|Newsletter Issue 41 - July 2010|
|Written by Richard J Milner|
|Thursday, 09 September 2010 15:26|
Some real news in this issue! Firstly, we are delighted to announce that Ibi Aziz who is a very highly regarded viol tutor and player in the UK will be a tutor at the 2011 Easter Viol Workshop. Read more about Ibi below. Secondly, at the end of the section on new publications we tell you about an incredible library of viol consort music which has recently been uploaded to Werner Icking. This collection, which must comprise over 2000 pieces, seems not to be indexed yet and so may be hard to find. The best way I think is to go to the new downloads page and scroll down until you get to it then click on it to open. All pieces are in score only - no parts. Finally the Boulder Early Music Shop is back to normal with the purchase by Charlie Ogle (see new from USA). Tuners are something that I take for granted having only recently taken up the viol however they have only become widely used in the past decade and there are still some sceptics around I think. So the UK societies survey is of interest and also we find that even professional players like Susanne Heinrich make some use of these devices. And now you can get an app for your iphone to transformit into a tuner. Do you know about Ann Ford? She was an amazing and fascinating player of the viola da gamba during the time of Abel and beyond. I do not know too many people who have been arrested for playing the viol. You can read about her on page 9. Our members get around and it is good to have reports back of workshops in other countries, so I welcome Ann Kanaan’s report on the Alison Crum school in the UK. Next issue I hope to bring you one (or more) reports from the recent Conclave in the USA which was attended by several members. Happy reading.
Easter Viol Workshop
Sydney – April 22-24, 2011
Not a lot of news yet but we are able to announce that the visiting tutor will be the young virtuoso from England, Ibi Aziz on his first visit to Australia. Here is a brief biography. Ibrahim (Ibi) Aziz was born in Malaysia and started learning the piano when he was eight. In 1999 he went to Trinity College of Music London to study the viola da gamba under Alison Crum. Concurrently he had private lessons with Sarah Cunningham and played in master classes by Jordi Savall and Wieland Kuijken. While at Trinity he won many awards and prizes: he was the first winner of their Early Music Prize and later became the first musician in the college to win its prestigious Gold Medal on a period instrument. He was then a finalist in the 2009 international Bach-Abel viola da gamba competition in Koethen, Germany. Ibi now divides his time performing and teaching. He plays with a number of period groups and ensembles in the UK and abroad, most notably Sestina Consort, Charivari Agreable and The Maresienne Consort, which he founded and with whom he has recorded for Signum Classics. Appearing regularly with The Rose Consort of Viols, Ibi often works alongside many distinguished musicians that include mezzo sopranos Catherine King and Clare Wilkinson, sopranos Evelyn Tubb and Dame Emma Kirkby, the lutenist. David Miller, and vocal groups Deller Consort and Stile Antico. Ibi recently co-founded ‘Chelys’, a viol consort comprising of Trinityalumni and based in London. As a coach and teacher Ibi is frequently engaged for 'viol weekends' and early music courses such as the Irish Recorder and Viol Summer School, The Dartington International Summer School (with The Rose Consort of Viols), and the Benslow Music Trust courses in Hitchin. He also teaches viol consorts at Morley College, London. Recent engagements include a chamber music recital at Trinity College Cambridge with harpischordist Dan Tidhar and violinist Jennifer Bennett, a live broadcast of Henry Purcell's music for BBC Radio 3's In Tune with The Rose Consort on Purcell's birthday, a St Matthew Passion in the Two Moors Festival at Exeter Cathedral, and a viol weekend in Stoke-On-Trent. Forthcoming work includes a visit to Luxembourg, a French recital of Marais and Forqueray at the Early Music Exhibition with Alison Crum, a recital with Emma Kirkby and The RoseConsort in Aberdeen, a Jenkins-Purcell concert in Belfast (also with The Roses), and a USA tour in February 2010.
