Yo-Yo Ma’s father, a violinist, taught his son Bach’s First Cello Suite when the latter was just four years old. So, at 63, Ma has lived with this music for almost six decades. As he says in a note to this his third – and according to him, last – recording of Bach’s six suites for solo cello, they have over that period “given me sustenance, comfort, and joy during times of stress, celebration, and loss”.

As they have to those countless numbers of us who have also lived with these works for much of our lives, whether as players, listeners or both. “Timeless” can become clichéd when describing...