On the new album 3+1 Viola da Gamba Sonatas from Eudora, Alejandro Marías (viola da gamba) and Jordan Fumadó (harpsichord) immerse themselves in Bach’s three Sonatas for Viola da Gamba and Harpsichord, in a sumptuous sounding performance of Bach’s masterpieces.
Both artists deliver superb ensemble playing and refined and intense performances in this album, which also includes a reading of Bach’s Sonata BWV1030 from Johann Friedrich Hering’s manuscript.
The Basse de viole “Lukos” after Michel Colichon by Charles Riché (1997). The Harpsichord is after Michael Mietke (Berlin, 1702-1704) by Bruce Kennedy (Castelmuzio, 2009).
This Pure DSD 256 recording is available at NativeDSD in its Stereo and 5 Channel Surround Sound Pure DSD 256 recorded format and bit rate as well as in Stereo and 5 Channel Surround Sound DSD 128 and DSD 64 plus Stereo DSD 512. The DSD 128, DSD 256 and DSD 512 editions of the album are available exclusively at NativeDSD.
Alejandro Marías – Viola da Gamba
Jordan Fumadó – Harpsichord
TracklistPlease note that the below previews are loaded as 44.1 kHz / 16 bit.
Total time: 01:01:19
|Analog to Digital Converter|
Horus, Merging Technologies at DSD 256
Basse de viole “Lukos” after Michel Colichon by Charles Riché (1997)
Harpsichord after Michael Mietke (Berlin, 1702-1704) by Bruce Kennedy (Castelmuzio, 2009)
Dutch & Dutch 8c
Tom Caulfield & Gonzalo Noqué
Horus, Merging Technologies
Sonodore LDM-54, Neumann U89, Pearl CC22 & Schoeps
|Original Recording Format|
Auditorio de San Francisco in Ávila, Spain on August 23-26, 2021
|Release Date||February 24, 2023|
This is a lovely recital of some of Bach’s most ingratiating music. Excellently performed in a very satisfyingly understated manner. Nothing flashy, nothing excessive, just expertly performed with an ease and relaxed enjoyment of the music by the performers that I find delightful.
Often these works are performed on modern instruments: cello and piano. Here, they are performed on the period instruments for which these works were originally composed. As a result of the period instruments (and historically informed performance practice), the timbre is dramatically, drastically, different than with modern instruments. The sound quality is more subdued, rounder, richer in texture and reverberation. It requires of the listener a more relaxed and receptive hearing…
And, the timbre of the plucked strings of the harpsichord and the timbre of the bowed gut strings of the viola da gamba complement each other perfectly—they are completely synergistic.
Have I said that I get excited about period instrument performance? Well, this recording is an example of why.
To top it off, the sound quality is as transparent, open and resolved as one might possibly wish to hear. There is no percussion, no brass, no tinkly bright things or deep things that go boom to grab you attention. For many this will not be an audio spectacular. But it is. Just in a different way. The recording’s spectacular excellence lies in it’s superbly captured timbre, balance between performers, balance of direct and reflected sound, and extremely low noise. It is truly a recording that sounds like real instruments being performed in a real space. Highly recommended.
The Spanish label Eudora, managed by Gonzalo Noqué, focuses on compatriots who really have something to say in the classical domain. Not only covering the Spanish repertoire – as this Bach album also testifies. Moreover, Noqué is a recording engineer of stature who only uses state-of-the-art equipment (although that is only a guarantee in the hands of pure professionals).
Just for fun, here’s the full list of the equipment used for this recording: Microphones from Sonodore LDM-54, Neumann U89, Pearl CC22 and Schoeps, the Horus Microphone Preamplifier and Analog to Digital Converter from Merging Technologies, the Pyramix (digital) mixing desk (‘workstation’) from Merging Technologies, Headphones from Sennheiser and Monitor Loudspeakers from Rotterdam-based Dutch & Dutch. Noqué also assumes the role of Photographer, as the photos he took in the album booklet demonstrate.
It is now self-evident that this repertoire has almost entirely come into the hands of musicians who have become proficient in historicizing performance practice and that they play instruments (usually replicas) that also fit in with it.
Interesting is the tuning used: ‘Bach/Fumadó’, the properties of which are explained by Jordan Fumadó himself in the booklet. In short, it comes down to the fact that Fumadó has completely distanced himself from all previous studies in this field and has taken only Bach’s autograph of the WTK as a starting point, in addition to what was customary in eighteenth-century Germany.
According to Fumadó, his choice ensures an optimal result with regard to all 24 keys, with all the resulting advantages, both coloration and contrast, and as it corresponds to what the well-known music theorist Johann Mattheson formulated in his Exemplarische Organisten-Probe from 1719 . But also son C.Ph.E. When it comes to the music-theoretical aspects, Bach is not presented without reason.
While listening, the differences are indeed considerable, which entails a certain degree of habituation for the person with perfect pitch. If it is already experienced as a problem or obstacle, because after a short listening the difference is sufficiently bridged.
That with this performance and recording of the four sonatas we have a true jewel in our house. That may be the most important conclusion as far as I’m concerned – is beyond doubt. These are historically informed interpretations that do not get stuck in theoretically formed aridity, but in which musicianship sparkle and poetry predominate. As it should always be.
A lovely recital of some of Bach’s most ingratiating music.
NativeDSD Senior Reviewer
This one will make a Bach believer out of almost anyone. Wonderful!
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