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Johann Sebastian Bach - Prelude (BWV 1007) played by Alex Timmerman on the Mandoloncello.

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Uploaded on Jul 26, 2009

The Prelude BWV 1007 by Johann Sebastian Bach (1685 - 1750) is originally composed for Violoncello. In fact, it is the very first piece of Bachs 1st Suite in G major (BWV 1007) for solo Violoncello. In this video it is played on the mandoloncello, an instrument in the Mandolin family which function best can be compared with that of the violoncello. Indeed the mandoloncello (or mandocello, as it is named in the US) has the same tuning (C2-G2-D3-A3) as the violoncello and the music is likewise notated in the bass clef.
It is obvious that most music for violoncello can usually and without modifications be played on the mandoloncello. It speaks for itself that the sound of bowed instruments is a completely different one than that of the plectrum played instruments of the Mandolin family. But it is exactly this variety of sound that gives pleasure to me and hopefully to all.
Johann Sebastian Bach did not know the instruments of the Mandolin family, as there are for instance the mandolin, alto mandolin, mandola and the mandoloncello. They did not yet exist as we know them today. But he did like the sound of the Lute, a plucked instrument similar in sound and appearance to that of the mandoloncello. So much so that he even wrote solo Suites for it.

Besides my love in general for the music by J. S. Bach, this is only one of the reasons why I like to play his music. Another important one for me is my fondness of everything Mandolin. Now the mandolin is of course an instrument well known and one that has undergone many changes throughout the Centuries. Today we know it as a double strung and either flat backed instrument and/or as an (more Italian) instrument with a bowl back.
Not many people are aware that as is the case with the violin - the mandolin has larger an lower sounding sister instruments and that it was played in the quartet combination (2 mandolins ((the 1st and 2nd)), one mandoliola ((atlo mandolin)) and a mandoloncello). This combination is called the Classical Quartet.
The person who, in the last quarter of the 19th Century, developed the mandoloncello into a concert instrument was the Roman mandolinist and luthier Giovanni Battista Maldura. After his death his work was continued by the celebrated luthier Luigi Embergher (1856 - 1943). For this occasion a mandoloncello made by Luigi Embergher in 1925 is chosen. For it was Emberghers great wish that the instruments of the Mandolin family would be equally appreciated as those of the Violin family.
The mandoloncello here is a palisander Orchestra model No. 1 and it is played with the long Roman plectrum.

Best regards,

Alex Timmerman.

A production by Het CONSORT, Zwolle, Netherlands - July 2009.

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