Handel – Works for Viola da Gamba and Harpsichord
First Hand Records
Ibrahim Aziz, viola da gamba
Masumi Yamamoto, harpsichord
As I write this, 2nd edits from the recording are coming in I hope that by the beginning of spring the CD will be finished.
The idea to record Handel for the viola da gamba first came to me over ten years ago, as I knew then that no CD of his gamba works existed. This is for the very simple reason that not much solo Handel exists for the viol, even though he wrote some wonderful obbligato parts in several of his vocal works including his famous opera, Giulio Cesare. There are various sonatas attributed to Handel - in fact a whole set of sonatas unearthed recently in Kassel were thought to be by Handel – but a number of them were later found to be by someone else. Following Handel’s own example in transcribing one of his violin sonatas for the viol I made several other transcriptions of his works for our combination of instruments and featured them in our programme. For more information on this and a list of the CD contents, please see the website of the record label here: https://firsthandrecords.com/products-page/upcoming/handel-works-for-viola-da-gamba-and-harpsichord/
The recording took place on the 25th, 26th and 27th October last year (2019). Leading up to it Masumi and I organised several concerts in South East London (in Blackheath, Sydenham and Brixton) in which we aired the pieces and raised some money to help fund the recording. I also wrote to friends and supporters asking if they would like to pre-order the CD and or make a donation. Angel Early Music’s contribution boosted the funds significantly and we are truly grateful for their help. The costs that needed to be paid for included fees for the producer and sound engineer, the venue hire, harpsichord transport and technician, and fees for the artists.
Apart from one oversight, which was forgetting that the last session coincided with Diwali celebrations and therefore fireworks noise, the recording went very smoothly. We have enjoyed listening to the takes and commenting on them, and are very much looking forward to the final results. I hope to organise a launch event around the time of the CD release.
Thank you to Angel Early Music for helping to make this project happen.
Ibrahim Aziz, January 2020.