Technical Tip -The VdGS Tuning Device Survey
Mary Iden (adapted from The Viol – Summer 2010)
A total of 73 people (about 43%) returned the form. Of those who responded, 16 (22% of respondents) were professional viol players (though one termed himself only 'an aspiring professional' !), and another 3 were professional players of other instruments.Professional players were thus rather over-represented. The remainder were amateur viol players, though a few were professionalmusicians (eg teachers or musicologists).Tuning fork or electronic tuner?12 people (16% of respondents) prefer to only ever use a tuning fork or equivalent.4 professional (or retired professional) players and 5 amateurs prefer to tune using just a tuning fork. The phrase 'tuning fork plus ears'cropped up several times. One person has absolute pitch, and when playing on her own just uses her ear. Another 2 people use theirelectronic tuners only to give an A, and then tune by ear. 8 people (11% of respondents) use a tuning fork occasionally. Another 8amateurs said that they use a tuning fork occasionally, sometimes in particular situations eg when playing alone at home.Tuning fork/electronic tuner commentsFrom a tuning fork user: J prefer to use a fork because it is easy to hear beats, so it is quick and extremely precise, if one is good attuning the other strings.From an electronic tuner user: Occasionally someone will refuse to use a tuner at all, taking an A and doing the rest by ear. This canoften be the least good outcome for the group as a whole.Tuning when playing with a keyboard instrument?When playing with a keyboard or another fixed pitch instrument, of course people tune to this rather than to a tuning device.Electronic tuners - none, one or several?62 of the people who responded (85%) own at least one electronic tuning device. ' 22 of these 62 people (35% of electronic tunerowners) own more than one, usually of different makes. One UK amateur owns 6 plus a tuning fork, and a professional player hasthem in various rooms in her house and in her viol cases, so that one is always at hand! 11 people (15% of respondents) own noelectronic tuner. Several of these stated that they make use of other people's, but a number also commented that they feel that tuningmachines have their disadvantages.Electronic tuner - make?Of those 62 people who own an electronic device: 47 people (75%) own a Korg tuner. 4 of these own more than one Korg tuner. 17people (27%) own a Violab tuner. 3 people (5%) own a Seiko tuner. 10 people (16%) use Cleartune (an application that can bedownloaded onto an iPhone) or something similar.Electronic tuner - price?The electronic tuners seem to fall into 3 price categories:Basic models with only equal temperament, most of which cost around £30. 16 people, including 3 professional players, own only thistype of tuner. More sophisticated models, such as the Korg OT-12 or the Violab Pitchman, with a choice of temperaments, most ofwhich cost around £100.34 people own only this more sophisticated type of tuner. The Cleartune tuning system which costs less than£5, but you need to own an iPhone or iPod (each of which cost at least £200) to be able to use it. One person owns no other tuner apartfrom this, and another has a Korg tuner as well, but is thinking of selling it as he prefers to use Cleartune.Best value tuner?Possibly a Korg tuner bought 22 years ago for less than £30 and still working well.Equal temperament?24 people (33% of respondents) stated that they sometimes or always tune their viols to equal temperament (ET). 17 (23% ofrespondents) tune to ET because it is the only option available on their tuner (though sometimes they tune to different temperamentswhen using their other tuner). 5 of these state that they would prefer to have a choice of other temperaments, while 12 make nocomment (so are presumably happy to always tune to ET, at least when using this tuner).4 (5% of respondents) have other options available but always choose ET. One of these specified that he tunes his instrument to ET(despite having a number of other options on his tuner), but within a consort he adjusts the notes he is playing to the tuning of theconsort in the context of the music. 