Dmitry Badiarov

Bach: Cello Suites

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Just as there are countless differing opinions on the "right" or "best" way to perform the six solo cello suites of J.S. Bach, there are many different views on precisely which instrument Bach had intended his works to be performed on. Modern listeners are of course most familiar with performances on a modern, four-string cello, but many alternatives exist. The Sixth Suite, for example, is commonly known to have been intended for a five-string instrument to facilitate the work's higher register and complicated string crossings. There are also indications that Bach had intended his suites to be played on the violoncello piccolo. As there is no manuscript in Bach's own hand, historians and performers must argue and come to their own conclusions. One such performer, Dmitry Badiarov, has devised an interesting solution. For a recording of the suites on the Ramée label, Badiarov makes a convincing argument for the use of the violoncello da spalla (literally, "shoulder cello), a substantially smaller, unfretted, five-string instrument that is suspended low from the shoulders. Taking it one step further, Badiarov is also a successful luthier and crafted his own violoncello da spalla. His playing is solidly rooted in Baroque performance practice and is marked by clean intonation, nimble string crossings, and a fluid bow arm that uses dynamics as highly effective ornaments. As for his instrument, the album's recorded sound quality is overly reverberant and echoic, making a clear assessment of the sound quality unfortunately rather difficult.

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