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Before, during and indeed despite the modern revival of the viol, Bach’s three sonatas for viola da gamba and keyboard have long been staples of the modern cello repertoire, so it is striking that this is the first recording of the pieces using what Tatty Theo describes as a ‘regular four-string baroque cello’. The length of the three sonatas, back-to- back, is notoriously about twenty minutes short of a full disk, and Theo and Gibley have chosen to complete the recording with one of C.P.E. Bach’s sonatas for the same combination: the ‘Trio Sonata’ Wq88, which, with its obbligato harpsichord part, forms a nice complement to the three Bach sonatas.

Theo’s 1741 Joseph Hill cello seems perfect for this music – her tone is warm and captures some of the plangency of the viola da gamba, but with a refreshing robustness. The recording balance is excellent, the harpsichord sound sparkling but not dominant. Occasionally the articulation seems heavy, with too much importance placed on the smaller notes, and the music then lacks a sense of line; one can also hear that some passages do not lie easily on the cello. Overall however, an impressive recording and some infectious music-making from two performers who clearly take great pleasure in playing together.

Caroline Ritchie Read the full review on Agora Classica

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Early Music Today, 2015 - ©Rhinegold Publishing