“As Rysanov plays it, it’s like listening to and falling in love with the piece for the first time.” Gramophone
It was with three of Bach’s cello suites, transcribed for the viola, that Maxim Rysanov made his début on BIS in 2010 – a disc which was greeted with critical acclaim: in The Strad it earned the magazine’s prestigious recommendation, and to the reviewer on the German web site Klassik.com it ‘clearly demonstrated that Rysanov knows how to decipher Bach’s musical language with the assurance of a master’. His colleague in Sunday Times agreed, but had one reservation: ‘Rysanov’s recording of Bach’s suites is near perfection; the only flaw being that he did not perform all six.’ With the present disc that flaw is now being rectified, and the set is complete. During the time that passed between the two discs, and also between the two sessions in which Suites Nos 2, 3 and 6 were recorded, Rysanov’s conception of how to perform and record Bach has not remained static – as he commented in connection with the first disc: ‘it shows my approach to Bach playing at this point in time, with its mix of different backgrounds, schools and experiences from working with other musicians’. Four years later, the same can be said about its sequel – a testament to the infinite possibilities that these works hold in terms of interpretation and performance. For the sixth suite, which is usually transposed a fifth down, to G major when performed by violists, Rysanov has opted to remain faithful to the original key: ‘the purity of D major reminds me of being on top of a mountain, that clear air and a silence so powerful that it makes the ears start to buzz…’ The suite was originally written for a five-stringed instrument, but is heard here on Rysanov’s own four-stringed viola built by Giuseppe Guadagnini in 1780.