|Review by Jan Hanford:|
Glossa is one of my favorite record labels, releasing extraordinary performances of the highest quality. I have a weakness for the viola da gamba; I just love the sound of it. This recording is the best of all worlds: Bach's well-loved cello suites exquisitely performed on viola da gamba.
But they're not just a performed on viola da gamba, this is a transcription, with a few added elements and ornamentation than is typical of cello performances I've heard. Paolo Pandolfo has adapted the cello suites to make use of the particular style of the viola da gamba which both resembles and is radically different from the cello. Some suites are transposed, in others he uses alternate tuning (scordatura).
He does take extreme liberty with the score but the results are musical and enjoyable. His tempos are lively but remain intelligent. His phrasing is different from what one might be used to, because the fretted viola da gamba is so different than the cello, but the sound is very similar and the results are lovely. I do not consider this a new performance of the cello suites but, rather, a re-interpretation.