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Suites for Cello Solo BWV 1007-1012
Phoebe Carrai (Cello)
Phoebe Carrai Cello Suites recording

S-1

J.S. Bach: The 6 Cello Suites

Suites for solo cello, BWV 1007-1012 [17:53, 19:24, 21:08, 25:26, 24:28, 29:53]

Phoebe Carrai (Violoncello)

Avie Record AV-0021
=

Aug 26-30, 2002 & Apr 21-24, 2003

2-CD / TT: 138:36
MP3 / TT: 138:12

Recorded a CREAR Classics, Argyll, Scotland, UK.
Review: Phoebe Carrai Cello Suites recording
Buy this album at:
2-CD (2003): Amazon.com | Amazon.co.uk | Amazon.de
2-CD (2003): Amazon.com | Amazon.co.uk | Amazon.de
Music Download: Amazon.com | Amazon.co.uk | Amazon.de | ClassicsOnline

Phoebe Carrai Cello Suites recording

Jan Hanford wrote (December 10, 2003):
Performance: Outstanding
Recording: Spacious

A remarkable performance that has taken its place as my favorite of the Cello Suites. Phoebe Carrai is a former member of Musica Antiqua Köln and is currently a member of the extraordinary Philharmonia Baroque. For this recording she performs on a cello from c.1690.

Her articulation is lively without going over the top. No chopping here: just exquisitely musical phrasing and delightful tempos. She makes the cello sing in ways I've rarely heard. The best I can describe it is that the edges are rounder, the result being a lovely sound that is both soothing and exciting.

This performance was recorded at at Crear, an innovative working space on the west coast of Scotland, combining studio and rehearsal space with acccommodation. Perhaps the rich resonance in which her performance was made adds to this beautiful sound. Ordinarily I would be critical of room resonance but here it really works. The experience of recording in this isolated space seems to have paid off for Phoebe Carrai because she has given us a treasure that I will be listening to frequently and with great pleasure.

You can listen to the album in its entirety at: http://www.magnatune.com/artists/carrai

Try it and hear for yourself.

 

Feedback to the above Review

Kirk McElhearn wrote (December 10, 2003):
Jan Hanford wrote:
< Performance: Outstanding
Recording: Spacious
A remarkable performance that has taken its place as my favorite of > the Cello Suites. >
I have to second this. I have a copy of this, and have not yet gotten around to reviewing it for MusicWeb, but I was amazed by how smooth and flowing the performance is; the sound is also excellent.

Anne Smith wrote (December 11, 2003):
[To Jan Hanford] Thanks for this Jan. Phoebe Carrai is new to me. I love the Cello Suites. This is definitely on my wish list.

Bradley Lehman wrote (December 11, 2003):
[To Jan Hanford] That's a beautiful review, Jan. Thanks! I'm eager to hear how the performance stacks up against my other two favorites on period cello: both by Pieter Wispelwey. And Pandolfo in his arrangement for viola da gamba....

Ehud Shiloni wrote (December 11, 2003):
[To Jan Hanford] So nice to see your name again on the List, like a refreshing breath of air from the "original" past!

Insert - for the benefit of the "newer" members: Jan Hanford holds the "Founding Mother" honours of the Bach Recordings List. She established the "First" list [on Listserve] and ran it from late 1997 to 1999. After she decided to call it quits, it was the esteemed Kirk who rose to the challenge and set up the existing List on Yahoo.

Can you compare Carai's performance to either Paul Beschi's or Ophelia Gaillard's recordings?

Bradley Lehman wrote (December 11, 2003):
< And Pandolfo in his arrangement for viola da gamba.... >
http://www.glossamusic.com/artists/ppandolfo.htm

Pandolfo recognizes the 17th century patterns of composition and imagination in Bach's notation. He brings that out with extraordinary clarity and passion, reading far beyond the notes and rhythms to the irregular shapes they represent. Brilliant performance, free in rhythm yet firmly rooted in the dance (and these are suites of
dances, after all).

And he provides two booklets with the set: one for people who value an imaginative explanation (an extended "dialogue" between viol and cello, based in part on Hubert le Blanc's essay), and one for everybody else (i.e. the more normal kind of booklet notes). Those are downloadable from: http://www.glossamusic.com/catalogue/0405.htm

Samples: http://www.amazon.de/exec/obidos/ASIN/B00005N8CS
One of my favorites is the Allemande of suite #4: track 8 on disc 2.

Jan Hanford wrote (December 11, 2003):
Ehud Shiloni wrote:
< So nice to see your name again on the List, like a refreshing breath of air from the "original" past! >
Many thanks.

