Wen-Sinn Yang

Bach: 6 Suites for Violoncello, BWV 1007-1012 [CD & DVD Video]

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Arthaus Musik's collection of the complete Bach solo cello suites by cellist Wen-Sinn Yang is presented to listeners on not two, but four discs: two DVDs and two CDs. The audio content on both is the same, but the DVD includes the video performance in the Church of St. Servatius. As is all too often the case, videos made of the Bach suites have a terrible time getting the audio and video tracks to line up, and this offering is no different. What listeners hear has little or nothing to do with what they are seeing on the screen, a fact that becomes increasingly disconcerting after only a few minutes to say nothing of two full DVDs. The recording aesthetic is exactly what one might think of when pondering a solo instrument recorded in a church; the sound is highly reverberant, a fact that some listeners may enjoy but others will find it gets in the way of the cello and the music speaking for themselves. Yang's playing of the suites is quite personal and individualized, again something listeners will either love or hate. He adds a fair amount of his own ornamentation, including frequent perplexing appoggiaturas in directions that seem contrary to the line. Yang is also extremely demonstrative in his execution; phrase endings and pivotal notes are overly exaggerated, as if a listener would not be able to discern these qualities without assistance. Though technically well-performed, Yang's attempts at doing something musically different are not likely to garner a wide fan base.

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