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Transcriptions for Viola da Gamba


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Transcriptions for Viola da Gamba + Bach - Sonatas & Partitas for Violin
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Product details

  • Audio CD (22 April 2013)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Degambac
  • ASIN: B009B6VXDM
  • Other Editions: MP3 Download
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 241,848 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

1. Preludio
2. Loure
3. Gavotte En Rondeau
4. Menuet 1re & 2de
5. Bourée
6. Gigue
7. Grave
8. Fuga
9. Andante
10. Allegro
11. Allemande
12. Corrente
13. Sarabanda
14. Giga
15. Ciaccona

Product Description

Product Description

Susanne Heinrich's first two solo recordings were a big success: Mr Abel's Fine Airs, solo viol music by Carl Friedrich Abel (on Hyperion Records) won a Gramophone Award and a Diapason d'Or in 2008, Passion & Division, solo viol music by Captain Tonias Hume (also Hyperion) was selected as a Gramophone Editor's Choice in 2010. This new recording is less conventional and totally ground-breaking - BWV1003, 1004 and 1006 (violin solo Sonata 2, and Partitas 2 and 3) have been transcribed for the bass viol. An amazing achievement and tour de force on an instrument that is twice the size of a violin. 'The result is superb ... breathtaking clarity ... meltingly poignant French voice ... the Chaconne is French, elegant and hugely passionate'. Musica Antiqua, November 2012; 'Beautifully varied palette of tone colours.. a breathtaking recording ... her playing truly transports me to Mt Parnassus ... my mind started playing tricks and soon I was beginning to think these pieces had always been intended for the viol ...I prefer to hear this music on the viol rather than the violin.' Viola da Gamba Society of Australia, March 2013; 'Anyone who might be sceptical of appropriating this music for the viol should listen to this recording ... the beautiful clarity and precision make it feel like natural viol music ... the resonances seem richer than would be possible on the violin, lending the music serenity and depth ... beautifully poised and unhurried ... definitely a CD to keep in your core collection, close at hand.' Viola da Gamba Society (GB), February 2013; 'I am always struck by the elegeance of Heinrich's playing, and in particular, find her music-making and approach true to music, not showy for vanity's sake... delicate touch in the execution of sensitive ornamentation ... even the most unbending purists are sure to savor the resulting expressiveness.' Viola da Gamba Society of America, December 2012; More information here: www.dagamba.com/reviews.html

Review

To a greater extent than the violin, the viola da gamba inspired an extensive and distinguished repertoire of unaccompanied works by 17th and 18th-century composers; regrettably,and despite writing two collections of such music for the violin and the cello, Johann Sebastian Bach wasn't one of them.In this recording,German gambist Susanne Heinrich, who won acclaim with recent recordings of music by Carl Friedrich Abel and Tobias Hume, steps in to give Bach s sonatas and partitas for solo violin an authoritative bass viol treatment. Purists need not be alarmed, because Heinrich makes clear in her notes that she tampered only minimally with the autograph manuscript in adapting the works to her instrument. Her interventions consist of changing the key of the Partita in E Major,BWV 1006,down a tone to D major, adding an occasional note to a chord, and rewriting the first arpeggio in the Ciaconna of the Partita in D Minor, BWV 1004. The alert sharpness of the violin s multiple stops transforms into chords of a gentler contour on the viola da gamba, and the instrument's breath-like caress enhances the contemplative nature of these works. This soulful sound suits Bach's introspective masterpieces so felicitously that it seems incredible, given the extent to which Bach's catalogue has been plundered by performers eager to co-opt a greater portion for their chosen instruments, that no previous disc-length recording of arrangements for the viola dagamba exists. The booklet notes point to one possible explanation: the fiendish physical demands of performing works written for a compact, four-stringed instrument on an instrument of far greater heft with up to seven strings.(In this recording, Heinrich uses both a six-stringed and a seven-stringed instrument.) Heinrich is equal to the task; she plays with assertive power in fast passage work and airy grace in the dance movements, making light of the technical burdens. Her performance of these works is much more than a mere transcription curiosity. It reflects a deep engagement with the music that makes it possible to forget that these pieces some of the most iconic written for the violin were ever intended for an instrument other than the viola dagamba. This is an outstanding recording,and one is left fervently hoping for a completion of the set. --Berna Can - Early Music America

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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Sid Nuncius HALL OF FAMETOP 10 REVIEWER on 16 Jun 2013
Format: MP3 Download
This another wonderful disc from Susanne Heinrich. I loved both of her previous solo discs of Abel and Hume on Hyperion and I was lucky enough to receive this as a review copy from her new label, Da Gamba. It is terrific. Heinrich has transcribed the E major and D minor Partitas (BWV1006 and 1004) and the A minor Sonata (BWV 1003) for viola da gamba from Bach's autograph score for solo violin. There is no arrangement other than a couple of necessary minor changes and the pieces are played as written by Bach. The effect is lovely.

