Thursday, 16 June 2016
Hammer - Sonatas for Viola da Gamba - Eckert/Hamburger Ratsmusik
A very good disc
Franz Xavier Hammer was born in 1741 and died in 1817, so the claim that he was the last gambist may well be true (neglecting the modern revival, of course). He was a new composer to me and I was a little sceptical about what to expect, but I was pleasantly surprised - this is very enjoyable music. It is somewhat akin to that of Abel (two of whose brief solo pieces appear on the disc); perhaps not quite as musically inventive, but very rewarding nonetheless.
The musicianship is excellent. Simone Eckert is a fine gambist and she and Hamburger Ratsmusik play beautifully together so that these sonatas have real depth and intimacy. The recorded sound is very good, bringing out the full resonance of both the viola da gamba and the continuo instruments, making the disc a pleasure to listen to.
If you have any interest in the viola da gamba or 17th Century chamber music in general, I can recommend this very warmly.