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
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