Top critical review
selfless and abstract
Reviewed in the United States on November 29, 2018
idiomatic indulgences and mainstream mannerisms are all painstakingly erased. to a certain extent, so much time and effort have been spent obsessively wiping away all traces of subjectivity and personalization, it draws a lot of attention to itself. who is this? why would they do that? in a way, it reminds me
of myself when I’ve had too much coffee and have to ride the subway during rush-hour, don’t blink too much don’t swallow too often don’t clear your throat too loudly don’t chew on your lip don’t refresh facebook too many
times.... there’s so much eradication of minutia, I find that a lot of character that was intentionally written into the pieces gets expunged... The Exterminating Angel... Gavotte, Courante, Saraband, Gigue, etc, they’re simultaneously supposed to be technical exercises and a trip around the world... But this experience is very much in one room, it happens very much within itself — but please let me clarify my disappointment a bit: I am already a very solitary & confined person, and the Bach Cello Suites are very much desert island music for me (I have more than a dozen recordings of them), but for me they are universal music, they take me both infinitely inward and infinitely outward; but these recordings are just very much surface level... There are no attempts at orchestral sonorities or architectural textures, it’s just notes, and even on that level it’s not attempting to be dazzling for the sake of jawdropping virtuosity or breathtaking expressiveness... It’s hard to classify really, but I do know that the many listenings I’ve given this new album seems more like one very long multi-multi-multi movement piece rather than a few separate masterworks; it all comes out of the same cloth, and there really seems to be a lack of adventuring... Gosh, I have lived with the other two Yo-Yo Ma cycles for quite some time, and this set has really thrown me for a loop. But not at all how I expected. I was hoping for something more like Christian Tetzlaff’s third version of Bach’s Sonatas & Partitas, heck, that is a wild ride of intensity & introspection & insight; but, this, here, seems to so very detached... It’s not for me...