What is really striking is the effect of a genuine bass line. Although I can't quite agree with Heinrich when she says that there is something lacking in the music when played on a violin, the depth and resonance of the gamba's bass line does bring something rather wonderful to it. It's not so much that it sheds new light on the music, but more (to risk over-stretching the metaphor) that it holds it up to the light differently so that it glows and sparkles in a new way. The deeper tone of the gamba and Heinrich's slightly slower tempi than some violinists give the music both a warmth and a sense of gravitas which I love.

What really makes this special is Susanne Heinrich's playing. She says in her notes that "Anyone who has reservations about the idea need not worry: playing this music on the bass viol is so difficult it is unlikely to start a trend." Well, you wouldn't know it to listen to her play. It all sounds effortless and as natural as breathing from the charming and lively E major Preludio which opens the disc to the mighty D minor Chaconne which closes it. She has a wonderful feel and the musicianship to get it just right throughout, I think.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Sid Nuncius HALL OF FAMETOP 10 REVIEWER on 16 Jun 2013
Format: Audio CD
This another wonderful disc from Susanne Heinrich. I loved both of her previous solo discs of Abel and Hume on Hyperion and I was lucky enough to receive this as a review copy from her new label, Da Gamba. It is terrific. Heinrich has transcribed the E major and D minor Partitas (BWV1006 and 1004) and the A minor Sonata (BWV 1003) for viola da gamba from Bach's autograph score for solo violin. There is no arrangement other than a couple of necessary minor changes and the pieces are played as written by Bach. The effect is lovely.

What is really striking is the effect of a genuine bass line. Although I can't quite agree with Heinrich when she says that there is something lacking in the music when played on a violin, the depth and resonance of the gamba's bass line does bring something rather wonderful to it. It's not so much that it sheds new light on the music, but more (to risk over-stretching the metaphor) that it holds it up to the light differently so that it glows and sparkles in a new way. The deeper tone of the gamba and Heinrich's slightly slower tempi than some violinists give the music both a warmth and a sense of gravitas which I love.

What really makes this special is Susanne Heinrich's playing. She says in her notes that "Anyone who has reservations about the idea need not worry: playing this music on the bass viol is so difficult it is unlikely to start a trend." Well, you wouldn't know it to listen to her play. It all sounds effortless and as natural as breathing from the charming and lively E major Preludio which opens the disc to the mighty D minor Chaconne which closes it. She has a wonderful feel and the musicianship to get it just right throughout, I think.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By S. Collins on 31 Aug 2013
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
I heard a track from this album together with a short interview with Ms Heinrich on Radio 3. I immediately got out the car, rushed into my office at home...and ordered it.
Jazz is my first love,..so what do I know?... but, as Duke Ellington so famously said; there are only two types of music: good and bad.
But this is neither:
It is quite unbelievably fantastic.

Thank you Susanne Heinrich for introducing me to the Bass Viol.
I love the depth and richness you create on this instrument. You are a true virtuoso...and you sound like a very pleasant, modest person too.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By JB TOP 500 REVIEWER on 15 May 2013
Format: Audio CD
Susanne Heinrich is one of our leading gamba players, having established a reputation built both on solo and ensemble playing (perhaps most notably with the Palladian Ensemble and Charivari Agréable). Her recordings have garnered numerous plaudits, and the Gramophone Awards Editor's Choice of 2008 for Abel: Mr Abel's Fine Airs - Sonatas for viola da gamba /Heinrich.

Having ranged far and wide through the repertoire, Susanne found herself returning time and time again to the Bach solo sonatas and partitas, an old copy of which she had used in her teenage years playing the violin. The desire to know Bach better drove her to try out some fragments on the gamba, but an impasse seemed to have been reached in how exactly to tackle a transcription proper; it had never been done before, and possibly for good reason: these works (and particularly the chaconne from the D minor partita) are often regarded as the summit of the violin repertoire, and difficult enough on that instrument. How could they possibly work on the bass viol, with its wide spacings and very different set-up?

