The cellist Mischa Maisky is one of the best of his profession.
His new recording of the six cello suites written by Johann Sebastian Bach are
one of the early highlights of the "Bach year" which will reach its
climax with the 250th anniversary of his death on July 28, 2000. Already in
1999, Mischa Maisky started a world concert tour playing the recorded
cello-suites by Bach. The Catalan cellist Pablo Casals is responsible for the popularity of the six solo suites,
In 1890, he found
a copy of the so-called Grützmacher-edition of the suites in a music antiques shop in Barcelona. Bach's preludes
leave a great creative liberty to the performer which Casals decided to use
in the sense of his romanticism.
In 1959, Valery Maisky, a
Bach scholar and performer to whose memory this new recording is dedicated, gave
a copy of the 1957 Musgyz edition by Alexander Stogorsky to his younger brother
Mischa. Later, Mstislaw
Rostropowitsch and Gregor Piatigorsky (Stogorsky's brother) introduced Mischa into the secrets of Bach's cello suites. Finally, Maisky discovered the
legendary Casals recordings from the 1930s. First, he thought they were
"crazy" but with each hearing he started to appreciate them more and
today he admits that "Casals was a major influence" on him.
the re-recording of the cello suites, Mischa Maisky refers to a funny
occurrence. Passing a hifi shop in Zurich a few years ago, he noticed some
interesting loudspeakers. To try them out, the salesman put on a demonstration
CD. "There was some orchestral music, a singer, a violinist and then the
Bourrée from the C major Cello Suite. I thought it was someone making fun of me
- it sounded like a parody. When I saw it was my  recording, I was
shocked. I hat not heard it for a number of years." So Maisky was pleased
when the Deutsche Grammophon suggested a new version for the "Bach
year", although he stresses that for him, "every year is Bach
Year". The result of Maisky's 1999 recordings in an abbey in the Flemish
part of Belgium (called Flanders) is recommended to all lovers of classical music (review based
on the booklet text by Tully Potter). Get the CD from Amazon.com.