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Bach wrote three wonderful sonatas for the viola da gamba (an early, slightly smaller relative of the modern cello). Lovingly recorded by Steven Isserlis and Richard Egarr, they are here joined by works by Handel and Scarlatti in a programme of haunting tranquillity.
J S Bach: Viola da Gamba Sonata No. 1 in G major, BWV1027
2. Allegro Ma Non Tanto
4. Allegro Moderato
Domenico Scarlatti: Keyboard Sonata K90 in D minor
3. Largo; Allegro
J S Bach: Viola da Gamba Sonata No. 3 in G minor, BWV1029
George Frideric Handel: Sonata in G minor HWV364b
1. Andante Larghetto
J S Bach: Viola da Gamba Sonata No. 2 in D major, BWV1028
J S Bach: Chorale Prelude BWV639 'Ich ruf' zu dir, Herr Jesu Christ'
Ich ruf' zu dir, Herr Jesu Christ
“This isn’t one for the dyed-in-the-wool authenticist…fortunately, dessicated 'authenticity' has been supplanted by imaginatively experimenting performers supported by scholarly evidence…in the Handel slow movements Isserlis indulges stylistically in spontaneous-sounding elaboration of the line, while the thrilling final allegro of the Scarlatti Sonata is wonderfully fluent.”
11th September 2015
“Isserlis judges the scale of his performances to a nicety.”
17th September 2015
“Isserlis plays them on the gamba’s modern cousin, the cello, and the microphone loves his playing, picking up all the nuances and scampering asides from his soft-spoken instrument which can sometimes get lost in big concert halls. Egarr on harpsichord matches Isserlis’s eloquence and rambunctious energy all the way.”
Awards Issue 2015
“None of these pieces was written for cello and harpsichord, and at no stage does that matter one bit...Isserlis makes no attempt to make his cello imitate the wispy resonance of the gamba, instead claiming the music for his instrument with vigorously articulated lines, robust technical athleticism and ravishing cantabile.”
“Isserlis points out that playing with a harpsichord allows him “to play as lightly as possible without ever courting inaudibility,” and the result is playing of grace, lightness and warmth.”
Click on any of the works listed above for alternative recordings.