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.

6 Suites a Violoncello Solo senza Basso

Bruno Cocset records the six cello suites by Bach (BWV 1007-1011) on Alpha. I've been on a kick lately buying up the cello CDs by cellist Bruno Cocset. I've seen him perform live once, a seemingly young guy with energy. His recoring isn't particularly recent. Yet, after enjoying Peter Wilspelwey's great second recording on Channel Classics, I was still hungry for something different. Cocset's recording is miked close in a vary resonant space; comments online have identified this, noting that too many of the mechanical sounds with performing on a cello are captured, from breathing and fingers slapping against the fingerboard. What I find actually interesting is exactly how much detail of noise is captured from the fingerboard of the instrument, suggesting that perhaps the microphones were pointed up at the fingerboard rather than at the f-holes of the instrument. When listening to the recording through headphones, the music is almost binaural, but in a way that suggests, with resonance that all of the reverb is coming from above us, as if we were Cocset, playing at the bottom of a cylindrical space. On loudspeakers, the effect is far less troublesome, although in comparison, I prefer the sound of the recording made on Channel Classics referenced above. The sound engineering aside, Mr. Cocset gives us a very engaging reading of Bach's solo suites for the cello on a baroque instrument. The tempi for the most part are all spot-on, never feeling too slow or the opposite, too fast. Great intonation, too. Cocset passes the "2nd" test - my close examination of Bach's second suite, my favorite. The final gigue is played a great tempo, but the reading simply fails to take on the energy and abandon (perhaps) that cellist Yo-Yo Ma achieves in his recording aligned with 6 movies about the suites. There is still plenty to admire here, and this is why there is value in more than one interpretation of such great music. The suite is still a convincing interpretation, intelligently played, and like the other suites, coming from a good-sounding instrument. I recently purchased Cocset's Bach CD with chorale preludes and the gamba sonatas, and while that CD contains an opening track that I feel is a must-have, I am not necessarily as enthusiastic of putting a "must have" status on this recording. If you're like me, a fan of historically-informed performance, Bach, the cello, and maybe even the cellist Bruno Cocset, then this isn't a tough decision. If you already have 5 recordings of the Bach suites, then you might pass; if you're looking for a recording with an enormous bloom of sound in reverb, smart interpretation, with clean playing on a baroque instrument, than this might be your next purchase. Recommended.

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