Recording Reviews | Susanne Heinrich

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This is outstanding artistry

Early Music Magazine

Smooth as melted chocolate

Classic CD

I can see her bow flying across the strings: the playing of the passagework is reminiscent of a virtuoso violinist

Viola da Gamba Mitteilungen, Switzerland

The Rolls-Royce of viol players

Peter McCarthy, double bass (Music in the Village)

Beautifully varied palette of tone colours.. a breathtaking recording ... her playing truly transports me to Mt Parnassus ... my mind started playing tricks and soon I was beginning to think these pieces had always been intended for the viol ... I prefer to hear this music on the viol rather than the violin [Bach Transcriptions]

Viola da Gamba Society of Australia, March 2013

The result is superb ... breathtaking clarity ... meltingly poignant French voice ... the Chaconne is French, elegant and hugely passionate [Bach Transcriptions]

Musica Antiqua, November 2012

It is terrific. The depth and resonance of the gamba's bass line holds it up to the light differently so that it glows and sparkles in a new way. The deeper tone of the gamba and Heinrich's slightly slower tempi than some violinists give the music both a warmth and a sense of gravitas which I love... It sounds effortless and as natural as breathing from the charming and lively E major Preludio which opens the disc to the mighty D minor Chaconne which closes it. She has a wonderful feel and the musicianship to get it just right throughout, I think. It's a performance which welcomes you in (by no means always the case with recordings of these works) and is enormously rewarding ... The recorded sound is excellent, capturing the lovely sound of the instrument, and the notes are entertaining and interesting. It is five years now since I wrote in my review of Mr Abel's Fine Airs "I think I may be in love." I think I still am.[Bach Transcriptions] review

Anyone who might be sceptical of appropriating this music for the viol should listen to this recording ... the beautiful clarity and precision make it feel like natural viol music ... the resonances seem richer than would be possible on the violin, lending the music serenity and depth ... beautifully poised and unhurried ... definitely a CD to keep in your core collection, close at hand. [Bach Transcriptions]

Viola da Gamba Society (GB), February 2013

I am always struck by the elegance of Heinrich's playing, and in particular, find her music-making and approach true to music, not showy for vanity's sake... delicate touch in the execution of sensitive ornamentation ... even the most unbending purists are sure to savor the resulting expressiveness [Bach Transcriptions]

Viola da Gamba Society of America, December 2012

The resulting recording is a triumph, a remarkable and compelling realization which seems to have an intrinsic validity; these performances really do seem to be revealing something new in their wholly idiomatic transcriptions. [Bach Transcriptions], customer review

..her playing is absolutely beautiful, with a freedom of phrasing and ornamentation which is completely convincing... played with a nimbleness which belies the virtuoso demands .. compelling listening .. highly recommended [Bach Trascriptions]

Early Music Review

Her performance of these works is much more than a mere transcription curiosity. It reflects a deep engagement with the music that makes it possible to forget that these pieces-some of the most iconic written for the violin- were ever intended for an instrument other than the viola da gamba. This is an outstanding recording. [Bach Transcriptions]

Early Music America

Her musicianship and articulation are impeccable .. flawless mastery and deeply moving. [Bach Transcriptions]

Early Music

I heard a track from this album together with a short interview with Ms Heinrich on Radio 3. I immediately got out the car, rushed into my office at home...and ordered it. Jazz is my first love, what do I know?... but, as Duke Ellington so famously said; there are only two types of music: good and bad. But this is neither: It is quite unbelievably fantastic. [Bach Transcriptions] review

It sounds as if these pieces were written for the viol, Susanne Heinrich lets the music breathe and speak like one has hardly ever heard it on the violin! [Bach Transcriptions]

Viola da Gamba Mitteilungen 2013 well as emphasising the obvious benefits of the sonority of the gamba, with its sensitivity of Bach Chaconne timbre and slightly ethereal sound, Susanne Heinrich also brings to the music an exquisite sense of musical thought and rhetoric, beautifully delineating the little motifs that Bach uses to energise his music lines. The concluding Ciaccona from the 2nd Partia is one of the finest interpretations I have heard, on any instrument. [Bach Transcriptions] reviews

Heinrich herself in on terrific form again.. the melancholy of the opening and closing tracks is bewitching. Here, and elsewhere on the disc, Heinrich dramatically - often poetically - conveys Hume's deeply personal, semmingly reflective musical utterances.. Heinrich includes mercurial, conversational pieces that tease the listener and those that evoke the lute. Elsewhere she brilliantly captures his military swagger and bravura, evoking trumpets and drums and a sense of marching in the distance. Bravo! [Hume Passion & Division]


