Philip Higham’s debut recording, a disc of Benjamin Britten’s three solo suites, won acclaim across the board, including Disc of the Month accolades from both Gramophone and BBC Music Magazine. He has chosen to follow it directly with the Bach suites which were Britten’s inspiration, and which remain pinnacles of the repertoire for any cellist. Higham has returned to Anna Magdalena Bach’s manuscript copy of the works, recently the object of some controversy.
For Higham, however, the manuscript is a provocation not to speculation over authorship but to interpretations at once broadly and deeply conceived. Not afraid to question received wisdom, Higham’s thoughtful yet daring approach also leads him to combine elements of period and modern style both in his playing and in his choice of instruments – a 1697 cello for the first five suites and a 2013 five-string instrument to bring out the extraordinary range of colours with which Bach invested the crowning Sixth.