We’ve done a lot of research in putting together our programmes, but also in thinking about the actual technical aspects of playing these pieces in an appropriate way on appropriate instruments. Anybody interested in knowing more about the issues we are faced with could start by taking a look at these various sources:

Pictures of various viols, including the original by Gasparo da Saló of one of the instruments we play in these programmes.

Brent Wissick, The Cello Music of Antonio Bononcini: Violone, Violoncello da Spalla, and the Cello “Schools” of Bologna and Rome

Christian Speck, Boccherini as cellist and his music for cello (Early Music, May 2005, Vol. XXXIII, No.2, pp.191-210)
The Boccherini expert discusses his recent discovery of the Boccherini sonata “l’Imperatrice” and suggests it could have been written for a five-string “violon chico”

Agnes Kory, Boccherini and the Cello (Early Music, November 2005, Vol. XXXIII, No.4, pp.749-751)
Makes a passionate case for a wider use of the “tenor violin”

Christian Orth, “Zum Daumenaufsatz in den Cellostimmen von Boccherinis Kammermusik”, in Boccherini Studies, Vol.1, ed. C. Speck (Bologna, 2007)

Marc Vanscheeuwijck, Recent re-evaluations of the Baroque cello and what they might mean for performing the music of J. S. Bach (Early Music, May 2010, Vol.XXXVIII, No.2, pp.181-192)
Marc Vanscheeuwijck, In Search of the Eighteenth-Century “Violoncello”: Antonio Vandini and the Concertos for Viola by Tartini (Performance Practice Review, 2008, Vol. 13: No. 1, Article 7, Available at: http://scholarship.claremont.edu/ppr/vol13/iss1/7)
Critique of a modern taste for standardisation, far from the supposed reality of 17th and 18th century violoncello playing. Happily allows for a coexistence between violas da spalla and larger (modern-sized) cellos in period performance. Interestingly suggests that Tartini might have been using a violoncello tuned G-d-a-d’ (p.182).

18th century cellist Antonio Vandini in a caricature by Pier Leone Ghezzi, shown holding his bow underhand (also noted by Charles Burney in a 1770 diary entry)

Elisabeth Le Guin, Boccherini’s Body, An Essay in Carnal Musicology (Los Angeles, 2005)
A virtuoso exploration of the physicality of Boccherini’s compositions

Vittorio Ghielmi, “An 18th century Italian Treatise and other Clues to the History of the Viola da Gamba in Italy”, in The Italian Viola da Gamba, ed. S. Orlanda (Limoges, 2002)
Discusses an 18th century manuscript supposed to be in the hand of a Christoforo Signorelli, held in the Museo Civico Bibliografico de Bologna, which mentions among other subjects realised chordal basses for 7-string viola da gamba and fingerings for fretted cellos.

Paolo Pandolfo, “The Viola bastarda and the art of improvising”, in The Italian Viola da Gamba (Limoges, 2002)
A concise description of alla bastarda improvisation, whereby a single instrumentalist would create the illusion of a polyphonic texture by weaving together fragments of the various vocal lines in a madrigal.

Valerie Walden, One Hundred Years of Violoncello, A History of Technique and Performance Practice, 1740-1840 (Cambridge, 2004)
A thorough survey of the establishment of the first schools of cello playing, from Corrette onwards.