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martha & monica

J. S. Bach Sonata in D major for viola da gamba and harpsichord, BWV 1028Alfred Schnittke Sonata for ‘cello and pianoLudwig van Beethoven Sonata in D major, Op. 102, No. 2 for piano and ‘celloThe fascinating colors of our two instruments and rich contrapuntal textures of the music are beautifully displayed in these three seminal pieces. Both Beethoven and Schnittke were greatly influenced by Bach–Beethoven especially, as he continued Bach’s idea of exploring the piano and ‘cello as equal partners. The Gamba sonatas are especially intriguing in that the keyboard writing is not in the traditional obbligato style of its time, but rather in a true three-part texture: each hand of the pianist plus the gamba. (It’s hard to imagine that this beautiful instrument was going out of fashion at the time Bach composed these deeply emotional and beautiful works; thank goodness the piece sounds equally beautiful on the modern ‘cello!) Alfred Schnittke admired Bach’s music deeply. In this sonata he explores the rich, chordal possibilities of the ‘cello, while also employing many of the baroque techniques of imitation, canon and counterpoint; the work as a whole is almost liturgical in its sense of striving for something beyond the music.