Strange but fine
new music guy | NY, NY United States | 04/02/2002
(3 out of 5 stars)
"Most recordings of the Bach viola da gamba sonatas these days are either modern, with the soloist perfoming on viola or cello with a piano accompaniment, or historical, using viola da gamba and harpsichord. This CD is just plain weird. Bylsma, a fine baroque and classical cellist, has chosen to perform these works on a piccolo cello, a short-lived instrument for which Bach wrote the 6th cello suite, and which also appeared as an obbligato instrument in several of the cantatas. Even odder, he has chosen an organ as his keyboard, with the liner notes claiming it will result in better blend (though I wouldn't necessarily agree).Fortunately, these two players are fine enough that the disc works regardless, but the instrumentation results in the performance being more of a curiosity than anything else. In my opinion, the definitive recording of these works is Jordi Savall's excellent period performance with Ton Koopman. Though modern instruments are not my choice for Bach, you can't go wrong with Misha Maisky and Martha Argerich playing these sonatas. This Bylsma recording is worth skipping."