Mario Brunello performs on the violoncello piccolo for a series of recordings which will reveal new ways of listening to the violin masterpieces of Johann Sebastian Bach

Published on 23/10/2019

This collaboration between the eminent Italian cellist and Arcana begins with a recording of the Sonatas & Partitas, one of the pinnacles of the entire violin repertoire.

Mario Brunello begins his collaboration with the Arcana label with a three-volume project: the “Bach Brunello Series”, in which he plays well-known pieces by Bach originally conceived for violin on the violoncello piccolo, an instrument Bach also used and appreciated. It is a fascinating return to a voice of the past that brings out new aspects of Bach’s masterpieces. The first volume is devoted to the Sonatas & Partitas, which will be followed by an anthology of solo concertos and the six Sonatas for violin and harpsichord.

Arcana A469 – Ph. Gianni Rizzotti

Winner of the 1986 edition of the Tchaikovsky Competition in Moscow, Mario Brunello has since gained recognition as one of the foremost living cellists. In recent years he has also been involved in historically informed performance, focusing on the four-string “violoncello piccolo”. Slightly smaller than the cello, Bach used this instrument in certain sacred cantatas, and during the seventeenth to eighteenth centuries, it featured far more widely than today’s known repertoire might suggest.

Brunello’s reading of the Sonatas & Partitas on the violoncello piccolo does not follow in the wake of violin interpretations, but rather rediscovers a forgotten voice and a different vantage point, thereby confirming the practice dear to Bach of playing the same works on different instruments.

«My aim is to approach the Sonatas and Partitas from the ground up, in every sense», Brunello explains. «Violinists ‘fly high’, they’re always on top of the melody, which they see from above. I propose a speculative approach, a conquest of the summit by another route». 

The booklet accompanying the set is richly illustrated and includes texts in English – German – French – Italian by Bach specialist Peter Wollny, by the writer Alessandro Baricco and by Mario Brunello himself.

Bach Tour Dates

24 October > Bergamo, Sala Greppi
27 October > Ancona, Amici della Musica
6 November > Rome, Auditorium Parco della Musica (+Press Conference)
8 November > Terni, Filarmonica Umbra
29 January > Rome, Auditorium Parco della Musica