Northwest Reverb, Jan. 2024

It is uncommonly refreshing to hear Bach’s Six Cello Suites played on the violin rather than the cello. In his latest album Tomás Cotik makes a strong case for such an interpretation. Released on the Centaur label, Cotik uses a Baroque bow and synthetic strings to elicit a wonderfully nuanced performances of Bach’s timeless Suites. His sound is supple and clear with a minimum of vibrato but always shaped with warmth and feathered, as needed, with a hint of softness. Bach’s music simply glows under his fingers.

Cotik is an award-winning teacher and violinist who is on the faculty in the music department of Portland State University. Last year, the his recording of Telemann Fantasias for Solo Violin received critical acclaim, and over the past year, he did postdoctoral research in Spain after receiving a Fulbright Scholar Award.

In his excellent program notes to the Bach Suites, Cotik explains that he transposed the first five Suites up a fifth from the original key so that the relations between the strings would be the same as on the cello. By playing on the violin rather than the cello, you just have to get accustomed to hearing this famous piece at a higher register. Cotik’s terrific musicianship and thoughtful approach to each movement in all six Suites make the recording (2 CDs) a terrific addition for the collection of anyone who loves Bach’s music.