The two films on this DVD combine some of the most demanding chamber works ever written. Recorded at the atmospheric Academy of Sciences in Budapest, the Keller Quartet plays a version of Bach’s unfinished masterpiece The Art of the Fugue for string quartet intertwined with works by renowned contemporary composer György Kurtág – a programme that the four Hungarians developed and have successfully performed on international stages. Anner Bylsma, Dutch master cellist and world-renowned as a distinguished interpreter of Bach’s cello music, plays the solo suites. The suites, on which he has also published an authoritative book, count among the most popular baroque chamber works. Anner Bylsma plays the famous Stradivarius “Servais” and the disc was recorded in the beautiful village church St Bartholomew of Dornheim in Thuringia.
Sony Classical celebrates the 80th birthday of distinguished Dutch cellist Anner Bylsma with a special survey of his finest recordings, many originally issued on Sony s legendary period-music label Vivarte, and now re-released as four individually boxed sets. Born in The Hague in 1934, Bylsma won First Prize in the 1959 Pablo Casals Competition in Mexico and served as Principal Cellist in Amsterdam s Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra from 1962 to 1968, before becoming better known as one of the leading pioneers in the period-instrument revival of the Sixties and Seventies.
Anner Bylsma (born Anne Bijlsma 17 February 1934, The Hague) is a Dutch cellist who plays on both modern, and period instruments in a historically informed style. He took an interest in music from an early age. He studied with Carel van Leeuwen Boomkamp at the Royal Conservatory of The Hague and won the Prix d'excellence in 1957.
Luigi Rodolfo Boccherini (Lucca, Italy, February 19, 1743 – Madrid, Spain, May 28, 1805) was an Italian classical era composer and cellist whose music retained a courtly and galante style while he matured somewhat apart from the major European musical centers. Boccherini is most widely known for one particular minuet from his String Quintet in E, Op. 11, No. 5 (G 275), and the Cello Concerto in B flat major (G 482). This last work was long known in the heavily altered version by German cellist and prolific arranger Friedrich Grützmacher, but has recently been restored to its original version. Boccherini composed several guitar quintets including the "Fandango" which was influenced by Spanish music.
Above all, Fournier's Bach playing is crowned with an eloquence, a lyricism and a grasp both of the formal and stylistic content of the music which will not easily be matched. Curiously, perhaps, it is the baroque cellist, Anner Bylsma on RCA who often provides close parallels with Fournier. Bylsma's tempos tend to be faster than those of Fournier—that, after all has been a trend in baroque music over the past 20 years or so—but his conception of the music shares ground with that of Fournier. All things considered, it is hardly surprising that these readings seem as fresh and as valid today as they did 25 or more years ago.
"…Berger himself speaks of a joy inspired by the most radiant peak of tonal art, and anyone listening will happily concur. It is indeed a wonderful set, more free-spirited than its predecessor (though I will want to retain both) and, for me, more compelling than most modern rivals, excepting Janos Starker (his forth recording) and Anner Bylsma (his second). I urge you to hear it." ~Grammophone
A majority of well-known composers have written at least a few chamber compositions in their entire lifetime. The most famous would have to be Mozart, Beethoven, Brahms, and probably Prokofiev. Some, including Respighi and Vaughan Williams, are overlooked or even rejected in today's society. Whether it's because of lack of originality or excessive complexities, these sorts of compositions are always left in the dark. Take Rachmaninov's Cello Sonata, for instance. This 35-minute work doesn't receive the complete recognition it deserves. It's overshadowed by the composer's piano concertos and symphonies, all of which are respectfully first-rate works in their own right.