Virtuoso guitarist Slava Grigoryan’s recording of the Bach Cello Suites Volume II is out today on ABC Classics on CD and digital album.
Volume I, released in November 2016 won the 2017 ARIA Award for Best Classical Album and the 2017 AIR Award for Best Independent Classical Album. Grigoryan has entered recording history through this album’s phenomenal success, receiving global critical acclaim and multiple awards and smashing the record for the longest spell at the top of the Classical Chart.
Grigoryan again chooses the richly resonant baritone guitar for Volume II, whose lower pitch allows the suites to be performed in their original keys. The sixth suite was, however, originally written for an instrument a fifth higher than the cello – the same degree higher as a classical guitar from the baritone. As such, Grigoryan performs the sixth Suite on a standard classical guitar.
The musical challenges of these three Suites are considerable. In the fourth and fifth suites, Bach’s musical writing is often dense and detailed, requiring astonishing dexterity, particularly when played on the guitar; there are also moments of deep emotion, most notably the incredible Sarabande of Suite No.5. In the sixth, the music emerges into sheer joy, with cadenza-like moments which revel in exuberant virtuosity.
To record Volume II, Grigoryan returned to the UKARIA Cultural Centre in the Adelaide Hills. Reflecting on his experience of living with and recording this defining music, Grigoryan said:
“I’m constantly staggered by the universe of ideas in each movement of every suite. The simplicity, the elegance, the structure and the spirit are simply breathtaking. It’s been such an honour to play this music. I know that over time, there will be many changes, as I continue to play them in live performances. But I also know that….there will never be a perfect version, just a long-term relationship with notes on a page that trigger feelings and emotions on a deeply profound level for the musician attempting to communicate through them.”
Johann Sebastian Bach Cello Suites · Volume II/ 1–6. Cello Suite No. 4 in E-flat major/ 7–12. Cello Suite No. 5 in C minor/ 13–18. Cello Suite No. 6 in D major
Album available 3 November 2017 | 1CD digi | Digital Album | ABC 481 6472