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Eccles Background Information

Discussion in 'Music [DB]' started by justintonation, May 10, 2006.

  1. justintonation


    Apr 29, 2005
    San Diego
    I'm planning on performing Henry Eccles' Sonata in G minor for String Bass and Piano for an upcoming concert. I'd like to say something interesting about the piece and its composer either from the stage or in the program. However, background information seems scarce. This is everything I know so far:

    Henry Eccles

    1670-1742 - Sources seem to disagree on Eccles birthdate. These dates are from the Zimmerman edition of the Eccles Sonata.

    English Baroque composer and violinist.

    Second son of Solomon Eccles 2.

    One of a family of English musicians from the generation that followed Henry Purcell.

    Musician to William and Queen Mary.

    Musician to Queen Anne 1701-1714.

    Moved to Paris and became a member of the band of Louis XIV.

    Eccles' Sonata in G minor for String Bass and Piano was originally for violin, but is now performed on all the string instruments.


    Ovidiu Badila - The Memorial Recordings
    Richard Davis - The Bassist: Homage to Diversity
    Massimo Giorgi - Il contrabasso Italiano
    Yoan Goilav - Virtuoso Romantic Double Bass
    Eddie Gomez - Discovery
    Gary Karr - Recital
    Mark Morton - Thresholds
    Joel Quarrington and Friends - Virtuoso Reality
    Bernard Salles - Contrebasse

    Any new information would be greatly appreciated. Even a book recommendation might be nice. Thanks,

    - Justin
  2. There really isn't anything interesting or special about it. It's a nice piece, often played by students.

    You could check out Edgar Meyer's recording on Music For Two. He takes the last movement much faster than anyone else, as far as I know.
  3. Check the New Grove Dictionary. One interesting point is that it is not certain that Eccles actually wrote all of the pieces in his published collections. Some have been sourced to other baroque composers. They were meant to be used for entertainment and pedagodical purposes mainly.

  4. Anon2962


    Aug 4, 2004
    And it's waaaayyyy too fast. Sounds awful. Entcho Radoukanov (came third in the first isle of man, and is current princepal of the Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra(i ithink), has a great recording of this too, maybe the best I've heard. Just google.
  5. John453


    Apr 1, 2006
    Columbus, Ohio
    If you look in the booklet for Mark Morton's "Thresholds" album it gives what he says about it at his recitals. Sorry I don't own the CD, I've gotten it from the library before. All I remember is him saying it was originally written for the church, it had some name that meant "Church Sonata".
  6. EFischer1

    EFischer1 Guest

    Mar 17, 2002
    New York, New York
    There are also two rather interesting recordings of Koussevitzky himself playing the first movement.
  7. Snakewood

    Snakewood Guest

    Dec 19, 2005
    I think the most historically correct recording is Joel Quarrington's on his Virtuoso Reality CD.
  8. kraid


    Apr 11, 2003
    Entcho Radoukanov is an excellent player. His recordings of the Vanhal, Koussevitzky, and Dittersdorf Sinfonia Concertante are all incredible. While I haven't heard the Eccles recording, I highly recommend getting your hands on anything by him.

    Why is that? I've never thought it sounded very HIP except for the fact that there's a harpsichord thrown in there. Great recording, nonetheless.
  9. Joel Quarrington's recording is beautiful, but it's very far from historically accurate. It sounds more romantic to my ears.
  10. Snakewood

    Snakewood Guest

    Dec 19, 2005
    There's a handful of Eccle's recordings out there. People think that Baroque means zero vibrato. This is not the case at all. If you've read any of the treatise' by Quantz or even Mozart's very own you can see that the style by which this piece was played was more achieved through bow stroke not left hand. Quarrington's replication of cambiata, appogiatura are very nicely adapted, I would personally consider it capable of being classified as a period recording...but afterall this piece was written for violin, not a gamba or even cello for that matter. It's really a matter of taste, one could say Albinoni's Adagio is G Minor is the finest baroque piece ever...when Albinoni only wrote the first 2 bars (the theme) and Giazotto wrote the piece between world war 1 and 2, so it really has nothing authentically boroque about it. Same goes with Stokowski-Bach Transcription, non are incorrect, just a matter or taste.
  11. Saying Stokowski's Bach arrangements are "incorrect" would be a misstatement, but they're still a far cry from "historically accurate."

    Quarrington's recording is about as historically accurate as Edgar Meyer's cello suites.
  12. kraid


    Apr 11, 2003
    I'm not saying that there's anything wrong with playing baroque music in the modern style, but it is definitely not historically accurate and I don't think Joel Quarrington was going for that. If he was he might have wanted to put gut strings on his bass and tuned it to as low as an A415. Constant vibrato wasn't practiced in the baroque era as it was thought of as distorting the purity of the sound. That is not to say that vibrato was not practiced, but it was used as an ornament. If you listen to real period performances by, for example, Savall or Pinnock, you'll see what I'm talking about.
  13. Snakewood

    Snakewood Guest

    Dec 19, 2005
    You can't take Stokowski-Bach as historically accurate, he never wanted them to be that way. Stokowski's influence from the war is what propelled him to have these highly post-romantic views towards the music of bach. You just have to take it as it is. I enjoy playing it either way.
  14. justintonation


    Apr 29, 2005
    San Diego
    Excerpt from the liner notes of Mark Morton's Thresholds:

    Henry Eccles (c.1680-c.1740): Sonata No. 11, Bk. 1 in G Minor

    Henry Eccles descended from a family of English musicians, and was a violinist in the Royal Band of Queen Anne. He eventually settled in Paris where, in 1720, he published a set of twelve sonatas for violin and basso continuo. Three years later he published a second volume that included ten sonatas for violin and basso continuo, a duo for two violins or two flutes, a sonata for flute and basso continuo, and a fantasia for unaccompanied violin. Eccles' original 1720 publication was used as the primary source for this edition, and it is freely ornamented.

    The sonata that has come to be known as "The" Eccles Sonata in G Minor is the eleventh sonata from the first book. This volume is full of the most bold-faced thefts from the Florentine student of Arcangelo Corelli, Giuseppe Valentini. The first, fourth, eighth, and ninth sonatas are taken almost note-for-note from Valentini's Allettamenti per Camera, Op. 8. Considering Eccles' boldness in plagiarism, the originality of all his sonatas, even his beloved eleventh, is called into serious doubt.

    This is a marvelous example of a baroque sonata da chiesa, or "church sonata." A sonata da chiesa is a sonata in four movements with the tempo scheme slow-fast-slow-fast, or, two pairs of slow-fast.
  15. Stan Haskins

    Stan Haskins

    Nov 17, 2005
    NY and Miami
    Can anyone tell me what the "attacca" means at the end of the adagio?
  16. cold elephant

    cold elephant

    May 9, 2005
    Attacca = go straight on to the next movement.
  17. Stan Haskins

    Stan Haskins

    Nov 17, 2005
    NY and Miami
    Wow - leave no space at all? I already find it difficult to cue an accompanist there.
  18. You could take a breath if you like. You're just not supposed to end the movement, take a drink of water, wipe your hands, rosin your bow, and then spend 30 seconds trying to focus.
  19. Stan Haskins

    Stan Haskins

    Nov 17, 2005
    NY and Miami
    Gotcha. Thanks.
  20. THE SAW


    Sep 14, 2006
    I know this is an ancient thread, but the Eccles is actually quite difficult to play- true, often abused (like a game of little league baseball) by students giving it a thrashing.

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