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Discussion: Bach: Cello Suites - Pierre Fournier

Posts: 10

Post by ramesh February 24, 2014 (1 of 10)
This is on the 'TOKYO FM' label, released late last year.

I can't do a review of this, since keying 'Fournier' into the search box doesn't bring up the title.
However, I'd heartily recommend it to anyone interested in this repertoire.
This is a single layer SACD of two complete recitals : 2nd & 4th March 1972, Toranomon Hall, Tokyo.
Though these are apparently concert recordings, audience noise is minimal and there are no fluffs in the performances. The recording quality is not quite as good as Starker's early 1960's studio recordings on Mercury, released some time ago on SACD. As interpretations, I prefer Fournier's emotive classicism to the overt monumentality of Rostropovich's EMI digital recordings.

I can't read the extensive Japanese booklet, but the technical details within are summarised in this excerpt from an article in the Winter 2001 'Classic Record Collector' on the original CD release, by one Sachio Moroishi :
'At the time Fournier was 65 but he performed all six suites with the ease and power of a much younger man. The recitals were recorded and broadcast by Mr Norio Tojo, who was a leading radio programme director at that time. He remembers that he used a Neumann SM69 microphone and an Ampex AG440 tape recorder. Beautiful sound was captured : the cello tone is smooth and natural, with both clarity and richness, and there is good hall ambience around itů The audiences are quite silent and it is almost unbelievable that these recitals were recorded live, especially as the cellist's bow hardly falters throughout. As was Fournier's custom in live Bach recitals, some of the repeats are omitted.'

Post by Lute February 24, 2014 (2 of 10)
ramesh said:
Thanks for your review! I saw this one at a CD shop a while back and have been debating whether to get it or not. Look forward to giving it a whirl.

Post by SNOVA February 25, 2014 (3 of 10)
Thanks for this review.
Like FOURNIER's interpretation on DG, interested in this one.

Post by canonical February 25, 2014 (4 of 10)
Well, your review sounds enticing. On the other hand, I have tried two other Tokyo FM releases from the same year (1972), both also live recordings, of equally famous artists:


Schwarzkopf - Recital in Japan 1972
Michelangeli - Live in Tokyo 1973

... and they were both spectacular duds, in every respect (performance, recording, sonics ... you name it). So I am understandably reluctant to plonk further funds in this radio stations direction, especially when I have Fournier's live 1962 recording of the Bach suites (recorded in Basle cathedral) which is actually quite good.

Post by Kveld-Úlfr February 26, 2014 (5 of 10)
ramesh said:

This is on the 'TOKYO FM' label, released late last year.

I can't do a review of this, since keying 'Fournier' into the search box doesn't bring up the title.

Can someone add this ?

Post by Lute February 28, 2014 (6 of 10)
I can concur with what Ramesh said. The sound is good and the performance is... well... Fournier (what more does one need to say).

Some of Tokyo FM's SACDs do have SQ issues. (Karajan's Beethoven 9th even had equipment trouble on the day of the recording. I still like it though...as I am fond of Karajan's Beethoven.) But, this one of Fournier is a winner!! The only thing that might bother some people is that it's a live recording. There are enough coughs between movements. Fortunately, the audience is mostly silent during his performance. Anyone interested need not hesitate.

Post by BrunoS April 7, 2014 (7 of 10)
Thanks to those who recommended this SACD. I bought it on the recommendations and have been very pleased. The interpretation is captivating.

The sound quality seems to be good, but I can't really comment on it now as my subwoofer is dead and my speakers cut off at 70Hz, which is something of an issue to evaluate cello recordings...

Post by ramesh April 7, 2014 (8 of 10)
BrunoS said:

Thanks to those who recommended this SACD. I bought it on the recommendations and have been very pleased. The interpretation is captivating.

Glad you enjoyed it, Bruno. For a rich bass response, perhaps the Starker set on Mercury is more striking : an older studio recording, but mic'd closer, I presume.

I wonder if anyone who reads this thread has Isabelle Faust's set of the solo violin works? The CD releases gained rave reviews in Fanfare and Grannyphone mags. The SACD Japanese release is exorbitantly priced, though not more so than what EMI are asking for their Furtwängler single layer SACD set of Beethoven symphonies 1,3, 5, 7 & 9!

Post by Lute April 8, 2014 (9 of 10)
ramesh said:

I wonder if anyone who reads this thread has Isabelle Faust's set of the solo violin works? The CD releases gained rave reviews in Fanfare and Grannyphone mags. The SACD Japanese release is exorbitantly priced, though not more so than what EMI are asking for their Furtwängler single layer SACD set of Beethoven symphonies 1,3, 5, 7 & 9!

Are you referring to Bach: Sonatas and Partitas for Solo Violin - Faust??

No, I haven't gotten it yet. I have seen it around, but been waiting for a sale. One Japanese reviewer gave it high marks on amazon. It's a 24/96 recording, so one would think a download version would be available (...cheaper perhaps?) And it's not Mch, which is a bummer considering the price. I'll let you know what I think if I get a copy.

Post by SNOVA June 22, 2015 (10 of 10)
The earlier issue of this performance by TDK (2 CDs) includes Fournier's comments on each suite and his brief greeting to the Japanese audience.

Fournier's interpretation was gentle and peaceful.

Closed