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Rediscovered as recently as 2015 in a collection in Osnabruck, north-west Germany, this substantial collection now stands alongside the 36 fantasias for harpsichord and the (relatively well known) 12 for flute. Smith writes about the privilege of coming to these works as a ‘clean slate’ without the vast interpretative history of, say, the Bach cello suites. This freshness and excitement are tangible on the current disc, well-filled and beautifully recorded, such that at no point does the ear tire of a solitary viola da gamba. Even if they were never meant to be performed as an extended sequence (they were published in pairs, cleverly encouraging players to collect the set), this release is a considerable achievement.

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