Tilman Hoppstock is one of Germany’s most famous guitar players and the work of Bach stands in his focus for a long time: His research of over 30 years culminated in the publication of two book titles and his musicological edition is considered today a standard work by nearly all guitarists who occupy themselves with Bach. In 2013 he earned the doctor’s degree for his research on Bach. The Six Suites for solo cello are nowadays performed on a wide range of instruments and Tilman Hoppstock has adapted the Suites Nos. 1, 2 and 5 for his instrument the guitar. His large knowledge of the contrapunctal technique of Bach combined with his stupendous virtuosity on the guitar resulted in a recording of great musicality and sensibility. © Christophorus
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).
Steven Isserlis’s award-winning discography spans his diverse interests in repertoire and his musicological enthusiasm, as well as demonstrating his supreme artistry and uniquely beautiful sound, and his first recording of the complete Bach cello suites is an indelibly important addition to the set. Steven writes that ‘the Bach suites are works of such total perfection, such sublimity, that it is well-nigh impossible to feel ready for them’. He has proved more than adequate to the task and this release is a triumphant conclusion to an artistic pilgrimage. Steven’s eloquent booklet notes reveal his personal thoughts about the suites, as well as extensive academic research. His is an interpretation that has come from his passionate involvement in the music rather than from following the various theories that abound in Bach scholarship, and he discusses it fully in an article which is a perfect complement to this wonderful release.