- 8 April, 2008
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For the next few weeks, I’ve invited some Naxos artists to contribute to our blog on Sequenza21.
Cellist Dmitry Kouzov has performed throughout the United States, Europe and Russia with orchestras, in solo and duo recitals, and in chamber music performances. He also is the youngest member of the cello faculty at The Juilliard School. Naxos recently released his first recording, which was devoted to gamba sonatas of C.P.E. Bach.
A few days ago I was pleased to see my recording of C.P.E. Bach gamba sonatas released on Naxos (8.570740). This, I think, is one of the first recordings of these wonderful masterpieces on a cello. Since this wonderful music is generally unknown, I thought I would say a few introductory words about it.
It is very likely that these three sonatas were written for one of the most prominent virtuoso gambists of his time, Ludwig Christian Hesse (1716-1772), during the time when Carl Philipp was serving at the court of Frederick the Great in Berlin. These works are excellent representations of the composer’s style, which was considered somewhat revolutionary for his time. It is particularly interesting for me that these sonatas—which already showed important features of the classical sonata form (which C.P.E. really helped to develop)— are written for gamba, which was slowly falling into disuse as a concert instrument. The matter of choosing a somehow “old-fashioned” instrument for a rather progressive composing style likely had occurred because of a certain conservatism in musical tastes at the court of Frederick the Great. Prussia was a place where the genre of gamba and keyboard sonata remained alive longer than anywhere else.
I think that these sonatas sound as good on a cello as on a gamba (that’s one of the reasons why I wanted to play and record them), but what is most important for me is that these beautiful, expressive, and inventive works should find a place in cellists’ regular concert repertoire.
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A rarely-performed work by the late Mstislav Rostopovich.