Notes and Editorial Reviews
This disc features the second half of the 12 sonatas (actually suites of dance movements) that make up The Nymphs of the Rhine Op. 8 by the fascinating 17th century Dutch-German composer Johannes Schenck. A master gambist, Schenck's absolute knowledge of the potential of the instrument is on full display in these superbly crafted, colorful works, and Susie Napper and Margaret Little, the players in Les Voix Humaines, possess superb skill and incisive musical instincts. The dialogue between the instruments seems effortless, allowing Schenck's cosmopolitan blend of musical languages to speak naturally. Just listen to the gentle weeping of the Menuet, or to the highly expressive Allegro "Aria" of the E minor sonata, with its
delicately interlaced musings.
A real treat is the Rondeau of the C minor sonata--the opening eerily imitates the drone of a bagpipe (complete with the characteristic swell up to the first note), as the tune, reminiscent of a sober Breton folk song, dances on. Throughout this recording the musicians engage as much technical and interpretive facility as required to effectively capture the music's wide variety of manners and moods. Naxos' sound has a bit of a metallic edge, but is certainly full and clear. If you already have the excellent first volume of The Nymphs of the Rhine, then you'll surely want this one too. If not, then this is a fine introduction to some terrific music.
--David Preiser, ClassicsToday.com Read less
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