3 people (4% of respondents - all professional players) have other options available and sometimeschoose ET eg in mixed ensemble situations. Other temperaments? Of the people who normally tune to a temperament, most choose 1/6 comma meantone if available, 5 people who own basic Korg ETtuners use these to tune their instruments to something approaching 1/6 comma by making the necessary adjustments. Most Korg OT-12 users tune to Valotti.Needle or sound?29 people (58%) of the 50 or so who own tuners that have the choice of sound or a visual display prefer to use the needle/light option.Of course this may be partly, or largely, because some of these tuners do not produce a note of sufficient volume to enable players totune to it. However, a few people commented that they prefer visual displays as they hate the sound that tuners make.10 people (20%) who have the option of sound or display prefer to use sound. 9 people (18%) use either sound or display, dependingon the situation (eg they use needle display with pick-up in noisy situations, sound when playing at home alone). A few people use the'sound and display' option of the Korg OT-12 model, and find it very satisfactory .Does the tuner work reliably?The vast majority of replies reported that their tuner is reliable. 3 Korg owners (of a total of 47 - ie 6%) say that their tuners work wellif their batteries are fully charged, but less well once they start running down. 2 other Korg owners had problems with the sound after afairly short time (one returned theirs to the supplier and got a replacement). 6 people reported problems with the microphone jack leadafter a few years of use. 2 Korg tuners are still working well after 30 years.General level of satisfaction with tuners?59 of the 62 people (95%) who own electronic tuners are generally satisfied with them.Comments - electronic tuners in generalTuners save so much time - I remember playing before we had them and it took ages, despite what people sometimes tell you! Tunershave revolutionised the acceptability of viols in concert performance by speeding the flow of the event. They may have made violplayers' ears a bit lazy, though. There is no perfect answer, but bad tuning really spoils a consort. Using an electronic meter may seemcrude, but it gets the business over quickly and allows quick checks if the weather is destabilising the instruments. Tuners are nosubstitute for careful listening, but at least reduce the argument and time wastage.
Viols on the Web – Music on your ipad, ipod and iphone
The recent issue of 'The Viol' from the UK Viola da Gamba Society on the use of the 'Cleartune System' on an iphone got meinvestigating this and other musical applications (apps!) for this family of Apple products. I must say at the outset that I have nopersonal knowledge of any of these devices but the more I read the more I realise their potential.Stephen Pegler writes”If you own an iPhone (or an iPod touch) you can save our self some money by downloading the tuning meter application calledCleartune for $5.00 - a lot less than almost any other stand-alone tuner; in summary, I found it pretty much as good as the Korg tunerfor automatic tuning.What you get: A display showing a graduated pitch wheel (in a number of notations including 6 Solfege versions) in colour with a fine-tuning needle display showing how many cents above or below pitch and an indicator showing if you are within a few cents of a givenpitch. You can calibrate A to any frequency and select from 24 temperaments including 1/3 and 1/6 meantone, Valotti, Kirnberger III,Werkmeister III and Pythagorean (on C or A); there is also an option for transposition. You can use it as apitch pipe (with 4 different wave forms), tune to a selected note (manual lock) or just play to it and let itguess the pitch (automatic). There are three levels of damping for the "needle" on the +-cents display.There is no "sound-back" option as on the Korg tuner, you cannot set up your own temperament and thereis no pitch "stretch" yet at high and low octaves used by piano tuners (though they are apparently workingon it).Microphone: You can use the in-built iPhone microphone, or the microphone which comes with theheadphones (works fine but the cables are a bit messy); it may be more convenient to buy a special leadsuch as "Griffin Smartalk Headphone Adapter and Control Mic" for about £5. This adaptor includes amicrophone and small clip that fits a thin bridge or clips to the strings behind the bridge - (this is actuallyintended for adapting other headphones to use with an iPhone). iPod users would need to buy a separatemicrophone as it does not come built in. You can also get an adaptor if you want to use an existing tunermicrophone.How easy is it to use?: The display is a delight bright and