The San Diego Union-Tribune
Christian Hertzog
May 11, 2019

Cellist David Finckel and pianist Wu Han gave the Baker-Baum Concert Hall a satisfying workout Friday evening for the La Jolla Music Society.

Their well-curated program was a chronological survey of sonatas for cello and piano by J.S. Bach (if you consider cello as a substitute for the viola da gamba), Beethoven, Mendelssohn, Debussy and Britten. However, only Mendelssohn’s work conformed to the classical notion of a sonata: four movements, the outer ones in fast tempos, the inner a scherzo and slow movement.

The form of Bach’s Sonata No. 1 in G Major for Viola da Gamba and Keyboard, BWV 1017 was a precursor to the 19th-century sonata: slow introductory movement, fast movement, slow movement, fast. Finckel played with minimal vibrato, cleanly enunciating his phrases. Han approached Bach with a soft-toned clarity, and rubato was very sparingly used.