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Solo Viola Da Gamba / John Dornenburg


Release Date: 05/31/2005 
Label:  Centaur Records   Catalog #: 2713   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  Tobias HumeChristopher SimpsonKarl Friedrich AbelMarin Marais,   ... 
Performer:  John Dornenburg
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 1 Hours 7 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews

For many listeners, Jordi Savall is the undisputed king of this repertoire, and indeed he has contributed reference versions of most of the works on offer here. But John Dornenburg proves absolutely worthy of company with Savall, with his consistently articulate and elegant performances, enlivened by a tone quality and expressive range that's as close to the human voice as a viol can achieve. Whether it's the instrument, the engineering, or some combination of both, the viol sound here is warmer and less obtrusive in the lowest register than we often hear from recorded bass viol performances. Thus, it's easier to listen to long stretches of this one solo instrument than we might otherwise be inclined to. In fact, I happily listened to the Read more program's entire 67 minutes with only one or two touches of the pause button.


Although Marais and Sainte-Colombe may be the big names on the list of works (Marais' Chaconne from the First Book of Pièces à une et à deux violes is played completely solo, to fine effect), I found the most striking and overall engaging work to be August Kühnel's Partita XIII in A minor. This set of dances, composed in the latter 17th century, shows an exceptional mastery of the viol and a real facility for its expressive possibilities, not to mention a sure command of technical challenges--particularly harmonic development and counterpoint--presented in writing for a solo stringed instrument. The result is a work that requires a highly skilled, musically mature player--Dornenburg is both--and one whose thematic and expressive devices occasionally make you wonder whether Bach might have been familiar with Kühnel's solo-viol creations.


Likewise, Carl Friedrich Abel's Pieces for Solo Viol--a modern compilation of different movements from Abel's works to form a "suite"--makes a fine if quite substantial concert work, rich in drama and again demanding virtuoso-level technique, although a couple of the movements are nothing more than sketches that leave much to the discretion of today's performers. Dornenburg does all the right things here, letting his instrument "sing" and "speak" with a certain tasteful flair that both respects and indulges the viol's full range. This is a superbly performed and artfully recorded recital that should please viol enthusiasts as well as listeners who want to explore some of the under-exploited yet highly sophisticated repertoire of the 16th and 17th centuries.
--David Vernier, ClassicsToday.com Read less