< Can you compare Carai's performance to either Paul Beschi's or Ophelia Gaillard's recordings? >
I am not familiar with Ophelia Gaillard's recording but if you mean the Paolo Beschi recording I do not like it: http://www.jsbach.org/BeschiViolincelloSoloSuitesIVI.html

It's too harsh and choppy for me which is why I prefer Phoebe's recording.

Jan Hanford wrote (December 11, 2003):
[To Bradley Lehman] I also highly recommend this recording. Its difference is part of what makes it so enjoyable.

Also, I saw Pandolfo in concert last year and he is extraordinary.

I find it interesting that some styles of performance work well live but do not work on cd. Being there and watching the musician and his passion for the music makes it all come together. Without that connection sometimes a performance on cd can be unappealing when you would otherwise have enjoyed it at a concert.

Now that I've seen Pandolfo play I listen to his recordings differently and appreciate him much more.

Donald Satz wrote (December 11, 2003):
[To Jan Hanford] I really go for the Beschi set - distinctive with much vitality and incisiveness. I have the Carrai but am having trouble with it so far; her contours might be too smooth for my tastes. Still, it beats the sleepy-time Wispelwey set. Everytime I hear it, I implore Wispelwey to move forward and show some life, but he's not responsive to my requests.

Jan Hanford wrote (December 11, 2003):
[To Donald Satz] This is why I'm happy so much variety is out there. Some people will love the Beschi (or not) and some people will love the Carrai (or not).

We're not stuck with just one version but, rather, several very personal interpretations. That way everybody wins.

Michael Cervin wrote (December 12, 2003):
[To Donald Satz] There are two Wispelwey sets, of course ... Do you have set #1 or set #2 in mind, or maybe both? If you have heard both, it would be interesting to hear about your further impressions in comparing the sets?

Peter Bright wrote (December 12, 2003):
[To Michael Cervin] I enjoyed listening to the Carrai, but it didn't sustain my attention much - a lovely lilting, softly flowing account, but I prefer more edge. Like Don, I have the same problem with Wispelway (#2) - I want both performers to lean into the contours of the music more and provide more shape and vitality.

Donald Satz wrote (December 12, 2003):
[To Michael Cervin] I only have the more recent Wispelwey set.

Ehud Shiloni wrote (December 14, 2003):
Jan Hanford wrote:
< if you mean the Paolo Beschi recording I do not like it: It's too harsh and choppy >
Yeah - that's how I like it! "Harsh and choppy", or, as Don says: "distinctive with much vitality and incisiveness", or, as Peter says: "lean[s] into the contours of the music more and provide[s] more shape and vitality". My taste is on that end of the variety scale, but thanks for your input - now I know where to place Carrai's on my own order of preferances.

Andrys wrote (December 15, 2003):
[To Peter Bright] Carrai replaced Jaap der Linden, who I thought played with wonderful shape and vitality. I saw Phoebe Carrai when she was new with Musica Antiqua Köln and she was not yet comfortable with them. But, yes, very smooth.

I think I'd probably enjoy her album, but I would really have loved to hear der Linden do these too.

Johan van Veen wrote (December 15, 2003):
[To Andrys] Jaap ter Linden has recorded them on Harmonia mundi France. I haven't heard them all, but only a couple on the radio. On the basis of that I didn't feel the need to listen to them all. If I interpret the comments on Phoebe Carrai's recording right, I think they are in the same league: just too smooth for my taste.

Bradley Lehman wrote (December 15, 2003):
[To Andrys] Must have been a long time ago already!

One of my professors was especially a fan of her playing in the MAK Art of Fugue (recorded 1984): pointing to her warm tone in that album as some of the best available on period instruments, in recordings, up to that time. I agree, very nicely done there...especially at the beginning of the unfinished Cp 14: track 22.

Jack Botelho wrote (April 20, 2004):
[To Jan Hanford] The above was posted some time ago. The single movement I listened to from the above link sounded very polished. I wonder how Phoebe Carrai's recording compares to Jaap ter Linden's - they seem to both share a very refined, reserved quality at first listening.

 

Suites for Solo Cello BWV 1007-1012: Details
Reviews of Individual Recordings: Comparative Review:
Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 5 | Part 6 | Cello Suites - P. Carrai | Cello Suites - R. Cohen | Cello Suites - J. Friesen | Cello Suites - P. Monteilhet | Cello Suites - H. Suzuki
General Discussions: Part 1 | MD:
Cello Suite No. 1 in G major, BWV 1007

Phoebe Carrai: Short Biography | Recordings of Instrumental Works
Reviews of Instrumental Recordings:
Phoebe Carrai Cello Suites recording

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