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Bach: Alio Modo - Passacaglia & Other Keyboard Works Transcribed for Viols

4.7 out of 5 stars 3 customer reviews

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Audio CD, November 8, 2005
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Product Details

  • Performer: Fretwork
  • Composer: Johann Sebastian Bach
  • Audio CD (November 8, 2005)
  • SPARS Code: DDD
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Harmonia Mundi Fr.
  • ASIN: B000AMQ00C
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #322,090 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Format: Audio CD
Bach did seem to have a soft spot for gambas, including them in numerous cantatas and chamber works. The reason is that gambas were considered to be instruments of the nobility long after they had faded from common use. The violin family was still gaining a positive reputation during this time and considered common. Violas da gamba connotated dignity and majesty to Bach and therefore seem very appropriate to me to use in these mostly solemn pieces.

Wether Bach would approve or not doesn't really matter, but I think every composer is happy to have his work performed in a positive light. As long as he got paid, I think he would have approved.

I bought the album because I love the sonorities and clarity of the contrapuntal lines. The performance is excellent, as well. The first arrangment, the Pièce d'Orgue in G major, BWV 572 à 6, impressed me so much I made my own arrangement for recorders.
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Format: Audio CD
This is another gem from Fretwork. They have been producing superb recordings for almost 30 years now, and this is among their best, I think.

The music presented here is a programme of transcriptions of some of Bach's keyboard works, some for organ and some for harpsichord. The transcriptions for between three and five viols were made by the brilliant Richard Boothby and work extremely well. Bach himself was an inveterate recycler and transcriber, so this is very much in the composers own idiom, even if a consort of viols isn't something Bach himself would have composed for. The organ pieces especially have a lovely coherent feel here, but it's all terrific stuff and is a very welcome airing for some music which might not otherwise be widely heard.

The playing is, as always, brilliant. Fretwork are simply a world-class ensemble with superb technique, a magnificent sound and a sense of the music and of each other which is a joy. They bring real meaning to every piece in this quite varied programme - it is chamber playing of the highest order.

The only Fretwork disc I have ever been less than keen on was their transcription of The Goldberg Variations, which just didn't quite seem to lend themselves to transcription for viol consort. These Bach pieces, however, lend themselves to it very well and they have been quite superbly transcribed, played and recorded here. The notes are good and the presentation attractive, and this is a really excellent disc all round which I can recommend very warmly indeed.
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Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
If you like the complexities of melody and rythm, this recording of Bach using only viols will take you away. Beautifully recorded too. You can hear everything.
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