Johann Sebastian Bach - Six Suites for Cello Solo, BWV 1007-1012. Recorded in Prague at the Rudolfinum (1984)
Saša Večtomov - cello (made by Alessandro Gagliano, 1712)
Bach could hardly have imagined how popular his cycle of Six Suites for Cello Solo would become nearly 300 years after he finished writing them in Cöthen. There are more than 200 existing historical and contemporary recordings of "informed" and "modern" interpretations - that tells it all. The music makes extraordinary demands on players' technical and interpretive ability and their overall comprehension. In the suites, Bach managed to create music that is highly innovative (it is worth noting that the cello was still developing at the time), and yet he retained his stylistic purity and comprehensibility. While these are formally dance suites, the architecture of some of them is more like that of a cathedral, in part thanks to the wealth of contrapuntal writing. They are a great challenge for everyone who has mastered the cello, Saša Večtomov included. His first teacher was his father (he studied in Paris with Piatigorsky and Fournier and with Casals's assistant Alexanian). The playing of the young Večtomov was then strongly influenced by Rostropovich's teacher Semyon Kozolupov at the Moscow Conservatoire and by André Navarra in Italy. Besides his solo career, he also excelled at playing chamber music (Czech Trio, City of Prague Quartet) and was an equally wonderful teacher. For the recording of the Bach suites that he made in Prague at the Rudolfinum in the summer of 1984, he prepared himself for several years. In 1980, for example, he played the whole cycle from memory at a single concert. His recording can be characterised as having unmistakable beauty of tone, perfect intonation, and brilliant technique, but above all it is the deep comprehension of the "text" and the immediacy of the musicianship that make this recording something timeless and exceptional.
Bach - Cello Suites: timeless music on a timeless recording
“On each occasion that I've listened to this cycle, I feel that I've been taken on a spiritual journey. All in all, Večtomov manages to balance rhythmic buoyancy and flowing lyricism. Yet, there's penetrating depth in the slower more introspective pieces… I'm immensely grateful that this glorious recording has finally made it to CD after 35 years.” MusicWeb International, August 2020
“For those who can deal with repeat-less Bach suites, the emotional and physical presence and intensity resulting from Večtomov’s cello mastery and musical insight more than compensate… Večtomov’s Bach cycle is among the most gripping and absorbing ever recorded, and should be heard by anyone who cares about these works.” ClassicsToday.com, April 2021