The very short list of credits on this Warner Classics release includes Russian American cellist Nina Kotova and producer Adam Abeshouse, who delivers a very closely miked sound in the frequently used Performing Arts Recital Hall of Purchase College on Long Island, New York. But perhaps the uncredited star on this set of Bach's Six Suites for solo cello is Kotova's 1679 Stradivarius instrument, which Kotova exploits to the maximum. Her reading is one of those in the line coming down from Pablo Casals, with a high degree of expressiveness generated through variations in tempo and articulation. Hear any of the concluding gigues, which come off like late Romantic witches' dances, for an example, or the increasingly unexpected relationships among the Gavotte sections in the Suite No. 6 in D major, BWV 1012 (CD 2, track 17).
The musical talents of Elizabeth-Claude Jacquet, who became Jacquet de La Guerre at her marriage in 1684 to the organist Marin de la Guerre, attracted the patronage of Louis XIVs court while she was still little more than a child. She was an admired singer, virtuoso player of the harpsichord and composer of at least one opera (Cphale et Procris, 1694), a number of cantatas both secular and sacred, trio sonatas and the harpsichord works recorded here.
In many ways this is a special recording. It features first-desks from the Chicago Sym. playing two of Bach's Brandenburg Concertos, and so far beyond the average Baroque ensemble are they that one yearns for the other four. Just to hear the amazing trumpet solos in Concerto no. 2 by the legendary Adolph Herseth repays the cost of the CD. But we also get James Levine doing double duty at the harpsichord in Concerto no. 5. One deficit from the rise of period performance is that non-specialists have been driven out. The days when an all-around musician like Levine or Leonard Bernstein performed Bach and Handel are more or less over, and their replacements, to be tactful, are not on such an exalted level of talent…. By Santa Fe Listener
Schiff’s performances are, as expected, profound, masterful, and not flashy at all. While he ornaments the works creatively, he doesn’t exaggerate. He is sometimes serious, sometimes playful, yet it’s clear just how much he understands and appreciates this music…
Denise Djokic is a gifted cellist from Halifax, Nova Scotia. Cellist Denise Djokic has been praised worldwide for her sincere, powerful interpretations, and her bold command of the instrument. Instantly recognized by her "arrestingly beautiful tone colour" (The Strad). She moves audiences with her natural musical instinct, and her remarkable combination of strength and sensitivity. Denise has been the subject of a BRAVO! TV documentary entitled "Seven Days, Seven Nights", which followed her through a week-long recital tour. She has also been a speaker at IdeaCity in Toronto, and was a keynote speaker at the Queen's Women In Leadership Conference. Denise was named by MacLean's Magazine as one of the top "25 Canadians who are Changing our World", and by ELLE Magazine as one of "Canada's Most Powerful Women".