C.P.E. Bach, Sonata in C major

Fifteen years agon I sat down to learn the sonatas of C.P.E. Bach. Back then I had an ideal that it was always best to go to the source and study from the facsimile. This was to be an enormous task as not only was the facsimile almost impossible to read with so many small notes and a fading staff, but the gamba part was written in treble clef. I think most gambists would agree they feel more comfortable reading alto clef. I ended up writing out by hand all of C.P.E. Bach's sonatas. If only such a beautiful edition as this G├╝ntersberg edition were available then!

The accuracy of the work, and the way it has been presented, has to be commended. As a performer I feel more confident tackling a difficult work such as the C major sonata of C.P.E. Bach when the music itself is laid out clearly and is easy to read. With a good edition, one can concentrate on the actual notes and music making rather than wondering, sometimes guessing, what the notes are.

A lot of thought has gone into this edition with performance in mind as page turns have been considered, and the basso continuo realised for those less experienced in continuo playing. There are four parts included in this edition: a gamba part in treble clef (as from the original), a gamba part in alto clef, continuo bass and a score with the gamba part in treble and a realised continuo part. This lay out makes the work easy to rehearse and perform.

I like the fact that every detail from the original has been observed from the slur markings to dynamics leaving the performer to make his or her interpretation. The way in which this edition has been presented is very appealing and I am sure it will lead to more gambists to take on the challenge of learning C.P.E. Bach's C major sonata.

Edition G├╝ntersberg can be found on the internet at www.guentersberg.de.

Jennifer Eriksson, Chelys Australis, Australian Viola da Gamba Society Journal Vol. 5, April 2006