Philip Higham

Bach: Suites For Solo Cello

(Delphian)

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If you adore Bach’s suites for solo cello, what’s your fancy? There are myriad recordings by cellists of every hue. My “forever” recordings include Paul Tortelier’s (an early love) for its aristocratic refinement and intensity, and the soulfulness of Steven Isserlis’s vision of the musical miracles; and I always have time for an occasional shot of renegade Angela East’s maverick interpretations. Well, they can all budge along the shelf to make room for Philip Higham’s enthralling new version of the six Suites – his first on disc. This is a masterly accomplishment. Don’t give me that stuff about a “young man’s Bach”. No it’s not: Higham just happens to be young. It’s extremely mature Bach, and compelling by any definition. Higham’s Bach is broad and unhurried. The character he finds throughout this music, with the almost racy qualities he unearths in those Bourrees, is consistently revealing. The unpretentious depths and organic, naturalistic flow to his playing are spellbinding: the highest possible recommendation.

Michael Tumelty