Johann Sebastian Bach played the violin “cleanly and with a penetrating tone…” At the time his son CPE Bach wrote this phrase to a musicologist and Bach’s early biographer Johann Nikolaus Forkel in 1774, the Sonatas and Partitas for Solo Violin were known to a relatively small but steadily growing circle of enthusiasts. Although the demand problem was eventually solved by the appearance of the first printed editions around the turn of the century, it took another five decades before Bach’s sonatas and partitas came to the attention of a broader public. Arrangements of the violin solos for other instruments offer new expressive opportunities. For this album, Florian Klaus Rumpf has transcribed and recorded the first three of the six violin solos for the mandolin. Florian Klaus Rumpf decided to begin studying mandolin at the age of seven. In 2006 Florian entered the University of Music and Dance in Wuppertal, where he studied the modern mandolin and a wide range of historical instruments, including the six-course Baroque mandolin and the 8-course mandolone. He is in high demand as a soloist, tutor, and conductor of mandolin orchestras.
Hille Perl is widely regarded as one of the leading viola da gambists in the world. Because of the prominence of her instrument in the Baroque era, her repertory is rich in works from that period, with the names, J.S. Bach, Telemann, Marin Marais, Sainte-Colombe, and other 17th and 18th century composers headlining her concert programs and recordings. Perl also plays the treble viol, the seven-string bass viol, Baroque guitar, Lirone, and Xarana.
Andrew Manze has been called "the Grappelli of the Baroque violin" because of the improvisatory liveliness of his approach; however, he can just as easily change personalities. Sometimes he pads along with sinewy grace like a panther ready to spring (the Preludio to BWV 1023, for example), sometimes he goes for a much more relaxed cantabile line, and sometimes he plays with a sparkling and infectious sense of fun (Presto, BWV 1021).
Rarely do we feel the presence of Bach so vividly on a recording as we do here with this set of Trio Sonata arrangements, performed by violins, viola da gamba, and harpsichord. What a perfect combination, thanks to Richard Boothby's settings and to the wonderfully synergistic interaction among these very experienced early music players–violinists Catherine Mackintosh (in her best recorded performance in a while) and Catherine Weiss, gambist Boothby, and harpsichordist Robert Woolley.
These three sonatas - composed originally for the viola da gamba and harpsichord - are very musically-appealing compositions. And unlike previous Baroque cahmber-music tradition, the harpsichord is not relegated to mere continuo but projected into the spotlight as co-soloist - perhaps to showcase some of Bach's keyboard virtuosity. There are several fine period recordings of these works on viola da gamba and harpsichord (Savall, Peri, Crum, Wispelwey) or modern cello with harpsichord (Ma, Tortelier). But if your taste favors all modern instuments (cello, piano), then this circa-80's CD by the legendary Martha Argerich and Misha Maisky is the ticket.
Gidon Kremer has again recorded the Sonatas and Partitas for Solo Violin of Bach and while his facility and technical grace are intact, in this recording he appears to have been deeply influenced by his time with the moderns (Adams, Pärt, Schnittke, Piazzola, Glass, et al). For this listener it seems that studying and performing these contemporary composers' manipulation of sound and instrumental scope has enriched Kremer's thought about the perfection of Bach. Not everyone will agree with Kremer's approach to these works on this new recording, but for those who know Bach's solo violin pieces there are pleasures in store. Remaining technically suave and with a luxuriant tone, Kremer seems to be communicating with the psychological Bach, offering different tempi and more soulful approaches than those of his colleagues. The results are mesmerizing. Highly recommended.
Rarely do we feel the presence of Bach so vividly on a recording as we do here with this set of Trio Sonata arrangements, performed by violins, viola da gamba, and harpsichord. What a perfect combination, thanks to Richard Boothby's settings and to the wonderfully synergistic interaction among these very experienced early music players--violinists Catherine Mackintosh (in her best recorded performance in a while) and Catherine Weiss, gambist Boothby, and harpsichordist Robert Woolley. There's certainly nothing wrong with arranging Bach's music like this--and indeed, Boothby does "mix things up" by transposing keys and instrumental lines--as Bach himself reused, rearranged, and transposed his own and others' music. In these string versions of pieces normally performed on the organ we hear occasional enticing hints of the violin concertos and, because of the instruments' different registers and colors, the lines emerge in new and surprising ways. This disc makes a nice companion to Bernard Labadie's arrangement of the Goldberg Variations for strings and continuo, recorded with Les Violons du Roy on Dorian (see reviews and features): both are distinguished for their learned, totally faithful, yet refreshingly entertaining and enlightening recastings of music that's not only timeless but seemingly limitless in its revelatory capacity. The sound is demonstration quality--this is one of those recordings that when you turn it up to just the right level, the instruments come to stunningly real, three-dimensional life, no fancy surround-sound or other high end equipment needed.ClassicsToday - David Vernier