Best Vinyl Bach - Solo Cello Suites recording?

Hi All,

Been looking for this out on the bay, but there are so many, i'm not sure which is best. I've already read that Starkers interpretation is the "best" -- that is, most accurate, lively, etc. I'm not after this though -- I want the "best" recording of it. Starkers version is $100+ for a 3lp set, Casals 25-50, YoYoMa $70ish. Do you have any experience with these recordings? What are your thoughts?

I cannot tell you how the Mercury Living Preference reissue of the Starker compares with the Speakers Corner, but I can tell you that it is very, very good. Should be relatively inexpensive as a used set.
If you want a heartfelt power performance, Rostropovich on EMI is unbeatable .
If. like me, you want an elegant performance, Fournier's is the most profound . DG 449711-2. remastered to better sound than is normal for DG.

I never heard a bad recording of these masterpieces .
Casals is the least accurate, but perhaps the most romantic and passionate. It certainly is not in fashion these days. I agree on the merits of the Rostropovich and wish I had a set of the Fournier (I love his version of the Lalo Cello Concerto in D).

Most of the other versions I have are on CD, not so many on LP around here when I started looking, and I don't like to use ePay.

Good luck and have fun!
If you like this music, check out the MA Recordings version on CD. Not vinyl, but as good as I've ever heard a CD sound. It's good enough that you could live with it if you had to.
The Starker Suites on Mercury Living Presence is the gold standard. It has stood as such for 50 years. It is still available on CD, mp3 download, HD download, and LP, the aforementioned 3-LP set by Speakers Corner. It was also on SACD until it went out of print a few years ago.

Of the others mentioned (and not mentioned) here, only the Starker, Fournier, and Casals were recorded in analog.

The Speakers Corner Starker is stunning, and puts the man and his cello right in your room. Easily worth the $100. The analog aspect gives full due to the cello itself, and its liquid, singing delivery. Dynamics on the LPs are as good as it gets.

I have an original mid-'60s mono of the Starker suites, a current Speakers Corner LP reissue, the 2-CD Mercury set, plus the Suites on CD by Lynn Harrell and Rostropovich. I also heard the earlier of Yo Yo Ma's two renditions of the suites on CD.

Growing up I also heard the Casals LPs.

I liken Starker's suites to Artur Rubinstein's piano style--virtuoistic, dynamic, disciplined tempi, lots of music, little to no schmaltz. Of latter day artists I've heard, Harrell comes closest and Rostropovich's is probably the most personally emotional and therefore idiosyncratic.

If you search for the cello suites on LP, you can start with Starker or somewhere else, but sooner or later you'll probably end up with Starker. The Speakers Corner set checks all the right boxes--recording quality, mastering, pressing, dynamics, and the disciplined performance of an absolute master at the peak of his power.

I don't think it's ever been offered on LP, but I like Harrell's Suites as well. They're pretty disciplined, but Harrell reminds you that these suites were originally a dance form and he injects some welcome liveliness into the appropriate movements. Plus Harrell always pulled the most magnificent tone out of his Montagnana and Strad cellos.