Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
|Johann Sebastian Bach, Ton Koopman, Jordi Savall|
Bach: Sonatas for Viola da gamba und Cembalo
Bach, like Handel and most other baroque composers, often reused compositions, either adapting and assembling portions of them to make new "compilation" works (as with the four short Masses) or rearranging them for other f... more »
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Bach, like Handel and most other baroque composers, often reused compositions, either adapting and assembling portions of them to make new "compilation" works (as with the four short Masses) or rearranging them for other forces (as with the violin concertos Bach rearranged as harpsichord concertos). Bach's three sonatas for viola da gamba and keyboard are just such rearrangements, all of trio sonatas for two melody instruments and continuo. This means that the keyboard isn't just harmonic accompaniment: It's a second melody instrument, an equal duet partner with the gamba. This can be difficult for a harpsichordist to pull off successfully, because the harpsichord can't sustain a note or vary its volume. (Bach didn't specify which keyboard instrument to use, however, and there are other interesting period instrument options possible.) Ton Koopman does his instrument proud, though--he's more famous now as a Bach conductor, but he came to prominence as a harpsichordist and organist, and his sparkling performance here shows why. Jordi Savall is probably the only viola da gamba player to have become famous beyond the small world of early-instrument aficionados. Granted, that's partly due to his conducting career, but no one can make this rather introverted instrument sing quite like Savall can. --Matthew Westphal
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Savall and Koopman first recorded the three gamba sonatas over twenty years ago, so this new version was already up against stiff competition from the same pair of musicians. But what a revelation! While the two work together splendidly, the contrast between their approaches is what makes the collaboration so perfect. And, as one might expect, the added experience both have beind them make for a more relaxed, though hardly less engaging, performance. Savall's dynamic subtleties are matched by Koopman's strongly rhetorical approach and tighty controlled ornamentation. As an added bonus, one of the six trio sonatas (originally for organ) is added to fill out the disc. While there are plenty of recordings of these works in the catalogue, including excellent modern instrument performances by the likes of Kim Kashkashian on viola and many 'cellists, these should easily be THE performances to have, and not just for period-performance buffs."
The best period recording of these works available
new music guy | NY, NY United States | 04/02/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This has to be considered the definitive recording of the Bach gamba sonatas. Savall and Koopman are arguably the finest gamba and harpsichord players, respectively, in the world. The balance is slightly more harpsichord-heavy than is typically heard, but it allows both hands of the keyboard a chance at equality. Rather than be a viol accompanied by two keyboard lines, this is three individual lines of music, and Koopman is skilled enough to make it work. Listen for a few painfully long resolutions on half-cadences at the end of slow movements. It's the nice kind of pain. The addition of an arrangement of an organ sonata as a sort of fourth viola da gamba sonata is a pleasant treat.For those of you who don't know these works, this is essential listening. The three gamba sonatas are among the last great pieces written for the instrument, which subsequently went out of style until relatively recently."
Not your grandmother's period performance
C. Dyer | Washington, DC | 08/06/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Delicious. Despite the remarkable artistry that has come into the historical performance world in the past several decades, we've had to wait for this to hear the first truly remarkable recording of the gamba sonatas (although the Bylsma/van Asperen experiment impresses too). These little gems are fantastic-- much larger in scope and depth than the humble (to those who have not heard it) instrumentation would suggest. And, Koopman and Savall have thrown in a reworking of the similarily structured C-major trio sonata for organ to the CD's tremendous advantage."