Thursday, 5 October 2017

Bach - Cello Suites - Narroway

Rating: 4/5

A good interpretation

I like Richard Narroway's interpretation of the Cello Suites, although I'm not sure it really stands out among the many fine recordings of these works. 

Narroway is a very fine cellist with a lovely tone and excellent technique.  He does bring his own personality to the music (as he should), but he allows Bach to speak without overlaying the music with a lot of unnecessary tricks and quirks.  It's a fine, solid and very listenable performance.

My minor reservations are largely personal feelings: perhaps the Courante of Suite No.1 is a little too halting in its rhythm; those magnificent wide arpeggios in the Prelude to Suite No.3 are taken too fast and lightly to really ring out; the Sarabande of Suite No.5 lacks the monumental weight and depth that it can sometimes have…that sort of thing. 

Others may disagree, and overall this is a good interpretation.  The recorded sound is good (although there's some rather intrusive breathing at times) and I don't think anyone would be disappointed in Narroway's interpretation.  For me, it's not up there with Watkin, Isserlis, Fournier and a couple of others which I regard as truly great, nor with the delightful individuality of Anne Gastinel, but Narroway holds his own in a crowded field and I can recommend it.

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