Works on This Recording

1.
The first part of ayres: no 46, Captaine Humes Pauin by Tobias Hume
Performer:  John Dornenburg (Viola da gamba)
Period: Renaissance 
Written: by 1605; England 
Date of Recording: 05/2003 
Venue:  Mont La Salle Chapel, Napa, California 
Length: 7 Minutes 9 Secs. 
2.
Captaine Humes Poeticall Musicke: The Spirit of Gambo... by Tobias Hume
Performer:  John Dornenburg (Viola da gamba)
Period: Renaissance 
Written: by 1607; England 
Date of Recording: 05/2003 
Venue:  Mont La Salle Chapel, Napa, California 
Length: 2 Minutes 34 Secs. 
3.
The Division Viol: Prelude in D major by Christopher Simpson
Performer:  John Dornenburg (Viola da gamba)
Period: Baroque 
Written: 1659; England 
Date of Recording: 05/2003 
Venue:  Mont La Salle Chapel, Napa, California 
Length: 1 Minutes 15 Secs. 
4.
The Division Viol: Divisions in D major by Christopher Simpson
Performer:  John Dornenburg (Viola da gamba)
Period: Baroque 
Written: 1659; England 
Date of Recording: 05/2003 
Venue:  Mont La Salle Chapel, Napa, California 
Length: 4 Minutes 52 Secs. 
5.
Pieces (27) for Viola da Gamba: no 20 in D minor, WKO 205 by Karl Friedrich Abel
Performer:  John Dornenburg (Viola da gamba)
Period: Classical 
Written: circa 1770; London, England 
Date of Recording: 05/2003 
Venue:  Mont La Salle Chapel, Napa, California 
Length: 2 Minutes 16 Secs. 
6.
Pieces (27) for Viola da Gamba: no 23 in D minor, WKO 208 by Karl Friedrich Abel
Performer:  John Dornenburg (Viola da gamba)
Period: Classical 
Written: circa 1770; London, England 
Date of Recording: 05/2003 
Venue:  Mont La Salle Chapel, Napa, California 
Length: 5 Minutes 16 Secs. 
7.
Pieces (27) for Viola da Gamba: no 24 in D minor, WKO 209 by Karl Friedrich Abel
Performer:  John Dornenburg (Viola da gamba)
Period: Classical 
Written: circa 1770; London, England 
Date of Recording: 05/2003 
Venue:  Mont La Salle Chapel, Napa, California 
Length: 4 Minutes 9 Secs. 
8.
Pieces (27) for Viola da Gamba: no 21 in D minor, WKO 206 by Karl Friedrich Abel
Performer:  John Dornenburg (Viola da gamba)
Period: Classical 
Written: circa 1770; London, England 
Date of Recording: 05/2003 
Venue:  Mont La Salle Chapel, Napa, California 
Length: 3 Minutes 40 Secs. 
9.
Pieces (27) for Viola da Gamba: Minuet in D major by Karl Friedrich Abel
Performer:  John Dornenburg (Viola da gamba)
Period: Classical 
Written: circa 1770; London, England 
Date of Recording: 05/2003 
Venue:  Mont La Salle Chapel, Napa, California 
Length: 3 Minutes 15 Secs. 
10.
Pièces de viole, Book 1: Suite no 2 in D major - Chaconne by Marin Marais
Performer:  John Dornenburg (Viola da gamba)
Period: Baroque 
Written: by 1689; Paris, France 
Date of Recording: 05/2003 
Venue:  Mont La Salle Chapel, Napa, California 
Length: 6 Minutes 51 Secs. 
11.
Pièces de viole seule: Suite for Viola da Gamba in D minor by Jean de Sainte-Colombe
Performer:  John Dornenburg (Viola da gamba)
Period: Baroque 
Written: France 
Date of Recording: 05/2003 
Venue:  Mont La Salle Chapel, Napa, California 
Length: 15 Minutes 13 Secs. 
12.
Sonatas or Partitas (14) for 1-2 Viole da gamba and Basso continuo by August Kühnel
Performer:  John Dornenburg (Viola da gamba)
Period: Baroque 
Written: by 1698; Germany 
Date of Recording: 05/2003 
Venue:  Mont La Salle Chapel, Napa, California 
Length: 10 Minutes 44 Secs. 

Sound Samples

The First Part of Ayres: Captaine Humes Pavan
The Spirit of Gambo: The Lord Dewys of favoret: The Spirit of Gambo
Pieces for Solo Viol: I. Allemande
Pieces for Solo Viol: II. Courante
Pieces for Solo Viol: III. Sarabande
Pieces for Solo Viol: IV. Ballet
Pieces for Solo Viol: V. Chaconne
The Division-Violist: Prelude
Division in D major
Partita No. 13 in A minor: I. Preluda
Partita No. 13 in A minor: II. Allemande
Partita No. 13 in A minor: III. Corrente
Partita No. 13 in A minor: IV. Sarabande
Partita No. 13 in A minor: V. Gigue
27 Pieces for Viola da Gamba, WKO 186-212: Prelude, WKO 205
27 Pieces for Viola da Gamba, WKO 186-212: Allegretto, WKO 208
27 Pieces for Viola da Gamba, WKO 186-212: Adagio, WKO 209
27 Pieces for Viola da Gamba, WKO 186-212: Allegro, WKO 206
27 Pieces for Viola da Gamba, WKO 186-212: Tempo di minuet, WKO 212
Pieces de violes, Book 1: Suite in G major (version for viola da gamba): Pieces de violes, Book 1: Suite in G major: Chaconne

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