J.S. Bach

Recommended (or not) Recordings

Violincello Solo Suites I-VI

Main Performer
or Conductor:
Paolo Beschi
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:Winter&Winter
Catalog Number:910 028-2
Year Released/Recorded:1998
Total Playing Time:cd 1: 54:08
cd 2: 75:14
Comments:Jan Hanford said:

From the cellist of Il Giardino Armonico, who released the worst performance of the Brandenburg Concertos I have ever heard, comes one of the worst recordings of the cello suites I have ever heard.

The opening Prelude of Suite No. 1 clocks in at a speedy 1:51. His frantic chopping ruins any possibility of hearing the melody. He settles down later on and there are some beautiful moments. But his breakneck tempos obscure the melody and the blurred result is a lack of clarity that is not enjoyable. The extreme chopping (and banging) in the Gigue of Suite No. III was too much and ruined the movement. However, his tone is lovely so the problem isn't the cello. Even when he's playing at full speed with all his chopping and heavy breathing the tone is nice.

Thankfully, cd 2 is better. His lyrical phrasing is often beautiful; the Sarabande of Suite No. V is particularly lovely. But, then again, we have the Prelude for Suite No. VI with nice tempo and phrasing, but the bow is clanging against the cello which is distracting and, frankly, unpleasant. I thought someone was knocking on my door.

I would say this cd is recommended if you love the Il Giardino Armonico recording of the Brandenburg Concertos. It's contains much of the same kind of self-indulgent over-interpretation that many people love about that recording. However, if, like me, you do not then I do not recommend this recording of the Cello Suites.

Lovely packaging from the sublime Winter&Winter.

Vladislav Nekliaev (Vlanes) said:

After reading Ms Hanford's review, I feel compelled to say something in Paolo Beschi's defence. Of course, it IS a matter of subjective taste, but I would never call this recording one of the worst ever made. In my very humble opinion, this is one of the best recordings of these works ever made, no matter how banal this sounds. I love it. It is energetic, insightful and thought-provoking. I firmly believe that Beschi is a genuis. The man has a vision, he has style, individuality, brilliant technique. I hear nothing rough in his performance. Since I have received the CDs, I have been listening to them very often, with ever increasing sense of admiration for this remarkable musician and his achievement.

The Winter & Winter packaging, beautiful as it is, does not strike me as a very practical one. The CDs become scratched, and don't hold well. In addition, the paper (cardboard?) is easily stained - so your hands must be very clean.

However, this is a minor matter - I put these CDs in usual plastic boxes, and I keep the Winter package separately.

I would gladly pay the cost of this recording several times over. It has certainly enriched my life and understanding of J.S. Bach's music. I am going to listen to it today again - all day long.

  • Vladislav Nekliaev (Vlanes)From the collection of Jan Hanford.
  • Date First Submitted:01/27/2002