If you have already in your collection half a dozen of the two score recordings
of the Bach cello suites in the current catalogue, you would not need to
add this one, which is normally played in C minor and on the cello, necessitating
scordatura notation and retuning of the top string. Hille Perl explains that
in D minor she has restored a natural tuning for the gamba. I think these
minutiae are better left to the specialist Early Music journals!
The considerable interest of Hille Perl's CD for the ordinary listener will
be in the trio, and in the sonata freely arranged as a small instrumental
concerto. Silvius Leopold Weiss was a famous lutenist, and his suite was
transcribed and expanded by Bach. Hille Perl writes how its final allegro
is "close to hell for the lutenist, kind of relaxing for the gambist" and
overall "with a musical feeling more like heaven after all"!
Together, the three works make for a delightful hour's listening. It is all
just a little unfamiliar, with unusual instrumental combinations, which hold
the interest. Hille Perl is devoted to the gamba, which she has played all
her life, and in her detailed discussion of the background to this venture
she explains how it was a common practise in Bach's time for gamba and lute
players to adapt all kinds of compositions to their repertoire.
The recording is good and the playing throughout affectionate and involving.
The notes combine musicological commentary with a very personal account of
the pieces as they feel to Hillel Perl, and the genesis of her selection
and arrangements to create a unique programme, designed to demonstrate three
totally different facets of an "ingenious composer".
Peter Grahame Woolf