Carl Friedrich Abel was a performer and composer for the viola da gamba. His many other works (numbering in excess of 225) include those scored for orchestra, solo and trio sonatas for flute, concertos for flute, and cello and a variety of symphonies, symphonia, and sonatas. Abel's major works were instrumental in nature; he rarely wrote for voice. After 1759 he lived much of his life in England. Here he made a fortuitous and famed connection with J.C. Bach. Prior to this he had visited the homes of Goethe and Mozart but had little influence upon students of composition. (The only exception to this was his student, the pianist Johann Baptist.) He and Bach spent much time together performing a number of works over a ten year partnership at the Hanover Sqaure rooms built especially for these occasions. Carl Friedrich Abel's music was indicative of his character. He was quiet (less flamboyant than Bach), well-ordered, and philanthropic. Many of his pieces for the Hanover Square concerts were written so that they could be performed by amateurs; he provided a place for new-comers. Abel also often gave concerts for the needy, his simple style appealing to this particular audience. His compositions are not noted for their complexity but his ability to improvise demonstrated a rich sense of harmony and "learned modulation". Having met Goethe one would think that Abel's music would be rife with "Sturm und Drang"; however, this was not the case. Abel rarely used minor keys and his music was friendly, light and spirited. Other characteristics of his compositions include phrases of unusual length with broken chords, syncopation, appoggiaturas, an Italian flavor (in his more vocal melodies), and an urbane Mannheim style indicated by slow, elegant movements that are both lyrical and highly decorated. According to his London obituary the viola da gamba would die with Carl Friedrich Abel. ~ Keith Johnson, Rovi

Carl Friedrich Abel Symphonies
Carl Friedrich Abel: Allegro in D Minor WKO 208; Shirley Edith Hunt, viola da gamba
Carl Friedrich Abel Flute Concertos
Carl Friedrich Abel Chamber Music
Carl Friedrich Abel: Arpeggio / Petr Wagner
Carl Friedrich Abel (1723-1787): Piéces pour Baryton à Cordes
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