A capacity audience was held in thrall by the playing of the cellist, Steven Isserlis at his solo recital on Friday evening, performing three of Bach's Six Suites for unaccompanied cello, interspersed with music by Kurtag.

He began with a fine reading of the first, G major Suite, the lightest of the six, then two short 'In Memoriam' pieces by Kurtag, each lasting scarcely a few seconds, produced a hauntingly beautiful preface to the sombre C minor Suite, No 5.

After the interval, another brief, but more robust and virtuosic Kurtag work, Az Hit, prefaced the glorious 6th G major Suite.

Throughout, Isserlis produced clear expressive playing, with no exaggerated phrasing, and a constant flow of beautiful sound, poignant in the Sarabande of No 5, and with stunning virtuosity in the final Gigue of No. 6.

Frank Cliff

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