In 1694 Philipp Heinrich Erlebach, kapellmeister at the court of Count Schwarzburg-Rudolstadt, published a collection of trio sonatas for a typical German ensemble of the period: violin, viola da gamba, and bass continuo. Pairing the violin with the viola da gamba seems to exemplify the fusion of Italian and French musical traditions, and this same fusion is found in the forms of these compositions, with an Italianate sonata followed by a suite of French dances a model that Johann Sebastian Bach would later recall. These sonata-suites are endowed with undeniable charm and an infectious liveliness, and François Joubert-Caillet, with his ensemble L Achéron, give us a particularly seductive interpretation of them.
Only in recent decades has the viola da gamba become a focus for systematic study in its own right, independently of the violin, its heyday having occurred during the Renaissance and Baroque periods when, over the course of time, it began to turn towards more select audiences and a greater refinement of repertoire elegance and exclusiveness became its bywords. One of its greatest propagators was undoubtedly Georg Philipp Telemann, who nourished his celebrity composer status through being extraordinarily prolific, writing for the instrument a rich, varied and distinctive repertoire, and simultaneously defying his contemporaries by choosing to include the instrument in many of the editions he published throughout his lifetime. This release honours Telemann's achievement, recording as it does the wide range of typically 18th-century musical genres that Telemann composited for the instrument: solo sonatas with and without basso continuo, duo sonatas, works for three and four solo instruments and basso continuo, and orchestral concertos. Brought to life by the deft and characterful playing of Cristiano Contadin one of today's leading viola da gambists, whose recording collaborations have earned him such prestigious awards as the Choc du Monde de la Musique and Diapason d'Or Telemann's...
This is an amazing set of grim, often bizarre music. The Trio No. 2 is a lament for the Russian Jews killed during World War II. The late Violin and Viola Sonatas sound like laments for the composer himself, in ill health and nearing the end of his life. Even the Cello Sonata, composed in slightly happier times, is far from humorous. Only the one-movement First Trio, a strange piece, has much happiness in it. If you're ready to face this difficult music, though, these performances by splendid musicians bring everything to life, and the "twofer" set is a great deal. --Leslie Gerber
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Telemann: Complete Concertos and Trio Sonatas (with viola da gamba)
Complete Trio Sonatas
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Only in recent decades has the viola da gamba become a focus for systematic study in its own right, independently of th...