The six Bach Cello Suites are the cornerstone of the cello repertory. They make for ultimate judgement, able to intimidate and awe player and listener alike. Pablo Casals discovered them for the modern world and made them his own. Now Michael Goldschlager has put his own stamp on them.

There’s no sign of intimidation here. From the first moment, Goldschlager gives us a committed and profoundly thoughtful interpretation of the Suites. The warm acoustic, though fine, does not quite match the deep glow of my favourite recording by Heinrich Schiff, but this is a different reading, with Goldschlager seeming to imbue the music with deep, intense personal emotion.

In his thoughtful notes to this 2-CD set, Goldschlager explains that he finds the Suites almost skeletal in outline, believing that if Bach had revisited them they might have been fleshed out with far more embellishment. But it is this very austerity in which he seems to rejoice in performance, an austerity which is, at the same time, the essence of beauty.

This is a wonderful reading which can find a place alongside the best and most famous in the catalogue. The performance is notable for its cohesion and commitment; the Bach Suites are revealed in all their strength and grace.

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