The Dutch cellist Anner Bylsma passed away last Thursday in Amsterdam. He was 85.
Bylsma will be remembered as a profound and influential interpreter of J.S. Bach’s six solo Cello Suites. His book, Bach, the Fencing Master provides a treatise for historically informed performance practice. For six years (from 1962-1968) Bylsma served as principal cellist of the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra. In a social media statement, cellist Steven Isserlis called him “a wonder—soaringly imaginative, utterly original and a witty, kind, completely lovable man. He will be so much missed.”
Anner Bylsma made two recordings of Bach’s Cello Suites. The 1979 album was the first to feature authentic gut strings. This performance of the Suite No. 2 in D minor comes from the later 1992 recording on which Bylsma plays the 1701 Servais Stradivarius: