Octave Records Releases The Complete Bach Cello Suites by Zuill Bailey on Vinyl LP

Octave Records Releases The Complete Bach Cello Suites by Zuill Bailey on Vinyl LP

Written by Frank Doris

PS Audio’s Octave Records label is honored to tell everyone that The Complete Bach Cello Suites by world-renowned cellist Zuill Bailey is now available as a four-LP vinyl box set in a limited, numbered edition of 500 copies signed by the artist.

The six Bach unaccompanied cello suites are a cornerstone of the classical cello repertoire, and Bailey offers a compelling interpretation of Bach’s masterworks informed by decades of immersion in the suites.

The vinyl LP set is available in a limited, numbered edition of 500 copies at a suggested retail price of $149.

Mr. Bailey is widely considered to be one of the world’s premier cellists. He is a GRAMMY award-winning performer, artistic director and teacher. Bailey has collaborated with such conductors and artists as Itzhak Perlman, Stanislav Skrowaczewski, Jaime Laredo, János Starker, the Moscow Chamber Orchestra and others.

Because Bach left no musical annotations in the score, the interpretive skill of the performer is vital to making the music come alive. Bailey noted, Bailey noted, “the difficulty in playing them is that they’re so revealing – there’s nothing to hide behind if you’re a musician. There are no markings in the score, so everything that is played is where we as musicians are. You can feel very fragile when playing them in public.” Bailey first recorded the suites in 2008 on the Telarc label. More than a decade later, these Octave Records performances reflect Bailey’s mature yet daring approach, captured with remarkable realism in stunning high-resolution sound using PS Audio’s exclusive Pure DSD process.

The Complete Bach Cello Suites is pressed on 180-gram virgin vinyl using the highest-quality Neotech vinyl compound, NiPro Optics electroplating and GrooveCoated stampers from Gotta Groove Records. State-of-the-art temperature control is maintained during the manufacturing process using a closed-loop heating system. Each record is scrupulously hand-inspected and listening tests are conducted to ensure the ultimate in pressing quality.


Zuill Bailey, The Complete Bach Cello Suites, album cover.

“When I was a kid, the Bach Cello Suites were not played in public – they were so difficult that people were afraid of them,” said Zuill Bailey. “After attending Juilliard, about five months after being out of school I felt very alone in the world, and I was trying to find myself. I opened up the Bach Cello Suites and just started at the very beginning. In my 20s and 30s they became my guide and have remained so.”

When the pandemic hit, Bailey didn’t touch his cello for weeks. When he resumed playing, he once again turned to the Bach Cello Suites. “I began playing Bach very differently – simpler. I found it purifying.” He stated, “the less I tried to ‘interpret’ the music, the better it sounded.”

The Complete Bach Cello Suites was recorded at the Ikeda Theater in the Mesa Arts Center in Mesa, Arizona for Octave Records by Robert Friedrich of Five/Four Productions, Ltd. with co-engineer Gus Skinas, and produced for Octave Records by Five/Four’s Thomas Moore, a GRAMMY award winner. It was recorded, mastered and mixed using Pure DSD technology.

Click here for a video about the making of The Complete Bach Cello Suites.

This was of particular importance in capturing all the subtleties and tonal shadings of Zuill Bailey’s distinctive 1693 Italian Mateo Goffriller Ex Mischa Schneider “Rosette” cello, an instrument that is bigger and of a different construction than most cellos, not cut down in size like many surviving vintage instruments. This gives it a more robust voice, with a deeper tonality and rich harmonics. “This cello was made when Bach was eight years old,” notes Bailey, “so it was the sound he would have heard when composing the Suites.”

In addition to the four-LP box, The Complete Bach Cello Suites is available in a variety of high-resolution download formats up to DSD256 and 24-bit/352.8kHz, as well as a two-disc DSDDirect Mastered gold SACD’CD set.



Note: portions of this article appeared in Issue 141.

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