Tanya Anisimova Plays Bach Cello Suites
In the program notes for the second CD of J.S. Bach's Six Suites for Solo Cello, we learn that Ms. Anisimova was so moved by the music that she added two improvisations while recording Suite No. 2 in D minor. They have their own track numbers. The first is a slow stately opening which leads, without pause into the familiar Prelude and Cadenza. The courtly dance tunes of Bach's original set a mood of serious music-making and have a restrained joy of their own. After the fourth movement Sarabande, Ms. Anisimova's improvisation takes on a darker hue. At times the cello sound divides into two voices, one with a troubled energy, a twenty-first century accent.
She writes "I consider the text of Anna Magdalena's manuscript to be the closest to Bach's original." The CD contains Suites No. 2, 4 and 6 and follows pitch and rhythm indications as they appear in that text. The playing is precise. The sound is crisp and clean, the pacing at times meditative. The recorded sound is natural and you hear the performer's breath as she spins out silver tones that gently move you through Bach's wonderful exploration of the voice of a cello.
Suite No. 4 is performed in G Major, instead of the original E-flat. "The open strings of G Major create a clear resonance, while offering numerous possibilities for pedal point harmonies" write Ms. Anisimova.
In a comparative listening to the same pieces by Yo-Yo Ma and Janos Starker, there are differences. Ms. Anisimova explains that her current exploration of the original manuscript took her away from the usual approach to these pieces. "This approach has led me to some minor and major deviations from the accepted version ... It took me a while to feel comfortable playing these new sounds, but once I got used to them I've found I could not enjoy playing the old way any more because it sounds unconvincing, untrue to the spirit of the music."
She performs Suite No. 6 in C Major rather than the original D Major because, as she writes, "I believe that it sounds deeper, less 'hyper', more beautiful." I hear her point! Certainly if you love these pieces, this new CD offers a valid exploration that I highly recommend. Information on ordering Ms. Anisimova's CD is available at http://www.tanyaanisimova.com/home.html
John Campbell, March, 2005
"What a tour de force! I had tears in my eyes"
Heather Kurzbauer, the Strad Magazine, November, 2004
"I have many times listened to the Tanya Anisimova's recording of the Volume 2 of the Cello Suites by J. S. Bach. Truthfully speaking-- I am overwhelmed.
Only now did it occur to me that this recording may not be compared with other recordings. One cannot use traditional methods of evaluation here. Perhaps in her creative process she has gone so far ahead that I am simply not able to adequately evaluate her, as she "walks far and away from me ".
For a long time now I have not been able to experience such a pleasure, such quiet joy while listening to the sound of a cello. And, I want to point out, not from the instrument as such, but from the playing, from the play of a musical thought. I immediately remembered recordings of the old masters: the recording technique was primitive then, diapason was very narrow. Yet, when you would listen to those recordings, you'd forget everything else. As I was listening now, I also forgot everything else. There is no artificiality, no overdoing here. It is like you have an old friend and you both are engaged in a tranquil conversation, then he leaves the room, later he comes back in and you continue your talk.
All the Bach recordings that I had listened to before sound pretty much the same, but in this case-it is her own! There is a feeling of confining honesty, somewhat childish simplicity and vulnerability, all of which make you hold your breath.
As to the inserts-improvisations: in my opinion, they are artistically self-sufficient.
There is pain in these improvisations that resonates with mightiness, boldness, with "open nerves", and barely contained impatience, and I feel as though this energy "overpowers" Bach's music. The sense of time itself, the degree of its pressure is conflicting with the pulse of Bach's phrase. Her temperament, her vision has somewhat a different specter of radiance than Bach's material, which follows immediately. I may understand and feel the "genetic", spiritual unity, but it is already there, above...
While listening, I was sinking deep into musical "taxions", and at times I felt myself being pulled out from the dimension of time. I was experiencing a sense of air, not an oxygen mask, but rather a life-creating element, as though this "vitamin" was coming directly from her!
Igor Gavrysh, Professor of Cello, Moscow Conservatory,
People's Artist of Russia. November, 2004.