Sonatas for Viola da gamba and Harpsichord

Johanna Rose & Javier Núñez Duo

Karl Friedrich Abel (1723-1787):Drexel manuscript for viola da gambaArpeggioAdagioAllegroCarl Philipp Emanuel Bach (1714-1788):Sonata for viola da gamba and b.c. in D major, Wq 137Adagio ma non tantoAllegro di moltoAriosoWilhelm Friedemann Bach (1710-1784):Pieces for HarpsichordPolonesa en Mi menor, F 12/8Fantasia en La menor, F 20Andreas Lidl (1740-1789):Six Sonatas for Viola da GambaAndante en Re menorCarl Philipp Emanuel Bach (1714-1788):Sonata for viola da gamba and Harpsichord in G minor, Wq 88Allegro moderatoLarghettoAllegro assai Johanna Rose Viola da gambaJavier Núñez Harpichord

The viola da gamba - one of the most refined and complete instruments that history has ever known - was born in Valencia in the late fifteenth century and passed through glorious times successively in Italy, England and France, until it experienced its particular swan song, almost three centuries after its birth, in the Germany of Johann Sebastian Bach, and always in close relationship with his family.

Johann Sebastian wrote three beautiful sonatas for viola da gamba and Harpsichord which he dedicated to Christian Ferdinand Abel, brilliant musician of the court of Köthen who was working under the direct direction of the master.Soon after, Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach, his most celebrated son, transferred to the court of Frederick the Great in Berlin the taste for the instrument, assigning several works in a clearly gallant style, such as the Sonatas in D major and g minor. Bach’s sonatas provided the court gambist with ample opportunities to display both virtuosity and sensitivity. The viola da gamba was going out of fashion when the forward-looking C.P.E. Bach composed these works, however, they represent some of the finest and most expressive music in the instrument’s repertoire.Wilhelm Friedemann Bach is mostly famous for his piano works and we can clearly notice the father’s contrapuntal heritage in these. Here it is mixed with a more modern language; loaded with dramatic expression and sensitivity at the same time. With his astonishing facility to compose melodies, he created a singular language that acquired fame in the beginnings of the romantic period.As it was usual at the time, other sons of Bach and Abel also inherited the office of their parents, and fortune united in London two of them, Johann Christian Bach and Karl Friedrich Abel, who founded a famous concert society there. Karl Friedrich Abel was known as an excellent improviser and the solos for viola da gamba by Abel were so well received and recognized, that his students, knowing them by ear noted them down; thanks to their patient work we can enjoy today the wonderful Drexel Manuscript, and we can go back in time and listen to the improvisations of an eighteenth-century musician, in fact the last genius of the viola da gamba. Overcome by alcohol, and conscious that other instruments would soon replace the viola da gamba, Abel asked to be buried next to his viola.