Historical Instruments, Wonderful Listening
Leslie Richford | Selsingen, Lower Saxony | 08/12/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This recording (made at Wik Castle between November 1974 and December 1976) not only bears eloquent testimony to the delight in musical research to be found among representatives of the first generation of "early music specialists" in Sweden, but also fills an otherwise neglected gap in repertoire, music for viola da gamba and lute, in good to very good technical quality. Bengt Ericson, born in 1927, studied under August Wenzinger at the Schola Cantorum of Basel and here plays a historic viola da gamba built in 1701 and borrowed from the Stockholm Museum of Musical History, the bow a German one from Lübeck made about ten years previously. Rolf LaFleur, born in 1937, was a pupil of Karl Scheit in Vienna and here plays a copy of a ten-course Renaissance lute. The recorded programm includes pieces from the sixteenth, seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, from Oritz to Abel. Track 6 contains for lute solo pieces to be played with scordatura and written by French lutenist Robert Ballard. Track 9 is an eight and a half minute sonata for viola da gamba solo by Carl Friedrich Abel. All the other pieces on the CD were either originally composed for Viola da gamba and lute or were arranged for this highly unusual but felicitous combination of instruments by the musicians themselves. The result is a disc (total playing time: 70 minutes) which is able to convey an excellent impression of both instruments both alone and in combination, especially taking into consideration the recording quality which, for that time, is very good (although on the first nine tracks one does get the impression that both instruments are playing slightly to the left side of proceedings, an impression that ceases abruptly with track 10). At all events, I should like to thank the record label BIS for this wonderful listening experience."