Herschel Ensemble | 6 Accompanied Keyboard Sonatas

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6 Accompanied Keyboard Sonatas

by Herschel Ensemble

Baroque ensemble
Genre: Classical: Baroque
Release Date: 

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  Song Share Time Download
1. 6 Keyboard Sonatas, No. 1 in C Major: I. Allegro (With Accompaniment)
3:06 $0.99
2. 6 Keyboard Sonatas, No. 1 in C Major: II. Andante (With Accompaniment)
3:56 $0.99
3. 6 Keyboard Sonatas, No. 1 in C Major: III. Allegretto (With Accompaniment)
2:28 $0.99
4. 6 Keyboard Sonatas, No. 2 in B-Flat Major: I. Allegro (With Accompaniment)
3:56 $0.99
5. 6 Keyboard Sonatas, No. 2 in B-Flat Major: II. Andante (With Accompaniment)
2:19 $0.99
6. 6 Keyboard Sonatas, No. 2 in B-Flat Major: III. Allegro assai (With Accompaniment)
2:19 $0.99
7. 6 Keyboard Sonatas, No. 3 in G Major: I. Allegro (With Accompaniment)
3:21 $0.99
8. 6 Keyboard Sonatas, No. 3 in G Major: II. Adagio assai (With Accompaniment)
2:42 $0.99
9. 6 Keyboard Sonatas, No. 3 in G Major: III. Allegro moderato (With Accompaniment)
1:54 $0.99
10. 6 Keyboard Sonatas, No. 4 in D Major: I. Allegro (With Accompaniment)
3:39 $0.99
11. 6 Keyboard Sonatas, No. 4 in D Major: II. Andante (With Accompaniment)
2:20 $0.99
12. 6 Keyboard Sonatas, No. 4 in D Major: III. Allegro spiritoso (With Accompaniment)
1:56 $0.99
13. 6 Keyboard Sonatas, No. 5 in F Major: I. Moderato (With Accompaniment)
3:37 $0.99
14. 6 Keyboard Sonatas, No. 5 in F Major: II. Adagio (With Accompaniment)
1:49 $0.99
15. 6 Keyboard Sonatas, No. 5 in F Major: III. Allegro (With Accompaniment)
2:35 $0.99
16. 6 Keyboard Sonatas, No. 6 in A Major: I. Allegro (With Accompaniment)
3:12 $0.99
17. 6 Keyboard Sonatas, No. 6 in A Major: II. Adagio assai (With Accompaniment)
1:48 $0.99
18. 6 Keyboard Sonatas, No. 6 in A Major: III. Allegretto spiritoso (With Accompaniment)
3:00 $0.99
Downloads are available as MP3-320 files.


Album Notes
The Herschel Ensemble formed in 2008 whilst studying at the Royal College of Music where founding member Sophia Russell began researching William Herschel.
This lead to a collaboration with the William Herschel Society to promote his music. This CD is the first ever complete recording of his Six Keyboard Sonatas. The three further existing keyboard sonatas will be released soon.
Sophia Russell-harpsichord
Sophia Russell completed her MMus in Advanced Performance on harpsichord with Jane Chapman at the Royal College of Music in 2011 where she was also awarded funding from the Clavichord Society to study with Terence Charlston. She performs regularly throughout the UK and Europe. Recent performances include the National Gallery, Handel House, City of London Festival, Channel 4, Corsham Contemporary Music Festival, recordings in RAC studios London, recordings for the V&A Museum and Handel Festival in London.
Sophia formed the Herschel Ensemble in 2010 whilst studying at the Royal College of Music where founding member Sophia Russell began researching William Herschel. This lead to a collaboration with the William Herschel Society to promote his music. This CD is the first ever complete recording of his Six Keyboard Sonatas. The second CD of Herschels chamber works will be released in 2016.
Sophia also is a passionate advocate of contemporary music on the harpsichord and with her ensemble Original Collective performs contemporary works on period instruments working closely with composers.

Olga Popova-baroque violin
Olga Popova was born in Moscow where she studied violin, piano, and composition. After completing a degree in baroque and modern violin at the Tchaikovsky Moscow Conservatory, Olga moved to London where she studied baroque violin at the Royal College of Music with Prof. Adrian Butterfield. She has participated in master classes with Catherine Martin, Lucy Russell, Lucy Van Dael, Bojan Cicic and Ryo Terakado. In Moscow she performed with many chamber ensembles and baroque orchestras in the Rachmaninov Hall and the Small Hall. Olga has performed seventeenth-century chamber music with the group Tesoro Antico.
At the Royal College of Music Olga has played in many concerts with College ensembles, including performances in the college Museum, London Handel Festival, Farnham Castle, Radio 4, Holland and Handel house. She also plays regularly with the Ensemble Odyssee, Stile Galante, Koninklijk Conservatorium Brussel baroque orchestra, Amadé players and London Handel Players. Recent recordings include a number of discs with Ensemble Odyssee, Stile Galante and Amadé Players.

