MP3 Alfia Nakipbekova - JS Bach Six Suites for Solo Cello
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36 MP3 Songs in this album (142:02) !
Related styles: Classical: Bach, Classical: Baroque, Solo Instrumental
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Unique version of the Bach Cello suites recorded in St Boniface Kirk on the tiny island of Papa Westray, Orkney.
Alfia's Story -
I first came to Papa Westray in August 2007 to play a series of concerts, including a Bach recital at St Boniface. I fell in love with Papay immediately, not because it is a beautiful in a traditional sense, but because of the simplicity and practicality of the place; an island that has developed because of the needs of the people who live and work there - hardy, honest, decent working people. Yet within that environment there is a beauty and complexity that is like no other I have seen before. The wind blows incessantly, transforming the lighting and appearance of the sky and the sea in an instant throughout the day. St Boniface, like the island, is a simple place; a small kirk made of stone with no architectural embellishments whatsoever, a meeting place for worship and community activity. During my performance there I felt the environment was guiding my interpretation. Rather than imposing any preconceived ideas that I had arrived at through many years of study and performances, I felt the music was speaking for itself and revealing its depths through its innate simplicity. I knew I had to go back to Papay and record there.
Recording JS Bach Cello Suites in Papay
We set off from London in November 2007. We faced a two and a half day grueling journey-first by crowded train to Aberdeen, an eight hour ferry crossing in a force eight wind, another ferry from Kirkwall to Westray and finally a small fishing boat that would take us to our final destination - Papa Westray (a small island off the most northern tip of Orkney inhabited by 70 people, a few cows and several hundred sheep). Luckily by the time we left Westray the wind had dropped so the crossing was fairly mild but there was heavy cloud cover and the boat man had to rely on, what looked like, an antiquated radar system to get us through the pitch black darkness. Having seen the broken skeleton of a vessel that had recently run aground on the rocks of Papay, it was a relief to see Ivanov and Chan waiting for us on the pier.
The next day we went to visit St Boniface where we would record three of the Bach Suites. It is a small 12th century church on the North side of the island near the sea. The building has recently been restored but there is no electricity or heating and even when the doors and windows were firmly shut, I could still hear the wind howling and sea splashing against the rocks. This would be a problem. We borrowed a generator from a kind farmer and local residents lent us there portable gas fires. After dragging the generator through muddy fields with rain blowing horizontally into our faces by a 50 mph wind, I started to set up the recording equipment. Through the headphones I could hear the low frequency sounds of the wind and the sea rumbling against the diaphragms of the sensitive microphones. We no alternative but to wait for a break in the weather which finally happened in the afternoon. Somedays it was quiet and we managed to record quite a lot of material, but there were times when the wind was so fierce it because impossible to work and we had to retreat to Ivanov and Chan's studio on the other side of the island where we would warm ourselves with hot tea and a few wee drams of the local brew. After seven days of work (most of which was downtime) with the help and encouragement from Ivanov, Chan and other people of Papay we completed the first half of the cycle. A year later we returned to Papay to continue recording. Again, the weather was stormy, but this time there was no respite from the wind so we had to make the difficult decision to record some of the suites in Ivanov and Chan's studio - hence the non chronological order of the music (the suites are grouped for consistency of the acoustics. We decided to leave wind sound on some of the track - no. 5 particularly - as we felt this was an honest representation of the recording conditions.
We celebrated the project's completion with our new friends from Papay. The treated us to a traditional "Muckle Supper" followed by energetic dancing, accompanied by the local master of the accordion - Margaret Rendall - who kindly allowed me to play along with her on my fiddle. James Hesford - producer
in partnership with CDbaby
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