Victoria Drake

From The Bach Notebook of Harpist Victoria Drake: The Complete Cello Suites

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It's a testament to their universality and durability that Bach's six cello suites have been successfully transcribed for such a variety of instruments. (Not all are equally successful -- the version for trombone, for instance, while a boon to players with a desperately small solo repertoire, is unlikely to become standard with general audiences.) But there are effective transcriptions for viola and guitar that have broad appeal, and Victoria Drake now adds her own version for harp to that list; in fact, it's somewhat astonishing that someone didn't create a harp transcription long ago. The suites sound ravishing on the harp; the lingering resonance of the vibrating strings fills in the harmonies that are implied in the linear cello part, and adds an appealing richness. Drake has a broad expressive range and can play with gossamer delicacy or rhythmic vigor, according to the character of each movement. She has terrific technique and handles even the most rigorous demands with grace and assurance. Her playing is supple and flexible, with just enough fluidity, avoiding both rigidity and Romantic excess. The sound has a nice balance of brightness and warmth, with a good sense of presence.

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