Bach, Hosokawa, Yun

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COMPOSERS: Bach,Hosokawa,Yun
WORKS: Cello Suite No. 5, BWV 1011; Cello Suite No. 6, BWV 1012
PERFORMER: Thomas Demenga (cello), Asako Urushihara (violin), etc
CATALOGUE NO: 461 862-2
Cellist Thomas Demenga has already issued the first four of Bach’s six suites for unaccompanied cello, adopting similar programme ideas to this latest release. That is to say, he juxtaposes the Bach pieces with contemporary compositions in which the cello plays a prominent part. Each of the earlier four discs contains a single Bach cello suite, together with compositions by Zimmermann, Sándor Veress, Elliott Carter and Heinz Holliger. The new issue features the remaining two Bach suites, Nos 5 and 6, while the contemporary works look towards the Orient in music by Japanese composer Toshio Hosokawa and the Korean Isang Yun. ‘An Eastern influence has become very strong for many people in the West,’ comments Demenga. ‘Meditation and other things have implanted themselves into Western culture and I think the situation with modern music is just the same. In any case, you can pair Bach with so many things – it’s almost as if he clarifies the pieces you play him with.’ While some readers will agree with him, others may feel less inclined to do so. But, whichever, the Bach remains the undisputed focal point of Demenga’s programme. There are some fine things in his Bach-playing, notably an eloquent feeling for phrases and an articulate manner of declaiming them. But intonation can be wayward and the Prelude of No. 5, at least, is rather gruff and lacking in poise. Nicholas Anderson