- Pieces for Harpsichord
- Caprice No. 23 in D major for solo violin, Op. 3 "Il labirinto armonico"
Veteran cellist Rohan de Saram teams up with harpsichordist Preethi de Silva and the repertoire ranges from traditional Bach all the way to contemporary with pieces composed by de Silva herself. De Saram performs Johann Sebastian Bach's "Suite No. 3 in C major" in a very dark manner (part of this is due to color of the instrument itself), in a more heavy style than one might be accustomed to. For example, the opening Prélude is bowed very heavily into the string and the instrument sounds almost like a bass, but de Saram handles the music with absolute certainty and assurance. The Allemande is athletic, and the Courante is phrased with care, but perhaps a little too hesitantly. De Saram's gifts as a cellist shine in the Bourées, which move with a lively spirit. De Silva follows this with C.P.E. Bach's "Variations on Folies d'Espagne" (which some violinists may know as La Folia). Her rendition of the theme is beautiful, stately, and somber with a bit of ornamentation. One can hear a whole symphony on her keyboard, sometimes cascading like church bells, at other times lush. Capricious or modulating, always energetic, the Locatelli "Caprice No. 23 in D major" is a transcription for cello from a violin work. De Saram has done a wonderful job in transcribing the music, and performs it with a flourish. The two musicians unite on J.S. Bach's "Sonata in G minor for viola da gamba and harpsichord," with de Silva's harpsichord densely textured under de Saram's lines, savoring the music as a duet for two voices, as in the Allegro. Perhaps where de Saram is the strongest is in the Hindemith "Sonata for solo cello," where the phrasing is extremely well chosen and the accents keep the listener engaged. Sometimes the piece is voiced like two instruments, and sometimes the cello is speaking alone, as in the brooding "Langsam." De Saram builds tension in an exciting way in the menacing patterns of the "Mässig schnell." To conclude the album, de Silva plays her own work, the simply titled "Pieces for harpsichord." The "Pas de deux" maintains a sense of mystery, rather like a film noir soundtrack, keeping the listener in suspense. By contrast, the shimmering colors in the upper register of the "Alankara Tala" sound like South Asian classical music and bring out the best colors and the harpsichord. The Prelude is the most introspective of the pieces, and with each note carefully chosen and played, each note counts. The two artists are clearly talented musicians, and one can only hope they will continue to collaborate. ~ V. Vasan