> BACH Cello Suites Barta [KM]: Classical Reviews- Aug 2002 MusicWeb(UK)






Aureole etc.




Golden Age singers

Nimbus on-line




If it’s the Czech works you’re after, do not hesitate

  Founder: Len Mullenger
Classical Editor: Rob Barnett

Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1750)
Cello Suites 1, 2, 3
No. 1 in G major BWV 1007
No. 2 in G major BWV 1008
No. 3 in G major BWV 1009
Jiri Barta, cello
Rec: November 1995, Castle Kozel.
SUPRAPHON SU 3242-1 131 [56.53]

 

 

Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1750)
Cello Suites 4, 5, 6
No. 4 in G major BWV 1010
No. 5 in G major BWV 1011
No. 6 in G major BWV 1012
Jiri Barta, cello
Rec: July - August 1996, Castle Kozel.
SUPRAPHON SU 3242-2 131 [74.27]

CD available for post-free online mail-order or you may download individual tracks. For some labels you can download the entire CD with a single click and make HUGE savings. The price you see is the price you pay! The full booklet notes are available on-line.

 

 

NOTE • Click on the button and you can buy the disc or read the booklet details • You can also access each track which you may then sample or down load. • Further Information.


 

It is a commonplace to say that the very first notes of a disc set the stage for the remainder of the recording, but for music like this, suites for solo cello, it is all the more true. The unique sound of the cello alone is so poignant that the first notes that come out of the silence have a great effect. This recording of Bach’s cello suites is a good example of how important these notes are. Barta’s sound for the prelude of the first suite is soft and round, subtle and free, and his approach can be clearly heard in these first measures. Neither pushing too hard nor letting go too much, he strives to achieve a balance in his playing.

Sample 1: track 1 0’00"

Barta’s phrasing is clear and unambiguous. He plays each melodic section as a separate breath, using noticeable pauses to delineate them. This sounds interesting at times, but in the allemande of the second suite, for example, his playing loses a bit of fluidity because of this. Nevertheless, the overall impression of his playing is certainly one of mellow smoothness.

Sample 2: track 8 0’00

The menuets of the second suite begin with some slightly out of tune playing, and this disturbs, especially after journeying with Barta through the first few movements of this suite which he plays very well. But in the gigue, he seems at odds with the rhythm; he is clearly more comfortable with the slower rhythms of the allemandes and sarabandes than these fast movements. This gigue sounds as though he is trying to fit its rhythm into something different, and it is not successful.

Sample 3: track 12 0’00"

The sound of his cello is very nice, and the recording excellent. This is a very good recording of the first three cello suites, which, in spite of some imperfections, deserves attention. While not the best recording of these works, it is a herald of a long and interesting career by a young cellist.

 

Disc 2

Unlike Barta’s recording of the first three cello suites by Bach, this disc opens with a totally different tone. Where the first prelude was slow and smooth, the prelude to the 4th suite is a series of rhythmic dances across the strings. Barta, whose playing fits very well with the more sinuous movements of these works, seems to have difficulty negotiating this subtle rhythm. It sounds wooden and unconvincing, and lacks overall focus.

Sample 1: track 1 0’00"

But Barta comes into his own with the second movement of this suite, the allemande, where his phrasing and playing fit perfectly with the smooth music. The same can be said for the other allemandes in these suites, especially the long D major allemande in the 6th suite, which Barta plays almost like a work on its own. His approach here is more romantic and subtle, with delicate phrasing, though his tone is not always perfect.

Sample 2: track 14 0’00

The deceptively simple sarabande of the 5th suite, the only movement in all of these suites with a single melody line throughout, fits perfectly with Barta’s style of playing. He does not rush this movement, and his playing is ideal, though his dynamics lack depth. Nevertheless, one could say that this movement lacks emotion, and is merely played, not performed.

Sample 3: track 10 0’00"

Less convincing than the disc containing the first three cello suites, this is nevertheless a good recording. As for the first disc, this is certainly a herald of a long and interesting career by a young cellist.

Kirk McElhearn



ADDITIONAL INFORMATION • You can sample only 30 seconds (or 15% if that is longer) of a given track. Select from the View tracks list. Each sample will normally start from the beginning but you can drag the slider to any position before pressing play. • PLEASE NOTE: If you are behind a firewall and the sound is prematurely terminated you may need to register Ludwig as a trusted source with your firewall software. •You will need Quicktime to hear sound samples. Get a free Quicktime download here • If you cannot see the "Sample All Tracks" button you need to download Flash from here.

Return to Index

Untitled Document


Reviews from previous months
Join the mailing list and receive a hyperlinked weekly update on the discs reviewed. details
We welcome feedback on our reviews. Please use the Bulletin Board
Please paste in the first line of your comments the URL of the review to which you refer.