In the early 1720s, Bach had the Leipzig court instrument maker build a viola pomposa. The instrument had five strings, being somewhere between a viola and a cello. The new instrument, held like a violin, acted as a substitute for the cello making some of Bach’s challenging figured bass accompaniments easier to perform.
Bach must have been pleased with the viola pomposa. It is widely believed that he composed his Suite No. 6 in D major (BWV 1012) specifically for the new instrument.
Enjoy this recording of Suite No. 6 played by Ulrich Koch on viola pomposa.