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Reviews: Bach: Cello Suites - Gavriel Lipkind

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Reviews: 7

Review by TT November 23, 2006 (8 of 10 found this review helpful)
Performance:   Sonics:    
a great set! 3 sacds with 2 suites on each, all information u need about the cello suites, and a wonderful cover. the playing is great, lipkind is not for nothung the wonderkind of the cello. u can hear the cello suites as u never heard them before, with absolute passion and deep emotionality. the performance is the best i have ever heard.
the sacd sound in sacd MC is good, but not as great as the sacd sound of the suzuki cello suites sacd set. the stereo sound is first class. so i reccomend you to buy this sacds very DEEPLY!

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Review by mrtruesound May 3, 2007 (2 of 6 found this review helpful)
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This is one of my favorite SACDs, very good sound, expressive, an emotional playing like Jaqueline but in another individual style, the sound in stereo is more the sound i am used to, but the multichannel mix is also very good. Very good cover-really "edel" more of that edelclassics! More SACDs!!!

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Review by edgarportraits May 4, 2007 (5 of 7 found this review helpful)
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Highly recommended. I am a fan of Gavriel Lipkinds cello's music ever since I have seen him in the Concertgebouw, Amsterdam in the late 1990's. I had the privilige to make pencil sketches of his inspiring performances. To his former cd 'Cello Miniatures' I have listened over and over again during art lessons. Now I am happy with his new Bach collection. This highly talented young cellist offers a new approach to the Cello Suites. The packaging of this triple cd set is very classy. And the SACD sound is like he is playing in my room. I wish he was...! Edgar Jansen, Holland.

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Review by coco May 19, 2007 (9 of 9 found this review helpful)
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Highly recommend!
This is not just another recording of the Bach is a whole universe, a very personal one that Gavriel Lipkind has created, yet it shows sincerity and devotion to the composer transcending the level of interpretation, reaching towards the essence of Bach in a combination and harmonious blend of technical ease, contemporary influences and a sensitivity and knowledge for baroque performance practices. As a cellist coming from both the modern and the baroque worlds myself, a new trend has been born! A beautiful recording on many levels.

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Review by giliath May 21, 2007 (5 of 6 found this review helpful)
Performance:   Sonics:    
The moment of taking the box from its cover marks the beginning of an embarkation upon an adventurous journey into Gavriel Lipkind's world of Bach's Suites for Cello Solo. Opening the exquisite black leather(-like) box, with gold imprinted and braille text enriched, reveals 3 sections containing a map of the journey, the sacds, and the informational booklet describing his unorthodox interpretation in detail.

Lipkind's unsurprising, at least after hearing his Miniatures cd, technical prowess enables him to perfectly translate his interpretational ideas into music. His very personal style is an interesting mix of contemporary and authentical baroque performance practices, resulting in a distinctly pleasurable yet intriguing listening experience.

The multichannel soundstage is very natural, with emphasis on the frontstage and subtle use of the surrounds.

The recordings, as well as the design, will satisfy everyone from the casual listener to the most critical professional. A must have!

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Review by Beagle November 17, 2010 (8 of 12 found this review helpful)
Performance:   Sonics:  
Where to begin with this remarkable box set? Let's start with the weird...

Woo-hoo! (accompanied by rolling of eye-balls). I cannot readily disprove the assertion that J.S. Bach encoded The Kabbalah in these works, as is proposed in the "Text-book" and "Map of the Journey" which come with these discs -- but I'll be damned if anyone can hear them. I state this not merely as a no-nonsense professional, but also as someone who did graduate work on occult references in W.B. Yeats and James Joyce.

I do wish that the packet designer had given less thought to touchy-feeliness and more to protecting the discs: They are in three cheap, open paper sleeves, and are at once difficult to extract and in danger of falling out -- what is de luxe about that? This evening I was challenged to get the darn pseudo-suede wallet out of its cardboard sleeve; all that fuzziness has been busy absorbing moisture since I opened it yesterday. I am glad I got this set at a deep discount, I would feel like an idiot if I'd paid the original price.

