Wednesday, December 30, 2009


I know that I am late, his birthday having been yesterday, December 29. Pau Casals i Defilló is the one we have to thank for bringing back the Suites for Violoncello by J. S. Bach (and maybe by his daughter, Anna Magdalena) to the cultural memory of Europe. He might have been playing 16ths like triplets, he might have mistaken (due to one manuscript) a Bb for a B, he might have played all of that in a somewhat unligated style. The recordings he did might stem from a past of poor recording quality. Be that as it may, here is his rendering of the first three parts of Suite #1 (prelude, allemande, courante), and I dig him as my hero for the way he plays that tunes:

Other famous Violonchello Players have done versions of that one later, in a different style, as, for example, lovely Jaqueline du Pré, lover of Barenboim and victim to MS (prelude & allemande only):

Then we have Rostopovich, doing the prelude (the other parts can be found on UTUBE; look them up on your own!). Due to restrictions on UTUBE; that one cannot be embedded. Therefore it is just a link:


Finally, we have that chinese prodigy, Yo-Yo Ma (would be a nice name for a rapper. so near to Yo, Man!), doing an up-to-date version:

In case you like things like that, there is also a version of the prelude for Suite #1 on electric bass guitar done by German bass player Martin Motnik, former member of "Gothic-Metal"- band Darkseed, having released a solo-Album with Greg Bisonette on drums (whew!!). But you will have to search for that one on your own, again.

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