Schenck: The Nymphs Of The Rhine Vol 1 / Les Voix Humaines

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What's a critic supposed to do? The last thing you want is to go around just handing out top ratings, but what choice do you have when you hear a disc such as this one? On the surface it's got very little going for it--obscure repertoire, esoteric instruments, and it's chamber music to boot! And for the whole disc, all you hear is two solo bass violas da gamba--no orchestra, no keyboard, no exotic winds or percussion. But I'm willing to bet that if you hear this, if you have even the remotest appreciation for beautiful melody, for the richly-colored, reedy sonority of ideally matched stringed instruments, and a fascination with the essence of chamber music--a real dialogue between players--you will be pleased and happily surprised. It's not Bach or Marais, and it's not masterpiece-caliber music, but these six sonatas by 17th-century Dutch-born composer Johannes Schenck (1660-c. 1712) show an unusually accomplished facility for dramatic, interactive part-writing as well as a thorough command of the gamba's technical limits and possibilities. Schenck was a virtuoso player himself (he was one of the many stars at the Düsseldorf court from about 1696 until his death), and the two performers on this recording, members of the Quebec-based Les Voix Humaines, not only grasp the music's considerable technical demands, but fully embrace its more or less free-flowing style, weaving and tossing and shaping their lines, playing with and against each other in a spirited, sometimes improvisatory-like conversation. Le Nymphe di Rheno (The Nymphs of the Rhine) is the title of Schenck's Op. 8 collection of 12 sonatas of which half are presented on this Volume 1. I'm actually looking forward to more of this music from these very fine musicians on Volume 2. And the full-bodied sound makes the whole thing just about perfect. --David Vernier, ClassicsToday.com


Product Description:


  • Catalog Number: 8554414


  • UPC: 636943441428


  • Label: Naxos


  • Composer: Johannes Schenck


  • Orchestra/Ensemble: Les Voix Humaines


  • Performer: Margaret Little, Susie Napper