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'Gamba Sonatas' J.S. Bach: Sonatas BWV1027-1029; Scarlatti: Sonata kk90; Handel: Violin Sonata HWV364b / Steven Isserlis, cello; Richard Egarr, harpsichord

Album Summary

>Bach, Johann Sebastian : Sonata for Viola da Gamba and Harpsichord no 1 in G major, BWV 1027
>Scarlatti, Domenico : Sonata for Violin and Harpsichord in D minor, K 90/L 106
>Bach, Johann Sebastian : Sonata for Viola da Gamba and Harpsichord no 3 in G minor, BWV 1029
>Handel, George Frideric : Viola da gamba sonata in G minor, (Op.1/6), HWV 364b
>Bach, Johann Sebastian : Sonata for Viola da Gamba and Harpsichord no 2 in D major, BWV 1028
>Bach, Johann Sebastian : Ich ruf zu dir, Herr Jesu Christ (I), chorale prelude for organ (Orgel-Büchlein no 41), BWV 639 (BC
Performers Composers

Notes & Reviews:

Bach wrote three sonatas for viola da gamba and harpsichord. Scholars estimate they were composed in the early 1740s, possibly for Carl Fredrich Abel, son of Bach's colleague Christian Ferdinand Abel. They are paired here with Scarlatti's Gamba Sonata and a Violin Sonata by Handel. These works are performed by violinist Robin Michael, cellist Steven Isserlis and harpsichordist Richard Egarr in a program of haunting tranquility.

BBC Music Magazine, October 2015
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.

Financial Times, 11th September 2015
Isserlis judges the scale of his performances to a nicety.

The Guardian, 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.

Gramophone Magazine, 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.

American Record Guide, March/April 2016
Isserlis is one of the most satisfying cellists I have heard in a lifetime of listening. He has technique and taste. He can also write fine and helpful liner notes - as he does here. This program includes the three Bach viola da gamba sonatas played on the cello (as they often are) with harpsichord and with the sound balanced to a T (as they often are not). The order of the sonatas has been altered; the G-minor Sonata 3 is placed second, the Dmajor Sonata 2 comes last. Then as an encore we have a transcription of a chorale prelude from the Orgelbuchlein, also played on cello and harpsichord. The Scarlatti sonata is one of a small number of his keyboard sonatas that comes with a basso continuo line and has been published as a violin sonata. The Handel sonata has come down to us as for either oboe or violin. It is a familiar one to these ears, and Isserlis tells us there is a version of the first few bars written in Handel's own hand for viola da gamba. OK, it sounds fine this way. The Scarlatti and Handel sonatas are played here with both harpsichord and cello. Isserlis adds some ornamentation and plays the Scarlatti's last two movements as an ABA form instead of ending slowly as written. There are many recordings of the Bach sonatas done every which way, some with gamba, some with piano, one with organ! Check out the Cello Overview (March/April 2009) if you want to investigate. The present program is among the best.

Notes & Reviews:

Recording information: The Concert Hall, Wyastone Estate, Monmouth (05/28/2014-05/30/2014).



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Works Details

>Bach, Johann Sebastian : Sonata for Viola da Gamba and Harpsichord no 1 in G major, BWV 1027
  • Performers: Richard Egarr (Harpsichord); Steven Isserlis (Cello)
  • Notes: The Concert Hall, Wyastone Estate, Monmouth (05/28/2014-05/30/2014)
  • Running Time: 12 min. 32 sec.
  • Period Time: Baroque
  • Written: 1720

>Scarlatti, Domenico : Sonata for Violin and Harpsichord in D minor, K 90/L 106
  • Performers: Richard Egarr (Harpsichord); Steven Isserlis (Cello); Robin Michael (Cello)
  • Notes: The Concert Hall, Wyastone Estate, Monmouth (05/28/2014-05/30/2014)
  • Running Time: 7 min. 26 sec.
  • Period Time: Baroque

>Bach, Johann Sebastian : Sonata for Viola da Gamba and Harpsichord no 3 in G minor, BWV 1029
  • Performers: Richard Egarr (Harpsichord); Steven Isserlis (Cello)
  • Notes: The Concert Hall, Wyastone Estate, Monmouth (05/28/2014-05/30/2014)
  • Running Time: 13 min. 5 sec.
  • Period Time: Baroque
  • Written: 1720

>Handel, George Frideric : Viola da gamba sonata in G minor, (Op.1/6), HWV 364b
  • Performers: Richard Egarr (Harpsichord); Steven Isserlis (Cello); Robin Michael (Cello)
  • Notes: The Concert Hall, Wyastone Estate, Monmouth (05/28/2014-05/30/2014)
  • Running Time: 5 min. 49 sec.
  • Period Time: Baroque

>Bach, Johann Sebastian : Sonata for Viola da Gamba and Harpsichord no 2 in D major, BWV 1028
  • Performers: Richard Egarr (Harpsichord); Steven Isserlis (Cello)
  • Notes: The Concert Hall, Wyastone Estate, Monmouth (05/28/2014-05/30/2014)
  • Running Time: 12 min. 32 sec.
  • Period Time: Baroque
  • Written: 1720

>Bach, Johann Sebastian : Ich ruf zu dir, Herr Jesu Christ (I), chorale prelude for organ (Orgel-Büchlein no 41), BWV 639 (BC
  • Performers: Richard Egarr (Harpsichord); Steven Isserlis (Cello)
  • Notes: The Concert Hall, Wyastone Estate, Monmouth (05/28/2014-05/30/2014)
  • Running Time: 2 min. 54 sec.
  • Period Time: Baroque
  • Written: 1713-1715