J.S. Bach

Recommended (or not) Recordings

Suites for double bass

Main Performer
or Conductor:
Mark Bernat
Instrumentation:Double Bass
Individual Works:Suite No. 1 in G, BWV 1007
Suite No. 2 in d minor, BWV 1008
Suite No. 3 in C, BWV 1009
Suite No. 4 in E flat, BWV 1010
Suite No. 5 in c minor, BWV 1011
Suite No. 6 in D, BWV 1012
Format:Compact Disc
Record Label:MAD Recordings
Year Released/Recorded:1996
Total Playing Time:disc 1:71:56
disc 2: 60:43
disc3: 34:53
Comments:Amy Lee said:

The Bach cello suites have made their way onto many instruments, but never has the spirit of the music been conveyed so effectively on an instrument other than the cello than in this recording of the suites transcribed for double bass by Mark Bernat. This is one for all Bach enthusiasts to treasure.

Review by Jan Hanford

An excellent performance of the Unaccompanied Cello Suites transcribed for double bass.

I'll never think of the double bass the same way again. Rather than just the low frequency component of orchestral and chamber music, the bass presented here is a warm and intimate solo instrument. The technical difficulty of these suites is clear and Mark's performance is impressive; full of liveliness, expression and emotion.

What he has accomplished is nearly impossible. With the difference in tuning between the cello (in fifths) and the double bass (in fourths), the double and triple stopping (chords) is particularly difficult. Many of the passages require extremely difficult upper thumb positions and his virtuosity is impressive.

His expert transcription of the cello suites has been published by International Music Company for the study and enjoyment of bass players, and audiences, everywhere. They are an important addition to the otherwise limited repertoire of music available for double bass. I also found this recording rewarding because another musician has taken Bach's music and made it his own. There are already a zillion recordings of the suites for cello and it is exciting to hear a fresh performance on another instrument. Actually, the bass and cello share much in terms of tone, with the double bass providing additional depth.

I most definitely recommend this recording as an opportunity to hear these familiar and beautiful melodies from a different perspective and to experience an excellent performance from a master musician.

Visit Mark's web site at: http://www.esinet.net/bernat/

Acknowledgements:Thank you to the following for submitting this recording and for your comments:
  • Amy Lee
And from the collection of Jan Hanford.
Date First Submitted:11/03/1997