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CD Review

Johann Sebastian Bach

Works for Solo Cello

  • Johann Sebastian Bach: Cello Suites BWV 1007-1011
  • Bernd Alois Zimmerman: Sonata
  • Howard Skempton: 6 Figures
  • Simon Holt: Feet of Clay
  • Gerald Barry: Triorchic Blues
  • Hans Werner Henze: Serenade
Ulrich Heinen, cello
Metier MSV28511 2CDs
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What is behind the idea of grouping together Bach's unique masterpieces for the solo cello with contemporary pieces for the same medium one may ask? Well, the brainchild of this hugely interesting double CD set is none other than the soloist himself Ulrich Heinen. Heinen confesses that he has been extremely fortunate to be able to commission solo cello pieces from such important British composers as Simon Holt, Howard Skempton and Gerald Barry, and when these works were brought to fruition, Heinen was completely taken in by their beauty and inspirational level. He wasted no time in performing them with frequency mostly in conjunction with Bach's Cello Suites, but he was still dissatisfied for some reason.

To reach a wider audience he thought it would be exciting to present them on CD along with Bach's eternal creations, and this issue is a result of this idea. Heinen decided to leave out Bach's Suite #6 as this demands a 5 string instrument with a top E-string and the soloist wanted to perform all the pieces on the same cello (with modern pitch). He also wanted a balanced programme with old and new sounds, so he included two 20th century classics, Henze's Serenade and Zimmerman's Sonata. This is all exhilarating stuff, passionately performed and superbly recorded.

Copyright © 2009, Gerald Fenech