Like the packaging, Lipkind's playing is velvety in the manner of Yo-yo Ma (I would be challenged to distinguish the two in a blind test). My cellist wife who knows the Six Suites by heart, remarks that Lipkind adds ornaments, and good ones -- but she dislikes the 'personal stamp' he puts on the music by taking liberties with meter and maybe some notes. I quite agree; the longer I listened, the more his neo-romantic mannerisms irked me. I want to hear the genius of J.S. Bach, not the soulfulness of G. Lipkind.

Given a bit of extra volume, the sound is satisfying but too warm to be mistaken for a cello* at the other end of the room (a sound I am familiar with).

At the right price, these are decent discs, but the SACD set by Hidemo Suzuki remains my favourite.
* The cello here is an A.M. Garani, Bologne 1702; after comparison with Starker and Suzuki I decided its pitch is modern.

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Review by joheirba June 27, 2013 (6 of 6 found this review helpful)
Performance:   Sonics:    
Most of the statements within the reviews above seem correct to me. So why another review ? Because I think it makes sense to put things together.

As already indicated before, I agree that the sound is rather ethereal, or spacial - whichever you prefer - especially in the basses, at least on my installation. From the sound, I can hardly imagine the cello as being an instrument that is held between a person's legs. However, this is something quite custom for a lot of discs, even ones that are often regarded as being very good. Professionals call it reverberation, I think, and a lot of people seem to prefer it over a more stylistic recorded sound.

I've also shortly checked the multichannel layer. Things are difficult to compare with the hassle of switching between layers, and I only have small boxes for the center and surround speakers (and no sub). Even for being recorded in a church, the sound comes quite big out of the surround boxes. The cello however becomes more distinct, certainly due to the center speaker. All in all, the sound-stage certainly gets more precise, but the overall impression remains the same.

The packaging is fantastic, a real collectors item, but not very practical. Particularly impractical are the paper sleeves without window the discs are in: quite difficult to find the third disc after having played the first and second one. The paper is quite thin but seems to be of good quality. I guess this might be done to avoid scratches when handling the disc. I hope so.

Regarding the booklet, the explications are quite esoteric indeed. I've been told Bach liked to put numerical puzzles into his music, but I never heard them. I can understand however that for a musician, searching those combinations may be a way to get a more thorough understanding of the notes he is playing. Whether the religious meanings explained within the booklet are really meant as such by Bach, or whether they are the fruit of Lipkind's personal imagination, may be something we will never know. What's for sure however is that the booklet explains the way Lipkind looks at and understands this music in his own personal way. If this enables him to transcend the notes into something more than just pretty music, then that's fine for me. And at least, there's a booklet that's worth reading.

For me, Bach can be played in very many different ways, especially his solo and instrumental music. Just listen at the many different interpretations of the well-tempered clavier, the sonatas and partitas for solo violin, the Goldberg variations... If you're acquainted with one specific version, switching to another version may be difficult at first, but usually after 4 or 5 "readings" - in my experience - a new world opens up. For the cello suites, I prefer the sometimes very different interpretations of Wispelwey, Starker, Rostropovich etc...

The only way Bach in my opinion cannot be played, is to reduce his music to one single approach, whatever that approach may be. Such a one-single-approach may sound interesting or nice at first, but after some suites it usually gets frustrating because of all the things that are in the music that don't get out.

I wouldn't call Lipkind's interpretation neo-romantic however. Lipkind may have understood that one single approach gets reductive when applied 36 times, so he combines and changes a lot. The number of discs already indicates that Lipkind gives his listener plenty of time to listen and to enjoy the music, although there are passages where things go fast, very fast. But there is never ever any glimpse of technological demonstration within Lipkind's playing. The changes in tempi are sometimes surprising, but never gratuit: they clearly aim to bring out the different melodic lines. There is also a lot of accentuation in his playing, for the same result. I did not feel it to be exaggerated, but if you are already very familiar with the music, the accentuation may seem overdone in the sense that one doesn't need it anymore to recognize the polyphonic lines. Globally, I think the way Lipkind plays, will make it easier for someone new to the music, to more easily understand and enjoy the different melodies. For me personally, listening to these discs makes me intrinsically quiet and silent. I've been hearing this potential within the music before, and people usually talk about this feeling in relation with Bach's passions, but it's been the first time for me to get it out so strong with the cello suites.

This all makes me quite confident that this very personal interpretation transcends the notion of good music, and in the end, will at least stand next to the other great interpretations. All the rest, the booklet and the packaging, is even more added value !

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