Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Bach By CARR

Wigmore Hall Live documents Colin Carr’s complete Bach cello suites on two consecutive performances in May 2012. Though he is among England’s pre-eminent performers whose reputation is haloed by a stellar pedigree, his pronouncements of this music are, more than intellectually chewy, too often gummy. His Bach is well-seasoned, with a career's worth of traversals in the cultural capitals of the world, but his anxiety producing entrapments made a second hearing more than enough.
Though he is esteemed for his probity, I take umbrage at his preachy scholasticisms, despite their formal clarity.  His attitude of a well-worn lecturer makes me question where the line is drawn between an informed interpretation and a displeasing one. This introduces many dichotomies: the rhythmic distortions used to clarify harmonic contrapuntal structures; conspicuous mannerisms favored by cellists, among them blaring open strings and tones denuded by non-vibrato (or strangled by it) and the self involved music making at the expense of a small dedicated public.