I love music.

I write about the music I like and have purchased for the benefit of better understanding it and sharing my preferences with others.

Abel: Drexel Manuscript

Screen Shot 2011 11 12 at 8 18 13 PM You can learn more about this release directly from the Glossa website. Carl Friedrich Abel, born 1723, fits into an interesting cubby of history; his instrument's popularity was on the decline, and yet in his time, he was a famous performer. In late 2008, Paolo Pandolfo released a program of Abel's music in three suites and two pieces in A major. The suites are in either D major or D minor. This is solo music, so you might think of it akin to Bach's solo works for cello, violin, etc. The most interesting track to my ears is the opening to the second suite, an Arpeggiata, really nothing more than apreggiated chords. But if the effect would work for Bach in the opening of his Well-tempered clavier, book 1, then it works here too for Abel under Pandolfo's control. The recorded sound is beautiful; we're transported really, to another sound world. This is modern music to my baroque ears, pushing Abel's very galant ideas forward with a soft, mellow instrument capable of singing drama. What sold me, really, into this sound world was a video by Pandolfo talking about his connection to this music.

What it has in flavor it lacks in profundity. I might even dare say that Pandolfo is the better player than Abel was the composer… but it does give us a peak into 18th century Europe. What I mean here is that Carl Abel isn't some just-discovered composer that will blow you away with his radical yet satisfying ideas. But, he does represent a cross roads in baroque-to-classical style. He's got some very inventive licks for his instrument. And his music is full of affective gestures which our gambits takes full advantage of. There are at times I wish there was a visual component to this music - to see the performer play, or to see dancers dance. And because this thought comes to mind, I think the music is very personal. To maximize your enjoyment of it, you almost have to be the performer. It's that personal, and in some movements, that deep. The newness to me is a plus; we'll see how it endures time with repeated listenings, and whether I judge the composer Abel any differently.

The Goat Rodeo Sessions

Blandine Rannou performs Bach's Variations Goldberg