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The Cello Suites, Bach IV (Sebastian Klinger)

Bach’s music – specifically his Cello Suites – excites and enthuses necessarily. And the extraordinary recordings of Jean-Guihen Queyras (Harmonia Mundi) and Sebastian Klinger (Oehms, 2007) further contribute to making over two hours of non-stop solo cello unusually entertaining. Both sway the ears with impeccable technique and a wonderfully caught, natural tone. Klinger (on a 1736 Camillus Camilli) more by more means of dynamism and flexing his well oiled muscles – Queyras (on a 1696 Gioffredo Cappa) with beautifully controlled ardor. 

available at Amazon
J.S.Bach, Cello Suites,
Sebastian Klinger

available at Amazon
J.S.Bach, Cello Suites,
Harmonia Mundi

Queyras, the former cellist of the Ensemble Intercontemporain has already made a name for himself outside of France with performances and wonderful recordings – including Schubert’s Arpeggione with Alexandre Tharaud and the Dvořák Cello Concerto, where he put one of the most moving slow movements on record down. Klinger, a student of Heinrich Schiff’s and Boris Pergamenschikow’s, became the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra’s first solo cellist at 27 and is of yet unknown to most American concert going audiences. He has an active solo career by now, but perhaps not quite the presence for international stardom. Some years back, reviewing him in concert as a soloist, I found him having a deficit in soloist-attitude. That hardly speaks against him, though, and certainly not on this recording in the ultimately intimate music of Bach.

Both recordings are similar in many ways – superior technical quality, rich tone, generous acoustic (both were recorded in a church), tempos – but Klinger uses a six-stringed cello for the last Suite, which makes for a slightly calmer, more fragile impression and at 420 hertz Klinger also uses a slightly lower-than-usual tuning for a less edgy and, well, ‘high-strung’, sound. That points to Klinger having absorbed many lessons from the ‘Historically Informed’ school, even if his interpretation is decidedly not “HIP”. (Peter Wispelwey would be the choice for that.)

Anyone who wants to place a modern recording next to their Pierre Fournier in their collection but shies away from the wilful individualism of Gavriel Lipkind will be exceedingly well served by either of these interpretations.

The Bach Cello Suites elsewhere on ionarts:

Just What Are the Bach Cello Suites? [Pandolfo, Cocset]
Solo Bach Cello Suites [Ma, Haimovitz]
Dip Your Ears, No. 4 [Wispelwey]
Dip Your Ears, No. 25 [Fournier]
Dip Your Ears, No. 111 [S.Kuijken, Viola Pomposa]
Dip Your Ears, No. 145 [Vogler]
Bach Cello Suites [Baumann, Boettcher]
The Cello Suites, Bach I [Maisky, DVD]
The Cello Suites, Bach II [Rostropovich, Fournier, Isserlis, Harnoncourt]

● CD Pick & Recent Releases [Bailey]
● Suites for Dancing [Curtis]

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