Bach, J.S./Handel/Scarlatti: G CD, Import
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The combination of cello and harpsichord works extremely well. In his typically thoughtful, scholarly and readable notes, Steven Isserlis comments on the unusual problem of balance between the two instruments with the cello being the louder instrument here instead of having to "make its presence felt with some difficulty over the rich sound of a modern piano." For me, they get it just right nearly the whole time, with everything sounding as though it were written for just these two instruments. I suspect that Bach, himself an incessant arranger and transcriber, would have approved.
Egarr and Isserlis bring real feeling and life to these works. I have sometimes felt that Bach's gamba sonatas have been just a bit of a struggle to get through, even in recordings by great artists like Jordi Savall or Paolo Pandolfo. I find this hard to explain, but it's true. Here, however, the richness of the music and wide range of moods seem to shine throughout, and interspersing the Handel and Scarlatti sonatas is a brilliant idea. It makes a programme which works exceptionally well and maintains interest from beginning to end of the disc.
Even if you are dubious about the idea of the cello/harpsichord combination in these works, I would recommend giving this disc a try. I think it works extremely well and the sound is beautifully captured by Hyperion so the whole thing is an immense pleasure to listen to. This is great music, superbly played by great musicians and I can recommend it extremely warmly.