Every Classical musician knows that there is much more to performing a piece of music than just following the notes written upon the musical staff. Performing a piece of Classical music is also about interpreting those notes. Some of those pieces are more difficult to interpret than others; like the music of Johann Sebastian Bach, who provided no annotations on how he thought his work should be performed.
While some artists shy away from the Cello Suites by Bach, Grammy Award winning cellist Zuill Bailey relishes in them and has released a limited edition set of all six of Bach’s Cello Suites.
Available now, Octave Records is offering a four LP boxed set of Zuill Bailey performing all six of the Suites solo. The boxed collection is limited to just 500 copies and have been signed by the artist. After using the latest technology available to press the records, each was inspected by hand to ensure the best possible sound quality.
The Suites were not recorded in the studio but rather in a theatre – the Ikeda Theater in the Mesa Arts Center in Mesa, Arizona.
One of the world’s premiere cello players, Bailey and his 1693 Italian Mateo Goffriller Ex Mischa Schneider “Rosette” cello, has shared the stage with numerous artists including Itzhak Perlman, Stanislav Skrowaczewski, Jaime Laredo, János Starker, and the Moscow Chamber Orchestra.
Bailey originally recorded the Cello Suites in 2008, but after a world pandemic and some time away from his cello, he returns to the works with a new outlook on how they should be performed; saying, “I began playing Bach very differently – simpler. I found it purifying. The less I tried to ‘interpret’ the music, the better it sounded.”
Speaking on the Suites, Bailey said, “when I was a kid, the Bach Cello Suites were not played in public – they were so difficult that people were afraid of them. Yet in my 20s and 30s they became my guide and have remained so.” He notes that, “this cello was made when Bach was eight years old, so it was the sound he would have heard when composing the Suites.”
The four vinyl LP set sells for $149 on the Octave Records site. The collection is also available in a variety of digital download formats and on CD.
feature photo credit: courtesy of Octave Records and PS Audio