Linden and Egarr play
Bach Gamba sonatas -
and RON BIERMAN
'... a wonderful original instruments recording ...'
Gamba is Italian for leg and so a viola large enough to require support from the legs
came to be known as a viola da gamba, or often today just gamba. Jaap ter Linden
here plays an instrument made in the late seventeenth century. He produces a warm, full tone
with an occasional almost imperceptible vibrato
[listen -- track 1, 0:03-1:16]. Richard Egarr,
much in demand for a variety of keyboard music, performs on a modern harpsichord patterned after
an early seventeenth century instrument. It has an unusually rich sound and that's especially
appropriate because Bach intends a full partner rather than a continuo instrument
[listen -- track 2, 0:00-1:01].
Some of the competition's engineers take their
performers out of the running by making the harpsichord sound like it's behind a curtain.
That's a particular danger in the cello-superstar recordings, the cello a more powerful
instrument to begin with. Yo-Yo Ma might as well have played a solo for his version. The
cello sound is gorgeous, but the performance doesn't do justice to the interplay of
instruments. The historic Casals version with cello and piano suffers from the same
Copyright © 9 April 2003
Ron Bierman, San Diego, USA