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Bruno Philippe|J.S. Bach: The Complete Cello Suites

J.S. Bach: The Complete Cello Suites

Bruno Philippe

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Bach's six suites for solo cello have been recorded numerous times, in almost every conceivable way, but cellist Bruno Philippe argues in his first-person notes that "honesty and faith in one's ideas can result in a form of individuality. Which means there are as many possible interpretations as there are cellists ready to serve this music." He delivers on this promise. Philippe has been known previously for Romantic cello music, but the pandemic spurred him to investigate the Bach suites and Baroque ways of playing them, guided by the Baroque ensemble Jupiter. Here, he uses gut strings and a Baroque bow, but his is not exactly a historical interpretation; the Romantic orientation of his playing remains, with plenty of rubato and highly expressive phrasing. Instead, he uses the capabilities of the bow to achieve strong differentiation between the individual suites and also within them. He sees the six suites as emblematic of, in order, birth, experience, life, spirituality, death, and resurrection. Of course, one may take issue with these ideas, but each suite does emerge as an individual in his hands. Folkish elements in the dances are stressed, and one might sample the wiry and bracing Gigues to get an idea of his overall approach. Philippe is well served by Harmonia Mundi's sound engineering in an ideal venue called La Courroie, an old industrial building that allows the scope of the music to emerge while not overwhelming its interior qualities. A superb set of Bach suites that will cause many to hear the music in new ways.
© James Manheim /TiVo

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J.S. Bach: The Complete Cello Suites

Bruno Philippe

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Cello Suite No. 1 in G major, BWV 1007 (Johann Sebastian Bach)

1
I. Prelude
00:02:07

Johann Sebastian Bach, Composer - Bruno Philippe, Cello, MainArtist

2022 harmonia mundi 2022 harmonia mundi

2
II. Allemande
00:04:29

Johann Sebastian Bach, Composer - Bruno Philippe, Cello, MainArtist

2022 harmonia mundi 2022 harmonia mundi

3
III. Courante
00:02:22

Johann Sebastian Bach, Composer - Bruno Philippe, Cello, MainArtist

2022 harmonia mundi 2022 harmonia mundi

4
IV. Sarabande
00:02:53

Johann Sebastian Bach, Composer - Bruno Philippe, Cello, MainArtist

2022 harmonia mundi 2022 harmonia mundi

5
V. Minuets I & II
00:02:46

Johann Sebastian Bach, Composer - Bruno Philippe, Cello, MainArtist

2022 harmonia mundi 2022 harmonia mundi

6
VI. Gigue
00:01:21

Johann Sebastian Bach, Composer - Bruno Philippe, Cello, MainArtist

2022 harmonia mundi 2022 harmonia mundi

Cello Suite No. 2 in D minor, BWV 1008 (Johann Sebastian Bach)

7
I. Prélude
00:03:35

Johann Sebastian Bach, Composer - Bruno Philippe, Cello, MainArtist

2022 harmonia mundi 2022 harmonia mundi

8
II. Allemande
00:02:41

Johann Sebastian Bach, Composer - Bruno Philippe, Cello, MainArtist

2022 harmonia mundi 2022 harmonia mundi

9
III. Courante
00:01:37

Johann Sebastian Bach, Composer - Bruno Philippe, Cello, MainArtist

2022 harmonia mundi 2022 harmonia mundi

10
IV. Sarabande
00:04:17

Johann Sebastian Bach, Composer - Bruno Philippe, Cello, MainArtist

2022 harmonia mundi 2022 harmonia mundi

11
V. Minuets I & II
00:03:05

Johann Sebastian Bach, Composer - Bruno Philippe, Cello, MainArtist

2022 harmonia mundi 2022 harmonia mundi

12
VI. Gigue
00:02:27

Johann Sebastian Bach, Composer - Bruno Philippe, Cello, MainArtist

2022 harmonia mundi 2022 harmonia mundi

Cello Suite No. 3 in C major, BWV 1009 (Johann Sebastian Bach)

13
I. Prelude
00:02:44

Johann Sebastian Bach, Composer - Bruno Philippe, Cello, MainArtist

2022 harmonia mundi 2022 harmonia mundi

14
II. Allemande
00:03:30

Johann Sebastian Bach, Composer - Bruno Philippe, Cello, MainArtist

2022 harmonia mundi 2022 harmonia mundi

15
III. Courante
00:02:35

Johann Sebastian Bach, Composer - Bruno Philippe, Cello, MainArtist

2022 harmonia mundi 2022 harmonia mundi

16
IV. Sarabande
00:03:50

Johann Sebastian Bach, Composer - Bruno Philippe, Cello, MainArtist

2022 harmonia mundi 2022 harmonia mundi

17
V. Bourrées I & II
00:02:55

Johann Sebastian Bach, Composer - Bruno Philippe, Cello, MainArtist

2022 harmonia mundi 2022 harmonia mundi

18
VI. Gigue
00:02:50

Johann Sebastian Bach, Composer - Bruno Philippe, Cello, MainArtist

2022 harmonia mundi 2022 harmonia mundi

DISC 2

Cello Suite No. 4 in E-Flat Major, BWV 1010 (Johann Sebastian Bach)