Heinrich delivers a masterful performance, breathing life into aged material..In fact, Hume himself almost becomes flesh and blood under her fingertips: it's impossible not to ruminate over his personality when listening to her tender, melancholic reading of Captain Humes Pavan. Across the whole recital, the music dances, muses and mourns within her warm tone. The ornamentation is clean and elegant, rubatos are beautifully judged, and technical challenges are carried off with a sense of effortlessness. All these qualities come together to great effect in A Souldiers Resolution, with its rumblinh echoes of the battlefield [Hume Passion & Division]

BBC Review

From this old soldier I didn't expect touching intimacy, warm tenderness and real emotional introspection, but Heinrich finds it all and conveys it with such love and admiration that it's hard not to be won over. A gem in its own right [Hume Passion & Division]

International Record Review

Among the most substantial and profound pieces in this collection is Captain Humes Pavan, in which Heinrich is poised and unhurried, yet reliantly flowing both in terms of her musical ideas and their execution. Her playing is also ravishingly beautiful and deeply moving [Hume Passion & Division]

The Strad

Heinrich's style is attractively grainy in tone and plaintive in manner, with a more pervasive melancholy than Jordi Savall sought out in his Hume collection of 2004 [Hume Passion & Division]

The Irish Times

..for style, tonal beauty, and expressive playing, her accomplishment here would be hard to beat.. a delightful release, and recommended with full honors. [Hume Passion & Division]


Her playing is full of insight, and, most important, deep affection for this most idiosyncratic composer, beloved by all bass viol players … One cannot fail to be stimulated … The sound is often sumptuous, sometimes the brilliance of the tenor in the 'Souldiers Resolution' or 'Tickell tickell', sometimes plucked, sometimes deep and mysterious in the lyra tuning for her opening improvisations which lead to 'Loves pastime' , and the playing has all the authority of long study of this puzzling, fascinating and beautiful music [Hume Passion & Division]

Early Music Review

Every now and then, a CD is released that knocks one’s reviewing socks off with its combined originality of repertoire and quality of musical performance. Suzanne Heinrich's first disc, Mr Abel's Fine Airs, was one of these. Her viola da gamba recital of music by Karl Friedrich Abel, a long-forgotten 18th century British composer, begged a listen for novelty value alone, but also turned out to be one of the experiences of the year. [Abel's Fine Airs]

BBC Review

What a cornucopia of expression and nuance she achieves! From the passionate Adagio - where she seems to inhabit Abel's sensibilities to perfection ... through the tender rendering of the much loved arpeggiated prelude, to the vivacious concluding jig, this is outstanding artistry. Could even Abel have played these works better? [Abel's Fine Airs]

Early Music Magazine

Charles Burney wrote at the time that Abel's Viola da Gamba seemed to breathe the notes, and I think he'd be similarly complimentary of Heinrich's playing, were he alive and critiquing today.. one of the contemporary sources says that Abel put 'light & shade' into every note. This elusive characteristic is abundant in Susanne Heinrich's honey-tone and directly sentimental playing. [Abel's Fine Airs]

CD Review, BBC

This is a marvellous disc of 24 of Abel's pieces for solo viola da gamba. When it first arrived I took it into the living room after supper to enjoy with a glass of wine and a book. The book never got a look in. I was instantly spellbound by the music.. What really makes Abel's music an unalloyed pleasure is the gamba playing of Susanne Heinrich. I have heard and enjoyed some of her work with Charivari Agreable but until now had no idea she was such a superb musician. The playing is virtuosic in that effortless way which shows off the music rather than the player's virtuosity and, with an intimately close recording, she really does give you the feeling that you're sharing a fireside with her. The sound she produces from the instrument (a modern copy) is fabulously lovely. Try to play this through a good stereo or decent headphones to catch the full, resonant sound - it's just wonderful. I think I may be in love. I cannot recommend this disc too highly - it's a real gem. [Abel's Fine Airs]

Abel’s contemporary Charles Burney commented on the musician’s ability to ‘breathe’ the notes as he played them, and this extraordinary sensitivity is present too in the beautiful playing of Susanne Heinrich. [Abel's Fine Airs]

A really special album, this...Heinrich brings to them exactly the right blend of emotional involvement and earnest good taste, and finds pleasing resonance and smoothness in her instrument, such that even nearly 80 minutes of solo gamba never tires the ear. An unsuspected and atmospheric gem - I can almost hear the firewood crackling. [Abel's Fine Airs]


Once I start listening to this it doesn't get turned off.[Abel's Fine Airs]

Throughout, Heinrich succeeds triumphantly in crafting each piece individually - finding a special atmosphere for each work [Abel's Fine Airs]

International Record Review

Susanne Heinrich rises ably to the challenge of understanding this 18th-century Jekyll-and-Hyde figure, heightening to fine effect the music's light and shade, energy and indolence. Her readings are effortlessly poised and imbued with an almost vocal lyricism. [Abel's Fine Airs]

BBC Music Magazine


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Copyright Susanne Heinrich, 2016