Monday, January 17, 2011

Bach JS - Gamba Sonatas - Angela Hewitt, Daniel Muller-Schott







Its amazing to realize how diverse and varied music JS Bach wrote in his lifetime (1685-1750). Originally written for the viola da gamba and harpsichord, these compositions translate well to the modern cello and piano as their sunny, pleasant sonorities attest. The last sonata by Bach's most musically innovative  son, CPE Bach, is an added treat.

Having recorded all of the major keyboard works of Bach, Angela Hewitt nowFrom J.S. Bach, Sonata No. 1 for Viola da gamba and Cembalo picks up these "minor" pieces with cellist Daniel Muller-Schott. The compositions are not necessarily "virtuosic" - like those of Beethoven - but they are among the first to give more equal partnership of the keyboard beyond continuo. These sonatas brim forth with effortless melody and quality musical development that Bach was so marvelous in composing which gives them a universal appeal.

Listening to this similar-temperament pair of fine musicians play these pieces, one would be hard-pressed to find something not to like (barring a conflict with use of modern instruments for some perhaps). Both relax nicely into these works. Hewitt's Bach is well known and Muller-Schott brings an attractive, luminously colored sound and texture to the reading. His intonation and judicious use of vibrato sounds silky smooth on the 1727 Matteo Goffriller cello he uses. It makes for wonderful, nourishing music to play often - like on a relaxing Sunday morning. And the Orfeo sound and ideal instrument balance brings them fully to life.



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