British cellist Steven Isserlis points out that the four composers represented on this disc have a number of things in common – they were born within 30 years of each other, had nationalist tendencies, and all lived at some point in Paris – but the major unifying theme is the fact that Isserlis commissioned all these arrangements of pieces that had originally existed in other formats. The circumstances of the creation of each of the arrangements are fascinating ……Stephen Eddins @ AllMusic
Dimitry Markevitch (1923 - 2002) was a Russian concert cellist, researcher, teacher and musicologist. He studied under Gregor Piatigorsky and founded the Institut de Hautes Etudes Musicales (IHEM) in Switzerland. His brother, Igor Markevitch, was an orchestral conductor.Markevitch rediscovered several important manuscripts, including Westphal and Kellner transcriptions of several Bach Suites, and published his own edition of the Suites, playing all six in recital at Carnegie Hall in New York in 1964. He was one of the first people to champion "authentic" instrumental techniques and played a baroque cello for pieces composed before the 19th century.
John Holloway and Davitt Moroney have set up a musically rewarding partnership in these brilliantly inventive works, furthermore adding to their programme the two lovely sonatas for violin and continuo long attributed to Bach, and justly so. In both of them they are joined by Susan Sheppard (continuo cello). For these sonatas Moroney has preferred a chamber organ to a harpsichord.
If Saint-Saëns has been called the French Mendelssohn, in a curious turnabout, Joseph Rheinberger (1839?1901) might be called the German Saint-Saëns. Both composers were accomplished organists for whom the instrument played a major role in their professional careers. Both composers labored in the field of opera, neither, however?notwithstanding Saint-Saëns?s Samson et Dalila with much success. Both composers found their main calling in instrumental, chamber, and, in Saint-Saëns?s case, orchestral music.
The music of Finnish avant-garde composer Kaija Saariaho has been steadily gaining repute since 2000, when her opera L'amour de loin was premiered in Salzburg. Placing the label of avant-garde on her music, though, is perhaps a mistake: Saariaho has mingled in a wide circle of artistic talent, including Boulez's IRCAM as well as alongside spectralist composers, giving her music, regardless of nomenclature, an entirely distinct and original voice.
Leading early music expert Winsome Evans presents the final chapter in her ground-breaking project to transcribe and record Bach’s solo instrumental works for the harpsichord, with the Six Cello Suites and Partita for Solo Flute. Evans’ project, some 30 years in the making, is based on evidence that Bach himself played his solo instrumental works on the keyboard – including the statement of a former student that Bach often played the solo violin and cello works ‘on the clavier, adding as much in the nature of harmony as he found necessary’. The harmonies added by Evans to the solo works are inspired by methods from Bach’s own time.
The very short list of credits on this Warner Classics release includes Russian American cellist Nina Kotova and producer Adam Abeshouse, who delivers a very closely miked sound in the frequently used Performing Arts Recital Hall of Purchase College on Long Island, New York. But perhaps the uncredited star on this set of Bach's Six Suites for solo cello is Kotova's 1679 Stradivarius instrument, which Kotova exploits to the maximum. Her reading is one of those in the line coming down from Pablo Casals, with a high degree of expressiveness generated through variations in tempo and articulation. Hear any of the concluding gigues, which come off like late Romantic witches' dances, for an example, or the increasingly unexpected relationships among the Gavotte sections in the Suite No. 6 in D major, BWV 1012 (CD 2, track 17).