Louis Abbiate published Préludes et Fugues in 1901. They are the most sophisticated and bold contrapuntal pieces ever written for unaccompanied cello. His music largely consists in scenes created by intertwining independent and modest melodic lines to effect a dialogue. Delighted by rhetorical diversity and having a gift for the management of ‘space,’ Abbiate writes out two, three, and even four voices to be played on a cello with just four strings—in contrast, for example, to the more well known solo cello writing of Bach, whose Suites are full of ingenuity, but more typically only suggestive of multiple lines.
Grasped as an unfolding musical conversation, each fugue has a discernable, natural logic to consider. The careful listener can follow two or three lines of sound, pick out the variants, and likely discover something new in each rehearing. Préludes are interleaved with the fugues to provide some solace. Less strict, their lines are placed beneath the surface texture in a free form of elaborate noodling. Ultimately, they act as staging areas on the way to the high art of the fugue—a mystery to all but the initiated.
There is something optimistic and compelling about this performance. There is a goodness about it that possesses the strength of virtue. Enjoy our recording.
Music at Lonely Peaks Records
“A lonely peak of grandeur”—is the way one Bach biographer described the achievement of the six works for unaccompanied violin, and the words are well chosen. They represent an ultimate sophistication and difficulty. The extraordinary inventiveness with which Bach created his masterpieces not only stretched the capabilities of the instrument but also require from the performer endurance, concentration, and critical interpretative insight to shape the separate movements into a logical whole.
Lonely Peaks Records was organized with the fullness of that thought in mind. A good recording reveals a complex story. We look for honesty when we make a recording—what the instruments really sound like, presented with clarity and realism. We are more interested in placing the microphones where they need to be to hear inside the music and less interested in having our records sound like you are seated in the tenth row. Good recording technique will allow the recording artist to do his work, which is to reveal the multifaceted beauty that exists in the details of great music. We make great classical music recordings that usually feature the cello alone, or small ensemble chamber music, where there is more freedom to express oneself, more give and take between colleagues, more spontaneity and intimacy than are really ever possible in even the most successful orchestral recordings.
Recording can make music a much more cogent experience for the listener. The artist has more options and more choice in the performance that is captured. The listener benefits from microphone placement and always has the best seat in the house. Moreover, a wonderful performance isn't lost; it can be heard again and again. If your playback equipment is good, the experience can be overwhelming—heard properly at home, intimately, quietly, and reflectively. Good music is made for an individual's consideration and appreciation...to move the emotions well.