clear, mimicking a very expensive bit oflaboratory kit - a pleasure to look at. Changing the temperament and calibration etc. is via a separate options screen and is very straightforward. You select pitches using your finger on the touch sensitivescreen to turn the note wheel with buttons to change octave. “also works with an ipad.You can also use these devices to make live recordings either from the built in microphone or with a higher quality add on microphonesuch as Blue Mikey. A recording programme is already on these devices but you can also buy more sophisticated programmes such asSonoma Wire Works StudioTrack ($40; iTunes link) is a multitrack recording program exclusively for the iPad. Its key featuresinclude multi-track recording, a metronome, an effects rack for each channel, 16-bit (44.1kHz) audio recording, as well as Wi-Fisyncing to import your tracks to any software that supports WAV files.StudioTrack makes good use of the iPad’s touch interface: You can tap and drag to rearrange tracks, for example, and add effects whenyou need them.You can record and manage up to eight tracks at a time, with the ability to bounce (export) and mix tracks. This means you can layer asmany tracks as you need (so you’re not limited to 8).Each channel has an effect rack at its disposal, which includes: Tempo-synched Delay, Compressor, Parametric EQ and Reverb Send.On the Master Channel you have an output Compressor-Limiter and a 4-Band Parametric equalizer, allowing you to fine tune yoursounds on the fly. Like Synth mentioned above, you can use either the iPad’s built-in mic and headphones or a headset/microphone forrecording.The you can store .pdf files of music on your ipad with: iPad Music Score “This is the first of a series of apps which will make theiPad worth having.While you could argue that Kindle or other eBook readers could do an even better job of displaying score sheets, thefact that on the iPad a developer can build an interface optimised for a particular use makes all the difference.To clarify, this software does not allow you to write score, but only to read it. This however is what most players will need to have, in aconvenient interface. The app also offers a visual metronome (clever), and the best part is that instead of using a proprietary format it isbased on standard PDF files. All you need then is to print your music as a pdf file from your favourite software (Finale, Sibelius,Logic, Cubase, they can all print score and it's easy to choose the option to 'print to PDF' from your operating system without the needfor special PDF support from the music software).”Also this software does not play the music. You can however link (or 'bind') the score to a .mp3 file which you have already on theipad. A clever device in this software is the linked metronome which automatically turns the page when the last bar is reached.Amazing Slow Downer is another app. which is very useful. You can repeat any section of the music at full speed, slow it down oreven speed it up by changing the speed between 33% (1/3 of original speed) and 200% (double speed) without changing the pitch!Change the tuning (e.g. A 440-A415) or musical key? No problem, Amazing Slow Downer handles that as well. Setup seamless loopsby touching the "Set" buttons during playback. Amazing Slow Downer is the ideal tool for any musician, transcriber or dancer wantingto improve their skills.Scales & Modes is an interactive visual and audio reference for the diatonic scales and modes that are fundamental in music theory.View major and minor modes on the musical staff, see fingerings for both keyboard and guitar, and listen to the scales note by note, inany key. Diatonic musical scales and modes are one of the fundamental concepts of Western music theory. But the large number ofscales makes learning and remembering them difficult. Scales & Modes is a handy mobile reference guide for viewing and listening toa large number scales and modes, including all the modes of the major, natural minor, and harmonic minor scales. Select a root noteand a scale to display the notes of the scale on the musical staff, and click “Play Scale” to listen. Select the Keyboard or Guitar tabs toview fingering diagrams for the scale on those instruments, and press the info button to see more detail about constructing the scale.If anyone has any experience of these applications or has others which they would like to comment then please let me know and wecan include more in the next newsletter.