Inspired partly by Paolo Pandolfo's Bach, J.S.: Cello Suites Nos. 1-6 transcription, Susanne continued to reflect on how exactly this goal might be achieved, and then one evening, whilst enjoying a beer on the patio, the answer began to reveal itself: the key was to lie in the retuning of the instrument.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 2 reviews
A wonderful disc 16 Jun 2013
By Sid Nuncius - Published on Amazon.com
This another wonderful disc from Susanne Heinrich. I loved both of her previous solo discs of Abel and Hume on Hyperion and I was lucky enough to receive this as a review copy from her new label, Da Gamba. It is terrific. Heinrich has transcribed the E major and D minor Partitas (BWV1006 and 1004) and the A minor Sonata (BWV 1003) for viola da gamba from Bach's autograph score for solo violin. There is no arrangement other than a couple of necessary minor changes and the pieces are played as written by Bach. The effect is lovely.

What is really striking is the effect of a genuine bass line. Although I can't quite agree with Heinrich when she says that there is something lacking in the music when played on a violin, the depth and resonance of the gamba's bass line does bring something rather wonderful to it. It's not so much that it sheds new light on the music, but more (to risk over-stretching the metaphor) that it holds it up to the light differently so that it glows and sparkles in a new way. The deeper tone of the gamba and Heinrich's slightly slower tempi than some violinists give the music a sense of gravitas which I love.

What really makes this special is Susanne Heinrich's playing. She says in her notes that "Anyone who has reservations about the idea need not worry: playing this music on the bass viol is so difficult it is unlikely to start a trend." Well, you wouldn't know it to listen to her play. It all sounds effortless and as natural as breathing from the charming and lively E major Preludio which opens the disc to the mighty D minor Chaconne which closes it. She has a wonderful feel and the musicianship to get it just right throughout, I think. It's a performance which welcomes you in (by no means always the case with recordings of these works) and is enormously rewarding.

The recorded sound is excellent, capturing the lovely sound of the instrument, and the notes (in English only) are entertaining and interesting. It is five years now since I wrote in my review of Mr Abel's Fine Airs "I think I may be in love." Mr Abel's Fine Airs I think I still am - this is really something special and I agree with Andrew McGregor on BBC Radio 3's CD Review who also loved it and hopes that Volume 2 will follow soon. Very warmly recommended.
Of Bach and Beer 16 May 2013
By JB - Published on Amazon.com
Susanne Heinrich is one of the leading gamba players, having established a reputation built both on solo and ensemble playing (perhaps most notably with the Palladian Ensemble and Charivari Agréable). Her recordings have garnered numerous plaudits, and the Gramophone Awards Editor's Choice of 2008 for Mr Abel's Fine Airs

Having ranged far and wide through the repertoire, Susanne found herself returning time and time again to the Bach solo sonatas and partitas, an old copy of which she had used in her teenage years playing the violin. The desire to know Bach better drove her to try out some fragments on the gamba, but an impasse seemed to have been reached in how exactly to tackle a transcription proper; it had never been done before, and possibly for good reason: these works (and particularly the chaconne from the D minor partita) are often regarded as the summit of the violin repertoire, and difficult enough on that instrument. How could they possibly work on the bass viol, with its wide spacings and very different set-up?

Inspired partly by Paolo Pandolfo's Bach: The Six Suites transcription, Susanne continued to reflect on how exactly this goal might be achieved, and then one evening, whilst enjoying a beer on the patio, the answer began to reveal itself: the key was to lie in the retuning of the instrument. Following a tuning closer to that of the violin, the pieces began to fall more naturally under the fingers, and from then on some aspects actually began to make more sense on the viol than the violin, for instance in the spreading of the large chords and the capability to yield a more ringing bass line.

The resulting recording - on Susanna's own new label - is a triumph, a remarkable and compelling realization which seems to have an intrinsic validity; these performances really do seem to be revealing something new in their wholly idiomatic transcriptions.

Susanne Heinrich make the point in the notes that Bach had absorbed the spirit of the French Suite to the core, and one of the instruments used here is a seven string bass after the famous French maker Colichon. The influence of Versailles is heard to particularly good effect in the Grave from the A minor sonata where the darkly sweet sonorities echo with an elegant restraint. In the fast movements the natural resonance of the viol adds a dance-like spring to the rhythm, the curved bow imparting a diaphanous and aerial delicacy.

A landmark in viola da gamba recordings.
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