Casals: Bach Suites for Solo Cello Nos. 1 & 2 - Electrola E 80496 / WCLP 635
Jacket VG / LP EX
This beautiful LP – a fine collector's copy – from Electrola (E 80496 / WCLP 635, German pressings, red label, mono, original inner sleeves included) features Pablo Casal's legendary account of Bach Suites for Solo Cello No. 1 in G Major BWV 1007 and No. 2 in D minor BWV 1008, from his cycle of the complete set, recorded in Paris and London during the years 1936-1939, a true landmark in the Bach discography and in gramophone history in what is among its finest possible pressings.
Wrote the eminent critic 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."
The reverse side of the jacket carries insightful liner notes by fellow cellist Paul Tortelier, printed in German only. The memorable cover photo of Casals is uncredited.
CONDITION – PLEASE READ CAREFULLY:
The gradations of condition I use are as follows: MINT, Near-Mint, Excellent, Very Good, Good, Fair, Poor.
The condition of the jacket is VERY GOOD. There is some discoloration and creasing, but that is all. There are no seamsplits, owners' markings, bends, or other defects, and the whole remains solid, bright, glossy, and highly attractive – overall, a very good collector's copy.
The condition of the LP itself is EXCELLENT. Although the surfaces are not perfectly silent, really this is a fine copy and playback is superb, close to NM. If you must have a flawless or NM copy, then please do not buy this LP. Overall, rates as an excellent collector's copy.