Skip to content

· Cello, bow, Bach, Bailey, brief.

By PEGGY SHUMAKER [Brevity] – We’ve come to hear Zuill Bailey play Bach’s suites for solo cello.  All of them.  On one evening.  Played by one cellist.  This is not done.  Athletic, audacious, ambitious.  Gorgeous.

We’ve come to hear him play a cello crafted when Bach was eight years old, a cello Bach probably heard, a cello whose sound Bach might have had in mind.  This cello carries an ornament, a rose still visible if you look sideways under the fingerboard.  Three hundred years ago, the fingerboard didn’t come down so far onto the body.  Players didn’t have to reach around for high notes.  Nobody expected high notes from them.

The cellist’s not playing the repeats tonight, and who could blame him?  He dances us through each suite’s sturdy allemande, each suite’s svelte and arrogant courante, each suite’s sultry forbidden sarabande.  Minuet, bourée, gavotte, gigue.

Suite No. 2 in D Minor—In chiseled tones, the private languages of glaciers groan, internal monologues as rivers inside the ice carve intricate secret passages.  Earth in process, building, shaping.  Geological time.

Suite No. 3 in C Major—anything is possible!  The same shaped wood terrifies and soothes—the player’s passion brash and reckless one moment, exquisitely quiet and courageous the next.  The low notes.  The low notes—the center of the earth, molten.

These strings, these strands of horsehair, this one man’s hands tuned for a lifetime to cascades of sound.  They lift us.  The sky opens, aurora of music over golden hills.

E-flat Major, Suite No. 4—Bach goes crazy, tries to hurt people.

Continued at Brevity | More Chronicle & Notices.

Post a Comment

Your email is never published nor shared. Required fields are marked *