PRB Productions The Six Fantasias of Thomas Brewer (b. 1611), for viol quartet (2 trebles, tenor [or bass] and bass; organ ad lib.) are published for thefirst time in this edition by Virginia Brookes: VC078, Score and parts: $30.00Making her editorial debut, co-publisher Leslie Gold has corrected the host of printer's errors in the 1611 edition of Ravenscroft'scollection of rounds, ballad tunes and theater music; now that they can be played and sung, a charming collection of 23 pieces for threeto five voices/instruments is revealed. VC077: Score & parts, $28.00; Score only: $15.00
Saraband Music A new item is on the free downloads page. It's a Bicinium (duet) by Giamberti transposed to suit bass recorders/bass viols/cellos etc.Intermediate standard. 2 pages. Saraband Music has been busy in the last few weeks. The number of CD labels offered has expandedhugely, with over 140 available (including a lot of good gamba music) and more to come. I've been progressively putting pdfcatalogues of the CDs up using the Excel sheets the wholesalers have given me. I'm happy to take orders for anything listed.Meanwhile, a few new gamba editions have been published. SM72 & 73 are English and Celtic folk dances arranged for bass viol. Novocal music this time; just lots of jigs, reels and dances that are loads of fun. Vol 1 has the easier music, while vol 2 is just a little morechallenging. To join them, SM74 is a four part consort by John Mundy. Not the most cheerful of texts, but an interesting addition to thevoices and viols repertoire, and arranged for TrTTB viols. The text is included as always. More details on my website.
Corda Music CMP 409 AIRS de BALLET for 2 viols (continuo ad lib) £9.00 A selection of 27 French baroque dances from the 17th and 18thcenturies by a whole variety of composers including Lully, Daquin, de Visée, Laborde, Dornel, Couperin, Boismortier and others. Themusic is arranged for easy and intermediate levels, as an introduction for less experienced players to French baroque styles. It can beplayed on two viols, melody and bass, with an option to add a keyboard, theorbo, etc from figured bass. The solo part is mostly in altoclef, not going below bottom G, and can be played on a bass viol or tenor viol (if tenor players can read on their sixth string in bassclef). In the score the solo part is in treble clef so that treble viol players can also take the solo part if desired. From the series "FrenchMusic for Viols"CMP 457 SONATA No. 1 for two bass viols - Michel Corrette £3.50 A sonata in four movements from the late French baroque(1773) for solo bass viol with a second bass as accompaniment; keyboard continuo can be extemporized ad lib from a figured bass, butthe music is complete with two basses.
Edition Guntersburg J.-Ph. Rameau Les Suprises de l'amour, transcription for two gambas by Ludwig Christian Hesse. G168. Berlin is a long way fromParis, and Frederick the Great did not allow French opera-ballets in his opera house. If you wanted to hear the latest and mostfashionable items from Paris in eighteenth-century Berlin, you had to play it yourself.
Werner Icking Music Library A vast number of scores of viol music representing some 200 composers (!!) have recently been added by Albert Follop.http://icking-music-archive.org/ByComposer/Folop.phpSome highlights – about 80 Gesulado madrigals arranged for viols (5 parts); about 12 Arcadelt madrigals also 5 part; Seven 3 partfantasies of Bassano; what appears to me to be the entire viol works of Lupo (tooo many to count!!); 17 works of Simon Ives; a largenumber of works for 3, 4 and 5 viols by Coprario; all the 3 part works of Locke; a large number of fantasies and madrigals by OrlandoGibbons. It just goes on and on. All downloadable for free. Do check it out.
Melbourne University – Early Music Studio -Spring Early Music Festival1 – 16 October 2010Les Arts Florissants - Marc-Antoine Charpentier’s chamber opera Les Arts Florissants of 1685
Soloists, Baroque Ensemble & Early Voices of the Early Music Studio dir. Greg Dikmans & Vivien Hamilton Friday 1, 7pm ANDSaturday 2, 5pm, Brunswick Town Hall cnr Sydney Rd & Dawson St Brunswick, $20/$10 conc & seniors
Lo Stile Fantastico - The shock of the new: Music of 17th Century ItalyCapella Corelli: Cynthia O’Brien baroque violin, Ruth Wilkinson recorder/viola da gamba, John O’Donnell harpsichord Sunday 3,3pm, Wyselaskie Auditorium 29 College Cres Parkville - entrance directly opposite main gate to Melbourne Cemetery, $33/$18 conc &seniors
Lunchtime at the Potter - Duets & Trios by Quantz & Vella Greg Dikmans baroque flute, Lucinda Moon baroque violin & members ofthe EMS Baroque Ensemble Thursday 7, 1pm, