Globe & Mail: J. S. Bach: Six suites for solo cello

By Elissa Poole •Winona Zelenka, cello •Marquis Classics

Canadian cellist Winona Zelenka gives Bach’s solo cello suites a stylish ease that we don’t often hear on modern cello. Sarabandes sound like graceful dances, not constipated sacred cows, and Zelenka’s modest vibrato and tasteful use of open strings give her access to affects that sometimes get left behind – reflection, say, or melancholy – for more intense ones, especially in slow movements. Fast movements are exciting, but they’re not cliff-hangers. They’re dances, after all. And passion isn’t zealotry, applied like a smear of varnish, but something more fleeting or revelatory. Fans of Yo Yo Ma might not like these recordings, but fans of J. S. Bach will.

Published Tuesday, June 29, 2010