JS Bach: Cello Suites

Pablo Casals' groundbreaking recording of the Cello Suites

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Pablo Casals (cello) (1936-9) EMI 965 9212

It was a chance discovery in a Catalan junkshop that ultimately led to the making of one of the 20th century’s truly great recordings. When the 13-year-old Pablo Casals came across the dusty scores of Bach’s Cellos Suites he described his find as ‘the great revelation of my life’.

But only after living and breathing them for almost half a century, did he then feel ready to set them down in the recording studios in London and Paris between 1936 and 1939. It’s the thrill of an uncharted musical odyssey that sets these performances apart.

Their greatness is difficult to describe but easy to hear – technical brilliance, eloquence, glowing tone, dancing rhythms and complete identification with Bach’s masterpiece make analysis redundant.

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