Bach: The Cello Suites
$38 (Australian dollars)
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|David Pereira gives a personal view of these works which have remained the cornerstone of the cellist's repertoire. David is only the second Australian to have recorded these works. His interpretations are full of the romanticism one has come to expect from Pereira, but tempered by a thorough understanding of the historical requirements of these seminal masterpieces. This 2 CD set forms part of Tall Poppies' tribute to this important Bach year, along with the set of organ works, Clavierübung III, played by John O'Donnell (TP140).|
|G major - BWV 1007|
D minor - BWV 1008
C major - BWV 1009
E flat major - BWV 1010
C minor - BWV 1011
D major - BWV 1012
|The headlines might read: TOP AUSTRALIAN PERFORMER HONOURS THE GREAT BACH. Reading on, the substance of the text would show that the issue of this two CD set of Bach’s six Cello Suites, BWV 1007 - 1012, signifies a significant milestone in Australia. This recording brings together the prominent Australian cellist, David Pereira, the celebration of the two-hundred-and-fiftieth anniversary of Johann Sebastian’s death and a leading Australian recording company, Tall Poppies.|
During Pereira’s career of the past ten years as Senior Lecturer in ‘Cello at the Canberra School of Music, five prominent Australian composers have written works for him. These have pushed the technical requirements of ‘cello playing to the extreme. Many of these works he has recorded with Tall Poppies, whose deliberate policy is to promote Australian performers and music, including, in 1996, the first CD of solo Australian ‘cello music [Cello Dreaming, TP075]. This year, he has recorded the complete ‘cello works of Peter Sculthorpe with them.
All this experience has produced the necessary maturity for the music on this present disc. These six emotionally and technically demanding dance suites are quintessential Bach because they enshrined elements from his entire output. The solo cello is required to sing and dance through the complete gamut of emotions from brooding, spiritual profundity to the heights of ecstatic joy. This is masterfully achieved through a single melodic line, punctuated ingeniously by polyphonic and brief chordal sections.
Pereira has probably been playing this music for years but, to his credit, he has not rushed to record it. A performance demands a carefully considered architecture. He has achieved this through the production of a whole palette of colours coupled with varying shades of dynamics and a variety of articulation and tone, produced by subtle bowing techniques. These achievements mark this recording as an important milestone in Pereira’s career. The Tall Poppies engineers fully support Pereira’s radiant and expansive tone quality, which is fundamental to this music. Two previous Tall Poppies CDs have already won him ABC awards for Best Australian Recording; I anticipate that this one will give him the hat-trick.
This is relevant music for our times; it offers spiritual nourishment to a hugely over-stressed generation which constantly seeks inner peace. One surrenders to it by listening in candle-light, or even in complete darkness (as in recent Australian performances) so that the music’s full impact may resonate in our souls. This can never be music for merely casual listening. Until now, I have always remained faithful to Tortellier’s recording of thirty years ago; but this performance is such an important Australian landmark, during this special Bach year, that it cannot possibly be overlooked.
David Pereira’s intensely personal view of Bach’s solo cello suits forms part of Tall Poppies’ imposingly presented Bach series. Always thoughtful, Pereira steers a steady course between the extremes of gruff romanticism and soft-grained historicism, treating each movement as an individual interpretative challenge. Occasionally I would have preferred some greater differentiation of mood (a little more weight in the menuet of the first suite, for example), but such essentially abstract music will always elicit a great variety of approaches. The dance-like character of the movements is not entirely forgotten, which ensures these performances maintain rhythmic momentum and, where appropriate, a sense of playfulness. Graeme Skinner’s notes make for thought-provoking reading.
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