Give Now

Sonatas for Viola da Gamba

It has never been easy for cellist to adapt the Bach sonatas for viola da gamba to their instrument; not that they haven’t tried.

It has never been easy for cellists to adapt the Bach sonatas for viola da gamba to their instrument; not that they haven’t tried. Since Bach wrote no works for cello and accompaniment, these three sonatas are the closest they have! With four strings instead of the gamba’s six, the cello poses many difficulties in the transcription, but cellist Audrey Cienniwa has attempted to bridge the performance gap by placing the sonatas on the cello’s little sibling, the five stringed piccolo cello.

Of the many compositions Johann Sebastian Bach wrote for his students at the University of Leipzig there exist only these three sonatas for viola da gamba and harpsichord. The style of writing Bach used makes use of the unique relationship of the gamba and harpsichord by creating a trio sonata writing, of sorts, putting two voices and an independent bass line in the hands of the gambist and the second melody and bass line on the harpsichord. Audrey and Paul Cienniwa present these sonatas on this release from Whaling City Sound.

Our quick pick this week is the latest in the American Classics series from Naxos. The music of Michael Daugherty is highlighted by the Neeme Järvi and the Detroit Symphony who are joined by violinist Ida Kavafian. Stunning performances are given of Daugherty’s Raise the Roof, MotorCity Triptych, and Fire and Blood.

Music Heard On This Episode

Johann Sebastian Bach (1685-1750): Sonata III, g minor, BWV 129: Vivace
Audrey Cienniwa, piccolo cello; Paul Cienniwa, harpsichord — Sonatas for Viola Da Gamba (whaling city sound, 2009)
Buy from Amazon »
album cover
Johann Sebastian Bach (1685-1750): Sonata III, g minor, BWV 129: Vivace
Audrey Cienniwa, piccolo cello; Paul Cienniwa, harpsichord — Sonatas for Viola Da Gamba (whaling city sound, 2009)
Buy from Amazon »
album cover
Johann Sebastian Bach (1685-1750): Sonata II, D Major, BWV 1028: Adagio
Audrey Cienniwa, piccolo cello; Paul Cienniwa, harpsichord — Sonatas for Viola Da Gamba (whaling city sound, 2009)
Buy from Amazon »
album cover
Johann Sebastian Bach (1685-1750): Sonata I, G Major, BWV 1027: Allegro moderato
Audrey Cienniwa, piccolo cello; Paul Cienniwa, harpsichord — Sonatas for Viola Da Gamba (whaling city sound, 2009)
Buy from Amazon »
album cover
Michael Daugherty (b. 1954): Fire and Blood: Assembly Line
Ida Kavafian, violin; Neeme Järvi/Detroit Symphony Orchestra — Daugherty: Fire & Blood - Motorcity Triptych; Raise the Roof (Naxos, 2009)
Buy from Amazon »
album cover
Michael Daugherty (b. 1954): Raise the Roof
Brian Jones, timpani; Neeme Järvi/Detroit Symphony Orchestra — Daugherty: Fire & Blood - Motorcity Triptych; Raise the Roof (Naxos, 2009)
Buy from Amazon »
album cover
David Wood

Originally from Leavenworth, Kansas, David Wood moved to Bloomington in 2005. He received his Bachelor of Music from Kansas State University, and his Master of Music from the University of North Texas. He studied ensemble direction at the Jacobs School of Music's Early Music Institute and joined WFIU in 2006 as an announcer. In 2008 he became WFIU's Music Director and also served as Art Bureau Chief from 2008-2013. David’s interests include Irish music and language (particularly traditional singing), music and religion, running, the outdoors, and, of course, classical music!

View all posts by this author »

What is RSS? RSS makes it possible to subscribe to a website's updates instead of visiting it by delivering new posts to your RSS reader automatically. Choose to receive some or all of the updates from Indiana Public Media Arts & Music:

Support For Indiana Public Media Comes From

Search Arts and Music

Stay Connected

RSS e-mail itunes Facebook Twitter Flickr YouTube

What is RSS? RSS makes it possible to subscribe to a website's updates instead of visiting it by delivering new posts to your RSS reader automatically. Choose to receive some or all of the updates from Indiana Public Media Arts & Music:

Recent Classical Music Stories

Classical Music Events RSS icon

More Events »Submit Your Event »

Arts & Music is on Twitter

Find Us on Facebook

This Week on Harmonia Early Music

Spotlight On The New York Pro Musica Antiqua, Part 3

dafne and apollo

Wendy Gillespie brings us part 3 of a tribute to the NYPMA. Plus, we'll explore music with words by famous poets and feature a Capella de Ministrers' CD.

Read more »

Harmonia Early Music is a nationally syndicated weekly early music radio program, podcast and blog produced by WFIU Public Radio.

More from Harmonia »