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Elinor Frey is on a one-woman mission to think outside Bach's solo cello suites. The Montreal-based cellist has dusted off and recorded a collection of Italian baroque solo cello music, much of which predates Bach's "pioneering" music for solo cello. In La Voce del Violoncello, she just might be on to something.

Frey is convinced that these five Italian baroque cello pieces will make you forget the Bach cello suites. In her own words, here's why.

1. "The baroque cello is the soundtrack of my dreams."

LISTEN

Composer: Giuseppe Maria Dall'Abaco
Title: Capriccio primo
Elinor Frey, cello


"You know that piece that you heard in your dreams? The one you just want to live inside? The one to play over and over and let it carve itself into you? It is a ravishing baroque cello caprice by Dall'Abaco. It's peaceful, sad and raw. It searches and yet knows itself completely."

2. The baroque cello is fierce.

LISTEN

Composer: Francesco Paolo Supriani
Title: Toccata decima
Elinor Frey, cello


"Naples always seems to inspire drama. The Neapolitan virtuoso, Francesco Supriani, shows us that the solo baroque cello is so fierce that it could almost burst into flames. "

3. Bach wasn't the first.

LISTEN

Composer: Domenico Gabrielli
Title: Ricercar No. 1
Elinor Frey, cello


"For every aspiring cello player, the Bach suites are probably the oldest cello pieces they know, but what came first? The very first unaccompanied pieces published with the name violoncello (a relatively new version of the bass violin that had silver winding on its lowest gut string) were by the Bolognese star performer and composer, Domenico Gabrielli. The solo cello can go almost anywhere from these first explorations."

4. "The baroque cello speaks with an almost human tongue."

LISTEN

Composer: Domenico Galli
Title: Sonata quinta
Elinor Frey, cello


"Galli is underperformed and not well understood. Still, given time, his music works its way under one's skin. It stretches low into the incredible deep regions of the cello's sound, telling forgotten stories, speaking with an almost human tongue."

5. "It comes directly from Italy, the streets where the cello was born."

LISTEN

Composer: G.B. Vitali
Title: Passa Galli
Elinor Frey, cello


"In the baroque, a 'solo' didn't mean simply one instrument, it meant that a particular instrument was the featured line. A solo could be accompanied or unaccompanied. If another instrument like a spinet, theorbo, lute or violone wants to accompany the composed part with an improvised bass part, why not? This Passa Galli takes you directly to Italy, to the streets where the cello was born. The sound of wood and gut goes straight to the heart."

LISTEN

Listen to CBC Music’s Baroque stream

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Elinor Frey on 5 solo cello pieces that'll make you forget the Bach cello suites

Elinor Frey is on a one-woman mission to think outside Bach's solo cello suites. The Montreal-based c…

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onlytony
#1 posted by
onlytony
on Feb 28, 2014

too bad bach  in the negative is still bach

there is no

without the weighty presence

there is no comparison

which works for all

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