Bach – Suites for Cello solo (2011 Recording)

Dancing through infinity

‘When I am on stage I am principally concerned with what I feel, with trying to express what I believe lies inside Bach’s music. What was Bach’s intention in composing his suites for cello?

For me they are a landscape in which everything exists to be discovered afresh. Many musical narratives are possible and each landscape has its own perfumes and colours; each movement represents a particular state of mind. To traverse Bach’s music is to traverse infinity. His music knows no boundaries and you shouldn’t apply dogmatic labels to it. My starting point is always the rhythm and motion of the dance.’

‘Ultimately I would like to play Bach with the feeling for rhythm and agility employed by Damian Woetzel, a fantastic ballet dancer and soloist with New York City Ballet until recently, when he dances to the cello suites. Damian and I performed the cello suites together during 2007-2008, him dancing to my playing. “Play Bach as you feel it” he would say; “I’m following you!” So he too became an immense source of inspiration for me. I also want to convey my conviction that Bach’s cello suites are the equivalent of a world filled with new discoveries — a world of purity and beauty that resonates with your inner self. Bach speaks directly to what is best in you. His world is spiritual and infinite, and so you never tire of it.’

Quirine in liner notes by Wenneke Savenije, translation by PeterLockwood

‘[…] characterised by poise, imagination and a pleasing sense of fantasy. Her Preludes are striking for their rhetorical diversity, her Sarabandes are intensely expressive, her Allemandes are graceful and reflective and her Gigues are spirited and firmly projected. The Courantes and Galanteries offer numerous other delights.’

— The Strad

‘Her Preludes are more questing than assertive, but she always manages to find their emotional climax. She is also discursive in the fiendishly difficult and often wayward Allemandes, with their complex conversational lines, but for me her most memorable readings are of the Sarabands, which really come alive in her hands. They range from the inconsolable (D minor Suite) to the nobly serene (C major Suite) and are all self-communing, with wonderfully rich tone and bow control on their many spread chords.

Unusually, she manages to find more humour than often heard in these Suites, with jaunty “attitude” in the more rhythmic dance. Little chuckle-like turns and throw-away cadences are also very touching. I was also impressed with her ability to parse the seemingly unending “stream of conciousness” melodies so typical of Bach, and to make the implied separate voices quite conversational, by alternating the dynamics of question-answer sections.’

— HR Audio *****

’Technische problemen bestaan voor haar niet, ze speelt met het grootste gemak, evenwichtig, plezierig, soms zelfs terloops.’

— NRC ****

‘Quirine Viersen hoeft er niet aan te twijfelen dat haar idee van “Bach als balsem voor de ziel” door de concerten en cd-opname bij vele luisteraars zal aankomen.‘

— De Volkskrant ****