Notes and Editorial Reviews
Cello Suite No. 1,
Sonata No. 36 in d.
Sonata in F,
Andrew Maginley (lt)
AVIE 2115 (55:09)
On this disc, Andrew Maginley plays his own transcription of Bach’s first Cello Suite, a ravishingly beautiful sonata by Bach’s nearly exact
contemporary, Sylvius Leopold Weiss, and a short sonata by Adam Falckenhagen, who was born a decade after Weiss in 1697, and who died in 1754, four years after the deaths of both Bach and Weiss. Maginley’s reasoning for pairing the Bach and Weiss is that, leaving aside exceptions such as Bach’s Prelude and Weiss’s Fantasia, both works contain “groups of dances drawn from popular forms.” Of course we are used to hearing the Bach played on the cello. On Maginley’s lute, the piece is less effortful, galant rather than intense. That results partly from his quick tempos, and partially from the interpretation. Whereas the Prelude played on cello almost inevitably builds in intensity as the repetitive phrases move upward in pitch, the lutenist shows no strain. So the Bach becomes a more elegant work than we are used to.
I am guessing that the Weiss was recorded in a different location, or at least with different microphone placement. The recorded sound on this piece is rather hugely resonant, given that it is a lute playing, and unlike the sound of the Bach. For a more natural lute sound, one could go to Maginley’s main rival for this piece, Robert Barto’s Weiss recording on Naxos. (Barto is recording all of Weiss: the Sonata No. 36 is on Volume 1.) Yet I am still recommending the Maginley, for the sweet lyricism of the playing, for his careful shaping of his phrases, and for his seemingly perfect tempos. A student of Weiss’s, Falckenhagen is the least known of the composers represented here, yet the opening notes of the Largo reveal, in their singing trills, the noble sobriety of the melody, a special voice. For me the Falckenhagen is the discovery of this disc. I don’t know another recording of this Sonata, but Maginley also has recorded a whole disc of the composer’s other works.
FANFARE: Michael Ullman
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