Bach Continues to Reign Supreme Among Composers for Cello
Hungarian cellist Miklos Perenyi surveys 300 years of cello literature
For his solo debut on ECM, Miklos Perenyi plays with granite beauty and masterful command an unusual cellistic trinity of Britten, Bach and Ligeti: specifically Benjamin Britten’s Third Suite, Op. 87 (1971); Johann Sebastian Bach’s Suite VI D-Dur, BWV 1012; and Gyorgy Ligeti’s Sonata (1948/53).
Despite the passionate intensity with which Britten and Ligeti hurl the cello’s resources into new spheres, the music ultimately shows how towering Bach’s genius remains for his breathtaking sonic vistas tracing deep emotional lines.
Of course, the back stories for the Britten, which was written to celebrate the composer’s friendship with Mstislav Rostropovich, and the Ligeti, the first movement of which was written as a love song, are more interesting. In fact, this is at least the 13th recording of the eight-minute-long Ligeti, which was released for publication only in 1979—Perenyi now joins Matt Haimovitz and Pieter Wispelwey as having recorded it twice. The sound is a sexy combination of clinical and atmospheric, recorded in the Auditorio Radiotelevisione svizzera, in Lugano, in southern Switzerland.
Paul Griffiths’ liner notes take on the daunting question of whether “Miklos Perenyi is playing the cello to present the music or playing music to present the cello.”