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  Mercury Living Presence
  470 644-2 (2 discs)
  Bach: Six Suites for Solo Cello - Janos Starker
  Bach: Six Suites for Solo Cello, Sonatas in G & D major for Cello and Piano

Janos Starker (cello)
Gyorgy Sebok (piano)
Track listing:
  Classical - Instrumental
Recording type:
Recording info:

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Related titles: 3

Reviews: 6 show all

Review by Cellophile October 23, 2004 (11 of 11 found this review helpful)
Performance:   Sonics:
There are many recordings of these fine pieces, dug out of the dustbin by the legendary Pablo Casals, and made into true concert pieces. This rendition by Janos Starker is from 1963-1965, at the absolute peak of his cellistic powers. He, Rostropovich and Fournier are the greatest cellists of the late 20th century.

This is a Mercury Living Presence reissue. I owned it as an LP years ago and I remember how stunning these performances are. The sound was and still is a little too biased toward the upper register, a fault I was hoping would be corrected, but alas was or could not be. My initial review stated that I was not sure if the SACD layer was superior to the CD, but, I must say that is because in my enthusiasm for the SACD layer I hadn't ever really done a fair comparison. There is no doubt, the SACD layer has a more integrated, smooth sound, the timbres being far more realistically portayed than the CD. The CD layer also seems constricted in soundstage compared to theSACD. Also, the bass in the SACD is rounder and more satisfying. Perhaps this is the same as " more accurate timbral reproduction.

I love these and to me, a cellist, they are must have documents of one of the greatest cellists of all time, playing what amounts to a "bible", for all cellists. By the way, Starker recorded these 5 times in his carrear, the last at age 70. That set is not on SACD, and is different in that even he admits his technical powers were slightly less, so he went for coherent construction rather than on the first set, where he strove for technical perfection (and I say he achieved it).

There will always be debates on the cello suites. Some love the original Casals romantic version, others are more strict constructionists, searching for an authentic performance. I like listening to them all and I appreciate each approach. Next I must try Wispelway, on a Baroque Cello!

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Review by mandel June 28, 2005 (5 of 7 found this review helpful)
Performance:   Sonics:  
I recieved this a few days ago, not sure if I'd really want to sit down through over 2 hours of mostly solo material, short attention span generation and all :)
I say mostly solo, as this release contains the six cello suites plus two sonatas for cello and piano. It went in my player, stayed there till the end, then disc 2 immediately followed. The music is fantastic, Bach at his best. The playing is great too, flawless and with plenty of feeling.

As for the 3 channel stereo sound, well it feels like you have a cello in your room, that deep fullbodied sound is reproduced fantastically. However it is a bit closely miked, and occasionally the notes seem to move about the soundstage a little (at least on my system). Not enough to be too distracting though, a bit of width maybe adds to the recording. Analogue hiss is minimal, I had to find it, it didn't come looking for me.

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Review by FivePointOne February 20, 2005 (5 of 8 found this review helpful)
Performance:   Sonics:
This 2-CD set is wonderful. Starker's playing is great, and the 3-channel sound quality is very nice.

I'd highly recommend this.

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Works: 6  

Johann Sebastian Bach - Cello Suite No. 1 in G major, BWV 1007
Johann Sebastian Bach - Cello Suite No. 2 in D minor, BWV 1008
Johann Sebastian Bach - Cello Suite No. 3 in C major, BWV 1009
Johann Sebastian Bach - Cello Suite No. 4 in E flat major, BWV 1010
Johann Sebastian Bach - Cello Suite No. 5 in C minor, BWV 1011
Johann Sebastian Bach - Cello Suite No. 6 in D major, BWV 1012