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Music For Viola Da Gamba

Kuijken,Wieland
Release Date: 08/13/2013 
Label:  Regis   Catalog #: 1313464   Spars Code: n/a 
Composer:  Karl Friedrich AbelDiego OrtizJohannes SchenckChristopher Simpson,   ... 
Performer:  Wieland Kuijken
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 1 Hours 7 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews

A disc no lover of the gamba would want to miss.

The viola da gamba , both as a solo instrument and in ensemble, played an important role in music history from the renaissance until the 18th century. Italy was the first country where it became marginalised. It practically disappeared during the second half of the 17th century, being replaced by the cello. In other countries it continued to play a substantial role. The present disc bears witness to that, although Wieland Kuijken concentrates on Germany and England, and ignores France. The earliest music dates from the 16th century (Ortiz), the latest from the third quarter of the 18th century (Abel). The gamba was the only string instrument for which a considerable
Read more number of solo pieces were written, without a basso continuo accompaniment. In comparison the repertoire for unaccompanied violin or cello is rather small.
 
The pieces which have been selected are not chronologically ordered. Kuijken begins with the latest works: five pieces by Carl Friedrich Abel. He was born into a musical family: his father Christian Ferdinand, a violinist and gambist, was a member of the court chapel in Cöthen when Bach was Kapellmeister. The latter may have written his three gamba sonatas for him. When Christian Friedrich died in 1737 his son moved to Leipzig and became part of the Bach household. In 1758 he moved to London, where he would soon meet Bach's youngest son Johann Christian, with whom he organized the so-called Bach-Abel concerts. There can be little doubt that he played some of his own music for the gamba during these concerts. There are suggestions that the five pieces in D minor which are recorded here were written for the painter Thomas Gainsborough, who was a friend of Abel's. If that is the case this amateur gambist must have been very skilled as they are of considerable virtuosity, with arpeggios, multiple-stopping and wide leaps. The five pieces take the form of a suite; the first has the character of a prelude of an improvisatory character, dominated by arpeggios.
 
There is no multiple-stopping in the four pieces by Diego Ortiz. These come from the second part of his Trattado de glosas (1553), a treatise on the art of ornamentation, so-called diferencias. The pieces which are included in this treatise are about breaking up a melodic line in various ways rather than the harmonic capabilities of the gamba. The Division-Violist (1659) of Christopher Simpson has largely the same goal. Simpson also includes compositions of his own to illustrate his instructions. The three preludes are so-called mixt divisions, a combination of fragmenting a melodic line over a ground-bass and dividing a ground into short sections. Also from England is Tobias Hume, probably the best-known musical maverick in English history. He was a gambist but also a soldier in various armies. The two collections of music which were printed in 1605 and 1607 respectively include dances, songs and programmatic pieces. They show that he must have been a highly-skilled player.
 
The two remaining pieces are by German composers, although Johannes Schenck spent the most part of his life in Amsterdam. Here he soon established himself as an important member of the cultural élite. It seems that their financial support gave him the opportunity to publish a remarkable number of collections of music. He was by far the most widely published Dutch composer of the 17th century. His printed oeuvre includes five collections of music for viola da gamba. Some of his sonatas are for gamba and bc, some for gamba solo; in others the basso continuo can be added ad libitum. The six sonatas which were printed as his op. 9 in 1704, under the title L'Echo du Danube, show the influence of the Italian violin sonata. At the time of composition he worked in Düsseldorf, at the court of the Elector Palatine Johann Wilhelm II. The latter had great admiration for Corelli, who dedicated his concerti grossi to him. It is likely that here Schenck became acquainted with the Italian sonata style. The Sonata VI begins with a sequence of adagio-allegro-adagio, which is followed by presto and adagio, four 'arias' of contrasting character, and closes with a swinging giga.
 
Lastly Telemann: he wrote for virtually every instrument which was common in his time. A number of his compositions include parts for the gamba, and he even composed an overture for gamba, strings and bc. The Sonata in D was printed in his Der getreue Music-Meister, a series of periodicals with music which was published in 1728-29. It is a specimen of the mixed style which Telemann preferred. The structure is modelled after the Italian sonata da chiesa. The third movement is remarkable; it has the form of a recitative and aria.
 
