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CD Review

Carl Friedrich Abel

Mr. Abel's Fine Airs

  • 24 pieces for solo viola da gamba
Susanne Heinrich, viola da gamba
Hyperion CDA67628 78m DDD
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Carl Friedrich Abel was the son and grandson of gamba players, so it is no surprise at all that he was both an accomplished player, and composer for the instrument. His surviving music for this very special sound vehicle is quite numerous including some 50 sonatas for viola da gamba and bass, mostly composed as teaching material and written chiefly in the "galant" style.

The pieces on this disc belong to another style which include frequent stops and the notes range along the whole six strings of the instrument, much more technical and difficult to play. Susanne Heinrich plays brilliantly re creating the ornamentation so typical of the Italian style which was Abel's particular penchant. As usual with Hyperion you get ample notes on the music as well as some lovely presentation with a beautiful front cover painting. Chamber music and lovers of this rather overlooked instrument should not hesitate to add this disc to their collections.

Copyright © 2008, Gerald Fenech