George Ross-baroque ’cello
George Ross was a student at the Purcell School studying with Alexander Boyarsky with assistance from the Government’s Music and Dance Scheme before being awarded a scholarship to the Royal College of Music to studying with Boyarsky on modern cello and Richard Tunnicliffe on Baroque.
He has performed at the Wigmore Hall as a soloist and in chamber groups and played solo cello in Durufle’s Requiem for the Tallis Festival Chorus for the BBC Radio 3 ‘The Choir’ series. Other performance venues have included the Mayfair Arts Club, St John’s Smith Square, St. Martin in the Field’s, St. George’s Hanover Square and Hatchlands House. George has joined the Chillingirian Quartet for a performance of the Brahms Sextet and the Sacconi Quartet at Cadogan. With the Dewar quartet, he participated in the London Handel Festival in 2012 returning this year to play solos with the Royal College of Music Baroque Ensemble.
With Florilegium, he has performed in the Three Choirs Festival and at the South Bank. More recently George has been chosen to be part of the OAE Experience Scheme 2014.

Friedrich Wilhelm Herschel (William Herschel, 1738-1821)
Six Accompanied Keyboard Sonatas (1769)
When William Herschel arrived in Bath in November 1766 to take up the position of organist at the newly-built Octagon Chapel he was at the summit of his musical career. Since arriving in Kent in 1757, with his elder brother Jacob as a bandsman with the Hanoverian army, Herschel had composed more than twenty symphonies and several concertos for oboe, violin and viola. None of these compositions was ever published and it is likely that they were composed for his own use as a soloist (for he was proficient on the three instruments) and as a director of public concerts (a position he held in Leeds from 1762-1764). Herschel had been reasonably successful in the flourishing musical world of the north east and worked alongside Edward Miller (Doncaster), Charles Avison (Newcastle) and John Garth (Durham) but had begun to be unhappy with the financial uncertainty that went with this somewhat peripatetic life. In the mid-1760s Herschel had decided to seek a position of organist which would provide both regular income and visible presence in the community and in September 1766 was the successful candidate for the post at St Phillip Halifax where a new three manual Snetzler organ had been installed. However, almost immediately he was offered the position at the Octagon Chapel and accepted, leaving Halifax after only three months in post.
The move to Bath was a pivotal moment in William Herschel’s career: on the one hand, it consolidated his standing as a professional musician – as a performer, director and composer he was catering to the fashionable and influential elite with close connections to London society; on the other hand, the intellectual climate in Bath kindled latent scientific interests that he had been encouraged to pursue as a youth by his father. By the time he arrived in Bath Herschel had already composed the majority of his main works – principally symphonies and concertos. Herschel’s position in Bath finally gave him the financial and domestic stability that he desired. His income from teaching was substantial and it is possible that the appearance of his one substantial music publication – the Six Sonatas for keyboard with optional accompaniments for violin and ‘cello published in Bath in 1769 - was primarily to satisfy a demand for new music from his many wealthy pupils. The only other music published by Herschel was the Eccho Catch published in 1780 that became very popular and was still in print in the middle of the nineteenth century.
In addition to being organist at the Octagon Chapel (a position he held until 1776) and teaching a number of pupils, Herschel became director of concerts in Bath after Thomas Linley Senior moved to London in 1774. He became more and more interested in astronomy and with his brother Alexander (also a ‘cellist) Herschel began to construct greatly improved telescopes that enabled him to discover a new planet in 1782. On the evening of 13 March Herschel set up his telescope in New King Street Bath to note the movement of a new celestial object and within a few days had come to conclusion that is was a comet to which he gave the name Sidus Georgius (‘George’s Star’) in honour of George III. Whether this was a calculated move or simply a gesture from one loyal Hanoverian to his monarch is not quite clear but the upshot was that George III invited Herschel to become his personal astronomer at a salary of £400. Despite this being somewhat less that he earned from teaching music in Bath Herschel accepted this offer and moved to Slough to be near the King at Windsor in 1783. His sister Caroline, who had become quite an accomplished singer during her years in Bath, accompanied Herschel and eventually became a distinguished astronomer in her own right, with a particular renown for discovering new comets. William Herschel’s curious celestial object turned out to be a new planet, now called Uranus, making him the first person to discover a new planet since antiquity. William Herschel’s achievements in science were considerable and it is clear why he is sometimes called the ‘father of modern astronomy’. Our modern understanding of the vast size of the cosmos is a direct consequence of Herschel’s ability to see further into space using excellent telescopes of his own design and making as well as his bold thinking in interpreting what he saw. Herschel’s scientific achievements lead many to forget that he spent the first forty years of his life as a professional musician. In later life Herschel would continue to derive much pleasure from music and when Haydn came to England in 1791 he made a point of visiting the astronomer in Slough. We have no record of what was said when they met but we do know that Herschel was a subscriber to Haydn’s Creation which was composed soon after.

