In homage to Bach, Benjamin Britten originally planned to write six cello suites for his friend Rostropovich, but was able to complete only three before his death in 1976.
They remain masterpieces of the form. Young British cellist Philip Higham offers impressive interpretations here, grabbing attention right from the hypnotically mournful opening of the first suite, leading into its dance of furtive harmonies and counterpoints. But it's the third suite that stands out, the overwhelming solemnity of its introductory Canto immediately dispersed by the nimbler Marcia and the Dialogo's conversation between bowed and plucked notes, before drawing together the various threads and themes in the lengthy Passacaglia.
Download: Suite for Cello No 3, Op 87; Suite for Cello No. 1, Op 72