There is no typo in the information above. These are new arrangements by bass clarinetist Joshua Ranz of three of the Bach cello suites: BWV. 1007, 1008, and 1010. Lest you wonder about this, it is worth noting that Ranz is the principal clarinetist of the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra and film music fans will recognize his name if they check the orchestra personnel for Catch Me If You Can, Toy Story 3 & 4, La La Land, and Star Wars 7 & 9.
There is no question regarding the musical works here being significant repertoire pieces in the cello literature. They are essentially the pieces that can distinguish a cellist's mastery of the instrument. As one listens to these new arrangements, it becomes clear that this could also be the case for bass clarinet players. Ranz's tone in stunningly captured in these recordings and interpretively the performances match well with period practice--of course, on an instrument that did not even exist at the time. As the suites move along, it is worth pondering what Bach might have done himself to create unique pieces for the instrument, but as it is these versions honor the composer's style and manage to adapt some of the specifically string technique to work well on this instrument.
While some will stumble across this as a curiosity, it may well become a favorite guilty pleasure. Certainly recommendable to performers of the instrument who now have something even more to aspire to from their often overlooked place in the band or orchestra.
A very interesting project, the esteemed clarinetist Joshua Ranz interprets Bach’s legendary works arranged for bass clarinet here. Ranz decided on Suites #1, #2 and #4 cause they form a cohesive and dynamic whole, as he puts a fresh coast of paint on Three Cello Suites with much skill.
“Cello Suite #1 In G Major, BWV 1007” leads the listen with 6 movements where a low pitch shows us much depth and playfulness, and this creativity continues to “Cello Suite #4 In E Flat Major, BWV 1010”, where a hypnotic approach also injects plenty of melody and even some intimacy in the later movements.
The album exits on “Cello Suite #2 In D Minor, BMV 1008”, as a warm and cozy delivery spreads across 6 chapters of emotive, swift and even vulnerable playing that Ranz executes with a meticulous energy.
Though his name might not be familiar to you, if you’ve seen Toy Story 3 &4, Catch Me If You Can or Star Wars Episodes VII and IX, you’ve already heard Ranz’s work. Here, he proves just how diverse his talent can get while offering just as much beauty as the originals thanks to his timeless vision.
Here's a video of the Sarabande from Suite #1, featured in his new release
Performed by members of the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra:
Joshua Ranz, clarinet
Tereza Stanislav, violin
Cheryl Norman Brick, violin
Rob Brophy, viola
Andrew Shulman, cello