Sei Sonate per il Cembalo cogli accompagnamenti di violin e violoncello che si possono sonare anche sole (1769)
William Herschel’s set of six sonatas with ad libitum violin and ‘cello accompaniments were published in Bath in 1769. The plates were beautifully engraved with a title page in Italian by Thomas Baker, who also engraved music for Charles Avison and Edward Miller. The copies were printed on good quality Dutch paper with an LVG (L van Gerrevinck) watermark (British paper making was in its infancy at this stage and most music was printed on imported paper). This recording was made using copies of a complete set of parts from the Royal Music Library in the British Library.
Sonata 1 in C major Allegro, Andante, Allegretto
The first movement is characteristic of many of the fast movements of these sonatas. The opening few bars has a simple theme accompanied by an Alberti bass followed by a scale passage. A dotted motif is then echoed by the violin. When the opening theme returns in the second half it is simply restated in the dominant key. The andante offers the violin an opportunity to set the pace with semiquaver arpeggios over repeated crochets in the keyboard left hand. After four bars the keyboard takes over and the violin reverts to supporting chords and notes. In the last movement triplets are used to give the impression of changing tempo and accentuate the underlying 3/8 time.
Sonata 2 in B flat major Allegro, Andante, Allegro assai
The use of triplets in the left hand accompaniment to underpin a simple theme, as in the allegro, was also used by Domenico Scarlatti and Haydn. Another common feature is the crossing over the left hand to play notes in the treble register. A contrasting middle section without triplets gives the impression of change of tempo whereas the underlying rhythm remains the same. In the andante the opening theme is followed by a change to a more intense mood accentuated by the use of demisemiquavers over repeated quaver chords. In the triple time allegro assai the energy is maintained by a semiquaver left hand accompaniment. In the second section a progression of trills is followed by a more relaxed quaver passage marked piano before returning to the opening theme.
Sonata 3 in G major Allegro, Adagio assai, Allegro moderato
A middle passage of the allegro has the violin playing motifs which mirror those in the keyboard right hand which gives the beginning of movement the feel of a Corelli sonata. However, the appearance of four-octave arpeggio runs (which is something of a Herschel ‘trademark’) in the second section reminds us that these sonatas are closer to the early classical style than the baroque. In this respect, the adagio assai marked grazioso begins to sound like a minuet especially as the second section marked languido resembles an embryonic trio. The allegro moderato is characterised by a lot of dynamic markings which is where the accompanied keyboard sonata comes into its own. Given the limited dynamic possibilities of the harpsichord the violin and ‘cello allows the realisation not only of dynamics but also of added emphasis such as sforzando, a term that Herschel uses throughout the sonatas. The last movement ends with a syncopated progression that presages Haydn and Mozart.
Sonata 4 in D major Allegro, Andante, Allegro Spiritoso
The allegro begins with a typical Herschel four-bar theme which is then promptly forgotten as a series of scale progressions, arpeggios and hand-crossings gives the keyboard player ample opportunity to demonstrate their skill. The opening theme never returns. In contrast, the andante has an extended theme with the second section having a distantly related version. The third movement has a driving ostinato right-hand accompaniment which is only interrupted by an abrupt modulation into C# minor in the second section.
Sonata 5 in F major Moderato, Adagio, Allegro
This sonata opens with a more graceful theme firmly in the early classical mode. The emotional intensity comes from a contrary motion demisemiquaver passage that perhaps suggests a cloud on the horizon. This movement is also characterised by a more demanding violin accompaniment that reflects Herschel’s own competence on this instrument. In contrast the ‘cello accompaniments in this sonata and others lack much individuality but serve mostly to reinforce the rhythmic and dynamic contrasts. The adagio is an interesting blend of baroque and early classical elements with a contrasting middle section in the tonic minor. The last movement displays some thematic development between sections of keyboard fireworks.
Sonata 6 in A major Allegro, Adagio assai, Allegretto Spritoso
The opening allegro has perhaps the most contrasting sections of all the sonatas along with some more individual writing for the violin. The adagio assai has an ornamented right hand part over a chromatic descending and ascending accompaniment. The rondo-like third movement in triple time has a more satisfying violin part that those in most of the other sonatas.



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