1
I. Prelude
00:03:24

Johann Sebastian Bach, Composer - Bruno Philippe, Cello, MainArtist

2022 harmonia mundi 2022 harmonia mundi

2
II. Allemande
00:03:44

Johann Sebastian Bach, Composer - Bruno Philippe, Cello, MainArtist

2022 harmonia mundi 2022 harmonia mundi

3
III. Courante
00:02:58

Johann Sebastian Bach, Composer - Bruno Philippe, Cello, MainArtist

2022 harmonia mundi 2022 harmonia mundi

4
IV. Sarabande
00:04:17

Johann Sebastian Bach, Composer - Bruno Philippe, Cello, MainArtist

2022 harmonia mundi 2022 harmonia mundi

5
V. Bourrées I & II
00:03:56

Johann Sebastian Bach, Composer - Bruno Philippe, Cello, MainArtist

2022 harmonia mundi 2022 harmonia mundi

6
VI. Gigue
00:02:21

Johann Sebastian Bach, Composer - Bruno Philippe, Cello, MainArtist

2022 harmonia mundi 2022 harmonia mundi

Cello Suite No. 5 in C minor, BWV 1011 (Johann Sebastian Bach)

7
I. Prelude
00:05:13

Johann Sebastian Bach, Composer - Bruno Philippe, Cello, MainArtist

2022 harmonia mundi 2022 harmonia mundi

8
II. Allemande
00:05:08

Johann Sebastian Bach, Composer - Bruno Philippe, Cello, MainArtist

2022 harmonia mundi 2022 harmonia mundi

9
III. Courante
00:02:02

Johann Sebastian Bach, Composer - Bruno Philippe, Cello, MainArtist

2022 harmonia mundi 2022 harmonia mundi

10
IV. Sarabande
00:03:31

Johann Sebastian Bach, Composer - Bruno Philippe, Cello, MainArtist

2022 harmonia mundi 2022 harmonia mundi

11
V. Gavottes I & II
00:04:10

Johann Sebastian Bach, Composer - Bruno Philippe, Cello, MainArtist

2022 harmonia mundi 2022 harmonia mundi

12
VI. Gigue
00:02:18

Johann Sebastian Bach, Composer - Bruno Philippe, Cello, MainArtist

2022 harmonia mundi 2022 harmonia mundi

Cello Suite No. 6 in D major, BWV 1012 (Johann Sebastian Bach)

13
I. Prélude
00:04:44

Johann Sebastian Bach, Composer - Bruno Philippe, Cello, MainArtist

2022 harmonia mundi 2022 harmonia mundi

14
II. Allemande
00:08:11

Johann Sebastian Bach, Composer - Bruno Philippe, Cello, MainArtist

2022 harmonia mundi 2022 harmonia mundi

15
III. Courante
00:03:20

Johann Sebastian Bach, Composer - Bruno Philippe, Cello, MainArtist

2022 harmonia mundi 2022 harmonia mundi

16
IV. Sarabande
00:04:30

Johann Sebastian Bach, Composer - Bruno Philippe, Cello, MainArtist

2022 harmonia mundi 2022 harmonia mundi

17
V. Gavottes I & II
00:03:59

Johann Sebastian Bach, Composer - Bruno Philippe, Cello, MainArtist

2022 harmonia mundi 2022 harmonia mundi

18
VI. Gigue
00:03:57

Johann Sebastian Bach, Composer - Bruno Philippe, Cello, MainArtist

2022 harmonia mundi 2022 harmonia mundi

Album review

Bach's six suites for solo cello have been recorded numerous times, in almost every conceivable way, but cellist Bruno Philippe argues in his first-person notes that "honesty and faith in one's ideas can result in a form of individuality. Which means there are as many possible interpretations as there are cellists ready to serve this music." He delivers on this promise. Philippe has been known previously for Romantic cello music, but the pandemic spurred him to investigate the Bach suites and Baroque ways of playing them, guided by the Baroque ensemble Jupiter. Here, he uses gut strings and a Baroque bow, but his is not exactly a historical interpretation; the Romantic orientation of his playing remains, with plenty of rubato and highly expressive phrasing. Instead, he uses the capabilities of the bow to achieve strong differentiation between the individual suites and also within them. He sees the six suites as emblematic of, in order, birth, experience, life, spirituality, death, and resurrection. Of course, one may take issue with these ideas, but each suite does emerge as an individual in his hands. Folkish elements in the dances are stressed, and one might sample the wiry and bracing Gigues to get an idea of his overall approach. Philippe is well served by Harmonia Mundi's sound engineering in an ideal venue called La Courroie, an old industrial building that allows the scope of the music to emerge while not overwhelming its interior qualities. A superb set of Bach suites that will cause many to hear the music in new ways.
© James Manheim /TiVo

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