|Review by Jan Hanford|
The Sonatas for Viola Da Gamba and Harpsichord don't seem to receive as much attention, or are as widely recorded, as other works of Bach, i.e. the Violin Sonatas. I can't imagine why not, they are wonderful! Lively and energetic, they are the elegant epitome of Bach's music for solo instruments. The scoring of the viola da gamba as an alto voice in between the harpsichord's bass and treble registers brings out the individual melodic lines. The result highlights the counterpoint with extraordinary clarity. The melodies themselves are memorable as only Bach's melodies can be and are truly beautiful.
Laurence Dreyfus is a respected Bach scholar and has done a great deal to advance the understanding of Bach's music. Apparently he's not just a musicologist, he's a virtuoso performer: a combination I find very appealing in that he is able to put his research into practise, and we become the beneficiaries of both.
Ketil Haugsand's harpsichord performance is flawless. He doesn't just accompany the viola da gamba, he is an equal partner. You couldn't ask for a more beautiful interpretation of these sonatas. It is an exquisite recording.
This recording was made in 1985, in "Gamle Aker church in Oslo, Norway. This church is in fact the oldest church in Oslo, and is known for it's acoustic. It is a well used place for both conserts and recordings. You can sense the atmosphere from the stone-walls, in a terrific manner on this recording.