Regis reissues recordings which were released earlier on other labels. The 'booklet' - if that is the proper name for a sheet of just four pages - includes programme-notes which are to the point, but omits any further information about the time or place where the recording was made, let alone the identity of the instrument which Wieland Kuijken plays. I searched the internet and learned that the original recording dates from 1993 and was released by the Japanese label Denon. I don't know how widely available it was at the time. It has never crossed my path, though, and this is the first time that I have heard it. I am glad that it is available again as we have here some masterful performances of one of the pioneers of the viola da gamba. Kuijken's playing is technically brilliant, and his interpretation explores the character of the various pieces to the full. In particular the pieces by Abel and Schenck will probably be new to many music-lovers. They belong among the best which have been written for the instrument, and Kuijken delivers a convincing and eloquent performance. In Telemann's sonata he shows how a recitative should be sung.
 
In short, this is a disc no lover of the gamba would want to miss.
 
-- Johan van Veen, MusicWeb International
Read less

Works on This Recording

1.
Pieces (27) for Viola da Gamba: no 20 in D minor, WKO 205 by Karl Friedrich Abel
Period: Classical 
Written: circa 1770; London, England 
Length: 2 Minutes 3 Secs. 
2.
Pieces (27) for Viola da Gamba: no 21 in D minor, WKO 206 by Karl Friedrich Abel
Period: Classical 
Written: circa 1770; London, England 
Length: 3 Minutes 49 Secs. 
3.
Pieces (27) for Viola da Gamba: no 22 in D minor, WKO 207 by Karl Friedrich Abel
Period: Classical 
Written: circa 1770; London, England 
Length: 5 Minutes 29 Secs. 
4.
Pieces (27) for Viola da Gamba: no 24 in D minor, WKO 209 by Karl Friedrich Abel
Period: Classical 
Written: circa 1770; London, England 
Length: 3 Minutes 47 Secs. 
5.
[Moderato] for solo viola da gamba, WKO 208 by Karl Friedrich Abel
Period: Classical 
Written: circa 1770 
Length: 6 Minutes 20 Secs. 
6.
Trattado de glosas: Recercada primera by Diego Ortiz
Performer:  Wieland Kuijken ()
Period: Renaissance 
Written: by 1553 
Length: 1 Minutes 31 Secs. 
7.
Recercada no 2 by Diego Ortiz
Performer:  Wieland Kuijken ()
Period: Renaissance 
Written: 16th Century; Spain 
Length: 1 Minutes 22 Secs. 
8.
Trattado de glosas: Recercada tercera by Diego Ortiz
Performer:  Wieland Kuijken ()
Period: Renaissance 
Length: 1 Minutes 21 Secs. 
9.
Sonatas (6) for Viola da Gamba and Basso Continuo, Op. 9 "L'Echo du Danube": no 6 in A minor by Johannes Schenck
Performer:  Wieland Kuijken ()
Period: Baroque 
Written: by 1704; Düsseldorf, Germany 
Length: 8 Minutes 14 Secs. 
10.
The Division Viol: Prelude in D major by Christopher Simpson
Performer:  Wieland Kuijken ()
Period: Baroque 
Written: 1659; England 
Length: 1 Minutes 24 Secs. 
11.
The Division Viol: Prelude in E minor by Christopher Simpson
Performer:  Wieland Kuijken ()
Period: Baroque 
Written: 1659; England 
Length: 1 Minutes 46 Secs. 
12.
The Division Viol: Prelude in B flat major by Christopher Simpson
Performer:  Wieland Kuijken ()
Period: Baroque 
Written: 1659; England 
Length: 1 Minutes 44 Secs. 
13.
The first part of ayres: My mistresse hath a pritty thing by Tobias Hume
Performer:  Wieland Kuijken ()
Period: Renaissance 
Written: by 1605; England 
Length: 4 Minutes 24 Secs. 
14.
The first part of ayres: no 38, Touch me lightly by Tobias Hume
Performer:  Wieland Kuijken ()
Period: Renaissance 
Written: by 1605; England 
Length: 2 Minutes 34 Secs. 
15.
Recercada no 4 by Diego Ortiz
Performer:  Wieland Kuijken ()
Period: Renaissance 
Length: 1 Minutes 23 Secs. 
16.
Sonata for Viola da Gamba and Basso Continuo in D major, TV 41 no Anh. D 1 [doubtful] by Georg Philipp Telemann
Performer:  Wieland Kuijken ()
Period: Baroque 
Written: by 1768 
Length: 3 Minutes 7 Secs. 

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