One of Australia’s most versatile and thoroughly musical cellists Christopher Pidcock has recently released a wonderfully inventive CD of Bach’s Cello Suite No. 4 in E flat BWV1010 and has interspersed with each of the 6 movements a solo cello work by Australian, USA, German and Italian composers that have all been written since the middle of the 20th century.
The performance of the Bach movements dance, enchant, entrance and caress the innermost part of the listener’s being whilst the new works vary from soft re-workings of music from another time to intelligent expressions of musical thought and Pidcock plays them all superbly.
At just over 10 minutes the longest of the new works is Mercurial (2009) by Alex Pozniak. This scholarly work with moments of delicate beauty rightfully takes it place at the end of the CD where no further music can impinge on its lingering sound.
I decided not to read the program notes until I had listened to the whole CD and on listening to the work by Mary Finsterer’s Tract (1993) I thought she was trying to reimagine a seriously disturbed upbeat new Aaron Copland style hoedown movement. As it turned out the starting point was Bach’s dance music.
Zwolf (2014) by Enno Poppe almost sounds as if it wants to be a dance movement in some updated baroque suite. The composer cleverly incorporates ideas of music from the middle of the 20th century.
Ai limiti della notte from 1979 by Salvatore Sciarrino is the most ethereal of the new works on the CD. The music flits from here to there and all the time demands utmost concentration from both the performer and the audience. It is so easy to drift off into a near-sleep state listening to Pidcock perform this dreamlike work. Maybe I was at ‘the limit of the night.’
Christopher Pidcock has a deep understanding of the Bach Suite and he plays it with enthusiasm and clear joy. Obviously he has known it for a long time and it shows. The composers of the recent works on this CD are most fortunate to have such an interpreter champion their music.
I so enjoyed the performances that I bought two extra copies as presents.
Information on where to buy the album is here:
Photo credit: Jolanta Morgan Portrait Studio