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Hyperion Records

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River Landscape in the Rosental near Leipzig by Karl Gustav Carus (1789-1869)
Hamburger Kunsthalle, Germany / Bridgeman Art Library, London
Track(s) taken from CDA67628
Recording details: October 2006
St Andrew's Church, Toddington, Gloucestershire, United Kingdom
Produced by Adrian Hunter
Engineered by Adrian Hunter
Release date: October 2007
Total duration: 2 minutes 32 seconds

'This delightful release … Abel was one of the last masters of the viola da gamba, and in these unaccompanied pieces he reveals an intimate art … Heinrich brings to them exactly the right blend of emotional involvement and earnest good taste, and finds pleasing resonance and smoothness in her instrument, such that even nearly 80 minutes of solo gamba never tires the ear. An unexpected and atmospheric gem—I can almost hear the firewood crackling' (Gramophone)

'Heinrich plays them rather as Abel himself might have, with a sort of quiet affection as if she were playing for a small group in a room … I wish it would go on forever. There are a number of recordings of Abel’s more public pieces, symphonies and chamber music, but I think these thoughtful viol solos do indeed capture him at his best' (American Record Guide)

'Until the release of this new recording the fascinating world of Abel's gamba music has been pretty much a closed book … Abel inclined towards simplicity and elegance, and Heinrich is always at pains to bring out the singing quality of the melodic lines … from the outset Heinrich confidently masters the multiple stopping and the wide range of the music … throughout, Heinrich succeeds triumphantly in crafting each piece individually—creating a special atmosphere for each work' (International Record Review)

'Susanne Heinrich proves herself a worthy heir to Abel's virtuosity and considerable gamba skill, and gives fluid accounts of this music' (Audiophile Audition, USA)

'What a cornucopia of expression and nuance she achieves! From the passionate Adagio (WKO209)—where she seems to inhabit Abel's sensibilities to perfection … through the tender rendering of the much loved arpeggiated prelude (WKO205), to the vivacious concluding jig, this is outstanding artistry. Could even Abel have played these works better?' (Early Music)

'Abel’s pieces are reminiscent of J S Bach’s solo cello suites, so if you like them then you’ll like these. They are far more than just dance suites though, both in terms of the frequently florid, technically demanding style (listen to the extraordinary multiple stops in the fugue), and in terms of their emotional range. Sensibility, or the practise of articulating direct and strong emotions, was all the rage in the arts world at the time, and Susanne Heinrich beautifully draws this out of Abel’s writing. Charles Burney wrote at the time that Abel’s viola da gamba seemed to breathe the notes, and I think he’d be similarly complementary of Heinrich’s playing, were he alive and critiquing today' (bbc.co.uk)

'Le naturel et la plénitude du chant demandent une paradoxale précision. Susanne Heinrich y excelle dans ce disque envoûtant et apaisé' (Diapason, France)

'Estas piezas para viola da gamba solo son un estupendo testimonio de musicalidad post Bach, en buena versión de Susanne Heinrich' (La Vanguardia, Spain)

[Arpeggio], WKO194
composer

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