This CD is reissued by ArkivMusic.
Notes and Editorial Reviews
Although there's nothing musically extraordinary here, these works for solo viola da gamba are well-crafted examples of the multi-national coalition of styles that characterized late-Baroque German instrumental music. And because we hear the lines and harmonies sung only by the expressive voice of a single gamba, it's easy to follow each composer's proclivities toward particular gestures and basic structures and to separate the three regarding their different levels of affinity for the instrument. Abel's extensive technical demands and use of the gamba's full range (one of his Preludes is reminiscent of a similar movement in Bach's solo cello suites) shows the confidence and abandon of one who in fact was a virtuoso player; but for its lack
of text, Telemann's Sonata in D major could equally serve as a short cantata, complete with a recitative and aria in the middle; and Schenk throws everything into his two sonatas (selections from L'Echo du Danube Op. 9), from French gavottes to Italian gigues to German adagios.
Sergei Istomin is a fine if fairly conservative interpreter who spares ornamentation and opts for a tone that varies from a light scraping in some arpeggiated passages to a more full bodied quality that nevertheless leaves us feeling as if we're only hearing a portion of the expressive tonal range of Istomin's 1996 Belgian instrument. While it may be an intentional stylistic effect, Istomin has a tendency to drop or diminish certain notes in some of the faster runs and arpeggios; although our ear fills them in, I'd prefer more sharply defined articulation in these places. The sound puts us at a comfortable distance from the soloist, allowing for adequate detail yet providing sufficient space for the gamba to nicely resonate. [6/29/2004]
--David Vernier, ClassicsToday.com
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