MusicWeb International One of the most grown-up review sites around

 57,903 reviews
   and more ... and still writing ...

Search MusicWeb Here
Acte Prealable Polish CDs

Presto Music CD retailer
Founder: Len Mullenger                                    Editor in Chief:John Quinn             

Some items
to consider


paid for

Acte Prealable Polish recordings

Forgotten Recordings
Forgotten Recordings
All Forgotten Records Reviews

Troubadisc Weinberg- TROCD01450

100th birthday of Mieczyslaw Weinberg on December 8, 2019.
Renate Eggbrecht has recorded all 3 violin Sonatas
All Troubadisc reviews

FOGHORN Classics

Brahms String Quartets

All Foghorn Reviews

All HDTT reviews

Clarissa Bevilacqua plays
Augusta Read Thomas

all Nimbus reviews

Brahms Dvorak
Brahms 2 Dvorak 7
all tudor reviews



Follow us on Twitter

Subscribe to our free weekly review listing

Sample: See what you will get

Editorial Board
MusicWeb International
Founding Editor
Rob Barnett
Editor in Chief
John Quinn
Contributing Editor
Ralph Moore
   David Barker
Jonathan Woolf
MusicWeb Founder
   Len Mullenger


Discs for review may be sent to:
Jonathan Woolf
76 Lushes Road
Essex IG10 3QB
United Kingdom


Plain text for smartphones & printers

Advertising on

Donate and keep us afloat


New Releases

Naxos Classical
All Naxos reviews

Chandos recordings
All Chandos reviews

Hyperion recordings
All Hyperion reviews

Foghorn recordings
All Foghorn reviews

Troubadisc recordings
All Troubadisc reviews

all cpo reviews

Divine Art recordings
Click to see New Releases
Get 10% off using code musicweb10
All Divine Art reviews

All APR reviews

Lyrita recordings
All Lyrita Reviews


Wyastone New Releases
Obtain 10% discount

Recordings of the Month

November 2022
Bach Orchestral Suites

del Cinque
Del Cinque Cello sonatas

Fujita Mozart
Mao Fujita Mozart

Stanczyk Acousmatic Music


October 2022

Berg Violin Concerto
Violin Concerto Elmes

DEbussy Jeux
Debussy Jeux

Romantic pioano masters
Romantic Piano Masters

The future is female - Vol 2
Volume 2 - The Dance

impromptu harp music
Complete Harp Impromptus


Support us financially by purchasing this disc from

Support us financially by purchasing this disc from

Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1750)
Cello Suite No. 1 in G, BWV 1007 [19:43]
Cello Suite No. 2 in D minor, BWV 1008 [21:06]
Cello Suite No. 3 in C, BWV 1009 [24:50]
All suites arranged for theorbo by Hopkinson Smith
Hopkinson Smith (German theorbo)
rec. October 2012, MC2, Grenoble, France
NAÏVE E 8937 [65:39]
Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1750)
Cello Suite No. 1 in G, BWV 1007 [16:02]
Cello Suite No. 3 in C, BWV 1009 [19:07]
Cello Suite No. 5 in C minor, BWV 1011 [23:39]
All suites arranged for viola - unidentified
Antoine Tamestit (viola)
rec. May and September 2012, Deutschlandfunk Kammermusiksaal, Cologne
NAÏVE V 5300 [58:48]

Naïve has just simultaneously released two new projects of Bach cello suites arranged for other instruments: a many-course lute called the German theorbo, transcribed by performer Hopkinson Smith, and the viola, transcribed by party or parties unknown and played by Antoine Tamestit.
Tamestit’s viola CD is an absolute treat. He plays with a lightness and tautness that keep the quick dances bouncing, the slower movements singing, and the baroque spirit very much alive. His Stradivarius and baroque bow produce gorgeous tones, dark but sweet, and Tamestit himself is one of our finest violists and I loved his Berlioz album. It’s informative to compare his timings in the suites to Hopkinson Smith: No. 1 is four minutes faster; No. 3 is six, a joyful, exuberant performance that nevertheless doesn’t shortchange the sarabande. I do wish the booklet told us who had made the transcriptions; Maxim Rysanov, another superb violist, plays versions by Simon Rowland-Jones. Rysanov also plays with modern bow and strings and a fuller, richer, more “romantic” sound versus Tamestit’s sprightly times and fresh phrases. I wouldn’t be without either one.
Hopkinson Smith’s playing on theorbo is more patricianly, more sedate. This is in part because of the instrument, which affords more room for chords and allows the performer more time to linger between notes. It’s also because of Smith’s temperament, I think, one which sees this music as regal and timeless rather than spontaneous and in-the-moment. Quoth the performer in his booklet notes, “The tempos may occasionally be somewhat of a surprise to listeners….with the resonance and fuller harmonies of the German theorbo,” there is “no need to rush through. The silence beyond the music is [a] constant friend.”
The difference is most noticeable in the Third Suite, where Smith focuses deeply on the music’s poetry and Tamestit simply sounds very happy to be alive. Personally, I prefer Tamestit’s vision of the music, which is more clearly influenced by the period-instrument movement of recent years with its fleet tempos and liveliness. But that’s a matter of taste; they’re playing very different instruments, literally speaking playing different music even, and Smith has great dignity and poise. Dignity is an especially good word for his noble but restrained way with the emotion of the Second Suite.
It’s a mystery to me why Naïve’s production is so different between the two CDs. Tamestit’s album gets a full-color booklet with lavish design work and indeed the track-listing alone goes on for six (!) pages. Hopkinson Smith has to slum it in black and white, though he writes his own excellent essay about the music and the decision to label this instrument, advocated by Silvius Weiss for his sonatas, a “German theorbo”.
Both volumes will appeal strongly for Bach enthusiasts and I have enjoyed them both considerably. Smith’s second volume is already released, although I’ll confess to being more eager for Tamestit’s. His way with Bach suits me very well indeed.  

Brian Reinhart 

Masterwork Index: Bach cello suites