilhet | Cello Suites - Suzuki | MD – Cello Suite No. 1

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Last update: ýFebruary 6, 2005 ý20:36:52