Shades of Yo-Yo Ma?
Ann Bond reviews a new CD of Bach's Gamba Sonatas
<< Continued from page 1
Does it matter? Well, it may be that the putative redating of the sonatas
was made the basis for using a fortepiano in the gamba sonata in D - since
Bach met his first fortepiano in his Leipzig years, when he visited Potsdam
in 1747. Certainly, there is no doubt that the fortepiano works particularly
well for this sonata, and indeed it smooths out some of the textural problems
that occur with the harpsichord [click to listen].
But the price paid is, that the music no longer sounds entirely baroque:
the identity of the music can suffer when you resolve some of its tensions
(a philosophical point, maybe).
people will not worry about all this, when confronted with music-making
of such an exceptional order. The three players act as one, responding in
complete accord to the inner impulses of the music, and the quick movements
have a wonderful buoyancy. I have to say that there is, to my mind, an occasional
tendency to force the tempo; the last movement of the G minor gamba sonata
is certainly pushed, and there is hardly enough space for the sinuous chromatic
harmony of the lovely Siciliano (arranged from the E major harpsichord
concerto) to make its full effect. And on a more basic level, the rhythm
of the opening cello prelude seems unduly distorted, even allowing for the
string-crossing. But Egarr's handling of the organ in the Siciliano
is masterly, and Wispelwey plays like all the Abels of this world rolled
into one - even if neither of the C.F.'s is known to have played the cello.
[Click to listen.]
I always avoid the word 'purist', because it covers a host of misconceptions;
but only a diehard musical fundamentalist could resist this record.
Copyright © Ann Bond, November
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