> JS Bach - Cello Suites 4, 5, 6 [KM]: Classical Reviews- June 2002 MusicWeb(UK)

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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]
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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.

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.

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.

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

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