I love music.

I write about the music I like and have purchased for the benefit of better understanding it and sharing my preferences with others.

Peter Wispelwey plays Bach

Today I decided to go for another version of Bach's cello suites. He wrote six, and I love the edition recorded by Yo-Yo Ma. But I've also been admiring the work of cellist Pieter Wispelwey, who records a lot on Channel Classics. I picked his Bach set via iTunes. I like the close miking of his great-sounding instrument. He plays with gusto in areas where gusto is sometimes lacking by other performers. He adopts some nice tempos (I tend to lean more to fast than slow, and he kept me very engaged). This was a personal reading that revealed to me some emotional feedback that I hadn't noticed before. That's to say -- I established some new respect for a few movements (tracks) where I hadn't really "heard" as evocative a statement as I had in the past. With great masterworks, there's often something else to say. Some years ago I picked up the Ma DVDs. He made six films, each one centered around a suite. It was an interesting project, because some of the films were more successful than others. What I brought away from those were two things: (1) Ma really knows, and "owns" these works. They're in his body and his fingers. (2) This music means so much (different things) to so many people. That's why when I focused on Wispelwey's reading of BWV 1012.5 (two gavottes) I had a very emotional reaction. The music pouring into my ears was not unlike someone coming in and turning on lights in a bedroom. "A ha!" The music is in a relatively sunny D major, but it's dark. I sat here thinking that despite the cellist's job of ripping all of those multi-stopped chords with happy music, something very sad was just beneath the surface. I hate to use such simplistic terms (happy vs. sad), but Wispelwey brought to me a type of melancholy bliss. More people (including, perhaps the cellists themselves), ought to talk about what they hear and what they feel and appreciate in an interpretation. I assure you, this is a great reading when it inspires such thought on its own.

Zefiro Water music

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