Audiophile Audition – BACH: The Cello Suites (complete, Anna Magdalena manuscript) – Matt Haimovitz, cello – Pentatone (2 discs)

Haimovitz gives thoughtful and well-considered performances of these seminal works in resonant sound that captures his baroque cello and cello piccolo (Suite 6) in terrific sonics. I won’t harp yet again on the felicities of recording solo and small ensembles in surround sound—often more than the largest Mahler symphony, these sorts of settings benefit from the finest sound, allowing the most subtle of expressions to come across as if one was sitting directly in the presence of these artists in the most intimate of listening spaces.

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Primephonic – Anna Magdalena’s Faithful Copy

“In Matt Haimovitz’s impressive almost-two-and-a-half hour recording, we are taken on a journey through the dances most of us may have heard on separate occasions, one suite a a time, or programmed as stand-alone movements, but rarely had the opportunity to experience in such a neat unit. This rarity is a very special must-have for this reason. The album is full of Haimovitz’s personality, with distinctive expressive flourishes and quirks.”

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Strings Magazine: Matt Haimovitz Returns to the Solo Suites and Intimate Venues

Given his commitment to connecting with his audience, Haimovitz chose a unique way to share this passion with his listeners. He has commissioned preludes to the Six Solo Suites, created by contemporary composers from diverse backgrounds and disciplines. “It’s a way to bring these suites into the 21st century,” he says, “to have living, breathing composers grapple with the materials, Bach’s musical building blocks, and find their own take on it.”

The six composers bringing contemporary vitality to Bach are Philip Glass, Luna Pearl Woolf, Du Yun, Vijay Iyer, Roberto Sierra, and Mohammed Fairouz. Haimovitz has encouraged them to draw on folk melodies, just as Bach did in his day. As we spoke, the pieces were still being written, and Haimovitz’s excitement and anticipation is contagious.

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