Friday, October 17, 2008


Alright, for my consideration more than yours, I have here three different versions of the same piece of music, which is the Prelude from Bach's Cello Suite No. 1 in G Major, BWV 1007.

Now, first of all, apparently Mstislav Rostropovich died in April of last year AND NO ONE BOTHERED TO TELL ME UNTIL LAST WEEK! WTF, guys? Here's his version:

(The youtube video I wanted to use was disabled so I had to find a different one so you have to wait through 23 seconds of introduction I'M SORRY).
While technically perfect, one of the tiny issues I've had with Rostropovich is that sometimes he plays these pieces as if he's brushing his teeth, which is to say, like he's so used to doing it that it requires no thought and he's just sort of going through the motions. "The Prelude, again?" he thinks, although in Russian. "Always the Prelude, everyone wants the Prelude." Also, would you like to slow down there Captain Flash Fingers? I'm kidding, Rostropovich, I love you and I'm sorry you're dead and I didn't know.

Then there is Mischa Maisky, who I have a weird fondness for, perhaps because his name is so enjoyable to say and not nearly as cumbersome as "Mstislav Rostropovich":

Now, I'm going to assume you heard the wild squawk in there at 1:12 and it totally harshed your mellow. However, I am willing to ignore this because Maisky's version has so much more feeling. Look at his expression. That man is totally concerned with doing right by the hourglass figure between his knees!

Ok, ok, I GUESS I'll throw in Yo-Yo Ma since everybody loves him so much:

Whoever made this video decided it would be way more awesome to intersperse far away shots of Ma playing in parking garages (?) with stills of children running around (??) than it would be to, you know, watch him perform the piece. Also, what's with the random inflection, Ma? I'm sure he's being hesitant for effect but there's sort of a flow to this piece and he is so not going with it.

I'm not going to post Pablo Casal's version because you have to wade through, like, seven minutes of black and white French blah blah blah to get to it and, um, it's not big on being worth it.

*Did you think I meant panties? Ha, oh, you silly thing.


Anonymous said...

I disagree. Granted that the old man brushing his teeth is best - no matter how bored he is, but Yo-Yo is clearly my favorite. I love the pauses (maybe he attended the William Shatner school ............of performing............. arts). Don't give me any of that crap about the tortured Russian soul showing on the middle guy's face (is he Russian?) His version seemed pretty ordinary to me!!! PS: I missed the squawk! lorraine

Anonymous said...

I have to say the I liked the Ma version the least because after watching the other 2 guys do it, I would have liked to watch him as well. I found the pictures distracting and the whole deal of him playing behind the people sitting at a conference table was just dumb. AAAAHHH well. "Video killed the symphony star........"