Notes and Editorial Reviews
We will never know why and for whom Bach wrote his suites for cello. The manuscripts that have come down to us were not written in Bach's handwriting, so doubts can be cast with good reason. Further speculation has been added by cellist Anner Bylsma, who suggested that Bach may have actually composed them for viola. The suites are sublime works consisting of energetic preludes followed by a series of dance movements. They are characterized by their technical brilliance and honeyed lyricism.
Violist Barbara Westphal makes a very compelling case for performing the works on the viola. She plays with rich tonal beauty and displays a rhythmic sense that is vibrant. Her playing in each of the preludes is bursting with excitement and her
elegant phrasing in the slower movements is pure poetry. This recording offers a fascinating new take on some of Bach's most challenging music.
Fanfare (5-6/00, p.117) - "...Westphal plays with a gorgeous tone that is captured in a resonant space. Swept away by Bach, I soon forget that I am listening to a viola rather than a cello....this is a successful recording and a valuable supplement to the various performances on cellos..." Read less
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