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Paul Tortelier Plays Bach: Complete Cello Suites
Paul Tortelier Plays Bach Complete Cello Suites
Actor: Paul Tortelier
Genres: Music Video & Concerts, Musicals & Performing Arts
NR     2008

Genre: Performing Arts - Concerts Rating: NR Release Date: 14-OCT-2008 Media Type: DVD


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Movie Details

Actor: Paul Tortelier
Genres: Music Video & Concerts, Musicals & Performing Arts
Sub-Genres: Music Video & Concerts, Classical
Studio: Video Artists Int'l
Format: DVD - Color
DVD Release Date: 10/14/2008
Theatrical Release Date: 11/03/2008
Release Year: 2008
Screens: Color
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaDVD Credits: 1
Total Copies: 0
Members Wishing: 0
Edition: Classical
MPAA Rating: NR (Not Rated)
Languages: English

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Movie Reviews

Bach Cello Suites
Thomas B. Kirsch | Palo Alto, CA., USA | 12/21/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)

"this is a new DVD of Paul Tortelier playing the unaccompanied cello suites of Bachat the Prades Festival in the South of France. This is the festival that was started by Pablo Casals in 1950.Paul Tortelier was invited to be the first cellist for the Pablo Casals Orchestra. Tortelierwas one of the giants of the cello in the 20th century, and he talked mainly in France, but he played all over the world. The setting for these cello suites is a beautiful cloister in southern France close to the Spanish border. The sound quality in this cloister is absolutely fabulous.Tortelier plays with passion, sensitivity, and reflects the inner character of these suites marvelously. In addition, the camera work shows the inner emotion of Tortelier as he plays each suite. I know there are many recordings of these suites, but this is a fantastic rendition.Tortelier was to die just a few months afterthis performance. Highest possible recommendation."
Undiminished to the Very End
Joseph L. Ponessa | Glendive MT USA | 02/05/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Now I have found the cello suite that I was seeking for a very long time. Recordings of cello music are beset by two problems: non-resonant studio acoustic, and over-close multiple miking. In the real world, the long sound waves released by the cello's long strings need a resonant space, and the Abbey Church of St Michel de Cuxa in Prades is ideal for the purpose. That is why Pablo Casals chose it for his festival, and why he did a film of Bach's First Suite here in 1954 (released once upon a time on laserdisc in Japan only), and that is why Paul Tortelier returned at the end of his life, perhaps even shortening his life, to do it there. Even Casals did not make live recordings of this cycle, however, as neither have Rostropovich or Maisky or Yo Yo Ma or Starker. Tortelier amazingly plays the pieces from memory before a living, breathing and occasionally coughing audience. The audience seems to vitalize him, and he sails over the occasional mishap undauntedly. An individual note may slide out of or into alignment, but overall the intonation is excellent, and the ease of bowing stands in contrast to the plodding evident in so many other recordings.
The disc has so much resonance that I was surprised to read on the jacket that it is mono, recorded with the use of a single microphone a fair distance from the solo instrument. I can now put my finger on what has bothered me about the other recordings of these pieces that I have heard--too many microphones, positioned too closely to the cello's soundboard, in dry acoustic spaces, the effect of which is artificially to darken the tone of the instrument. There were some wonderful monophonic recordings back in the days before stereo, and here we see that such things are still possible in our time. The sound engineer should get an award."
Well worth watching a 76 year old master
MJK | Arlington MA | 01/07/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)

"In 1990 when these performances were filmed, Paul Tortelier was 76 years old and ill with heart disease, which took his life only a few months afterwards. As his son Yan Pascal says in the notes, these performances are not perfect. There are indeed lapses of wrong, or out of tune, notes. But they are more than made up for by the spirited, emotional playing and the beautiful sound. There are frequent close-ups of Tortelier's face, maybe a few too many, but they do show the intensity of the performances. There are also many close-ups of his beautiful (and huge) left hand, which is a joy to watch in action. Not many cellists would, or should, perform all six Bach suites in public at age 76. But we should give thanks that Paul Tortelier chose to do so, and that the performances were recorded for posterity."
The performance of a lifetime
Warren Strickland | Dallas, Texas USA | 01/25/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)

"A moving valedictory performance. Imagine turning down heart surgery to play a final performance with such emotion and energy.
Highly recommended."