Casals: Bach 6 Cello Suites - Angel Records Japan GR-2317-19 (3LP box set)
Box NM / LPs NM
This beautiful box set from Angel Records / EMI Japan (GR-2317-19, Japanese pressing, gray labels, mono, booklet included) features Pablo Casals' legendary account of Bach Six Suites for Solo Cello BWV 1007-1012, recorded in Paris and London during the years 1936-1939, a landmark in the Bach discography and in gramophone history.
Wrote Lionel Salter in the March 1989 issue of The Gramophone:
"Young music-lovers today may find it difficult to believe that, 50 years ago, major works by Bach were considered to be of such specialized appeal that recordings could be obtained only in a limited ''Society'' edition. The cello suites—nowadays available in about a dozen versions—had never been recorded until Fred Gaisberg, after protracted efforts, finally persuaded Casals to play them for HMV: Nos. 2 and 3 in London in November 1936, the rest in Paris in July 1938 and July 1939. Casals had hesitated for 35 years before committing to disc these works—long regarded as unplayable, and never performed in their entirety—which he had discovered at the age of 13 and worked on for 12 years before playing them to an astonished public. To do so he had had to evolve new techniques and, intellectually, to delve deeply into the character and inner structure of the music. He stressed the dance basis of the movements; and his vitality, rhythmic flexibility (to clarify the shape of phrases) and tonal nuance, and the vigour and variety of his bowing, still leap from the discs to impress the listener.
"From the profound contemplative quality of the G major Sarabande or the C minor Allemande to the zest of the C major Bourree, the breadth and grandeur of the D minor Suite's Prelude and the gravity of its Sarabande, the lightness of the E flat Allemande and Bourrees or the C minor Gavotte, the raptness of the C minor Sarabande, and the lucidity of thought behind the elaborate D major Allemande, EMI's term ''References'' could not be more apt, since these performances remain the classic yardstick by which all later ones must be judged."
Please note: The superb liner notes – printed on the reverse of each jacket – are by Paul Tortelier.
Included then are:
Suite No. 1 in G Major BWV 1007
Suite No. 2 in D minor BWV 1008
Suite No. 3 in C Major BWV 1009
Suite No. 4 in E-flat Major BWV 1010
Suite No. 5 in C minor BWV 1011
Suite No. 6 in D Major BWV 1012
Included is a full-size, 16-page booklet with extensive liner notes (replete with musical illustrations) – titles are in English, but all texts are in Japanese only.
The gradations of condition I use are as follows: MINT, Near-Mint, Excellent, Very Good, Good, Fair, Poor.
The condition of the box is near-MINT. Really, there are no flaws to speak of and the box appears almost as new – overall, a lovely collector's copy.
The condition of the booklet is EXCELLENT. There is a minor crease to the front page and slight evidence of handling, but that is all.
The condition of the 3 LPs is near-MINT throughout and playback is superb in all 3 – overall, these rate as truly fine collector's copies.