In the '80s there were those listeners who thought that Heinrich Schiff might redeem cello performance practice from fatal beauty and lethal elegance. Aside from the burly and brawny Rostropovich, more and more cellists were advocating a performance style whose ideals were perfect intonation and graceful phrasing. In some repertoire, say, Fauré, these are perfectly legitimate goals. In other repertoire, Beethoven and Brahms, say, it is a terrible mistake. In Bach's Cello Suites, as the fay and fragile Yo-Yo Ma recordings make clear, it was a terminal mistake. Not so in Schiff's magnificently muscular 1984 recordings of the suites: Schiff's rhythms, his tempos, his tone, his intonation, and especially his interpretations were anything but fay or fragile. In Schiff's performance, Bach's Cello Suites are not the neurasthenic music of a composer supine with dread and despair in the dark midnight of the soul, but the forceful music of a mature composer in full control of himself and his music.
Cellist Sara Sant'Ambrogio says ''Before I knew language, I knew Bach'' referring to her earliest memories of growing up in a house full of classical music. A founding member of the Eroica Trio, with recordings on Angel/EMI Classics, Sant'Ambrogio has been profiled in Strings, Strad, Gramophone, and more. She performs on a Matteo Goffriller cello, Venice, ca. 1715. Sara earned rave reviews for her earlier Bach CD (Cello Suites, 1, 3, & 5), and these recordings are even better.
Tilman Hoppstock is one of Germany’s most famous guitar players and the work of Bach stands in his focus for a long time: His research of over 30 years culminated in the publication of two book titles and his musicological edition is considered today a standard work by nearly all guitarists who occupy themselves with Bach. In 2013 he earned the doctor’s degree for his research on Bach. The Six Suites for solo cello are nowadays performed on a wide range of instruments and Tilman Hoppstock has adapted the Suites Nos. 1, 2 and 5 for his instrument the guitar. His large knowledge of the contrapunctal technique of Bach combined with his stupendous virtuosity on the guitar resulted in a recording of great musicality and sensibility. © Christophorus
Most of Sara Sant'Ambrogio's recordings have been as cellist with the Eroica Trio, but she takes on the odd numbers of J.S. Bach's Six Suites for unaccompanied cello in this 2009 solo outing, and it's an ambitious undertaking. This album faces comparisons with several great recordings of the suites, and this young cellist likewise faces scrutiny for playing works associated with such names as Casals, Fournier, and Rostropovich, past masters of the instrument.
Over the course of his career, Steven Isserlis has performed the two cello concertos of Franz Joseph Haydn with several orchestras, and recorded them previously with the Chamber Orchestra of Europe on RCA. This 2017 Hyperion release features Isserlis performing Haydn's Cello Concerto No. 1 in C major, H. 7b:1 and the Cello Concerto No. 2 in D major, H. 7b:2 with the Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie Bremen in a lively, all-Classical program that also includes Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach's Cello Concerto No. 3 in A major, H439, and two short filler pieces, Isserlis' arrangement of Geme la tortorella from Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart's La finta giardiniera, and the Adagio from Luigi Boccherini's Cello Concerto in G major, G480.