Bach – The 6 Cello Suites / New Mastering + Presentation (recording of the Century : Pablo Casals)

Bach – The 6 Cello Suites / New Mastering + Presentation (recording of the Century : Pablo Casals)

January 17, 2020 32 By Kailee Schamberger


When Casals was 13 his father bought him a full-sized cello and would regularly go with him to help in searching for more music for his weekly concerts at the café. One memorable day, rummaging in a second-hand shop near the harbour, he came across the Beethoven sonatas and then, to his astonishment, on a dusty shelf Six Suites for cello solo by Bach. ‘’I did not even know of their existence, and no-one had ever mentioned them to me. It was the great revelation of my life. I immediately felt that this was hugged my treasures all the way home. I started playing them in a state of indescribable excitement. For twelve years I studied and worked at them every day, and I was nearly 25 before I had the courage to play one of them in public. Before I did, no violinist or cellist had ever played a Suite in its entirety : one or other would play a sarabande, a gavotte or an allemande. But my intention was to play them in extenso…with all the repeats, so as to keep the cohesion and inner structure of each movement. In those days these compositions were thought of as cold and academic works. How could anyone think of Bach as cold, when these Suites seem to shine with the most glittering king of poetry?’’ Certainly, in Casal’s hands, there was nothing academic about them : although he scrupulously and minutely prepared and planned every detail, bringing out the various strands of the texture, and left nothing to chance inspiration, they gave the impression of spontaneity and glowed with exressive life. Even so, another 35 years were to elapse before he would consent after endless urging by HMV’s famous manager Fred Gaisberg to record the Suites. END