The fame that he enjoyed in his lifetime clearly hasn’t served Carl Friedrich Abel well in the two centuries since his death. He was fêted all over Europe both for his supreme skills as a performer of the viola da gamba as well as for the quality of his compositions, and was responsible (along with JC Bach) for setting up arguably the first series of subscription concerts in the history of Western music, the 'Bach-Abel-Concerts'. Even the prodigy that was Mozart benefited from Abel’s teachings (and was claimed as the composer of one Abel’s own symphonies). All this was known by keen minds of the time such as Charles Burney, JF Reichardt and Goethe.
Czech gambist Petr Wagner delivers here a scintillating rendition of Abel’s ever-inventive music which ranges across Preludes, Adagios and sundry dance forms. Where to place this 'late' music for the viola da gamba? Not Baroque and definitely heading in the direction of the classicism of Mozart, Haydn and even Beethoven.