I was using my copy of a transcription of the six cello sonatas by Vivaldi this evening when I thought to myself, “I should play this.”
Sad, I know. I shouldn’t be using my precious sheet music for this purpose. But the varnish on my desk doesn’t get along well with the optical mouse. Or vice versa. And besides, the nice 9 x 12 opaque paper that music publishers use makes for an excellent mousing surface.
Anyway, I played through the six sonatas this evening. All six? Well yeah – they’re pretty short if you don’t take all the repeats. And the Schirmer edition is pretty much written to be sightreadable. Easy stuff.
These are nice pieces. For my taste, they’re scored too low for playing on a double bass in orchestral tuning. The piano and the bass sound like mud unless the pianist lays off the pedal and plays real quiet, and the bassist is playing a bit close to the bridge and not sucking too badly. But it’s real nice to have a set of sonatas that one can just pick up and play with a pianist and not have to swap out a set of strings for a solo set, or have to practice like mad just to make it sound halfway decent (like Hindemith or Misek.)
The problem with the Schirmer edition is that, IMHO, the realization of the given bass sucks. Sorry. Check out Christophe Coin’s recording of the six sonatas and compare it to the merde that Schirmer put out and you’ll see what I mean. I’ve got a couple of my own attempts going at the realization for the first sonata that are incomplete, but let’s face it, I’m not going to do much better. Coin’s recording uses an archlute and organ for the continuo in the 6th sonata, which sounds way cool and is a nice change in tambre from the usual harpsichord or piano.
Continuo is a lost art.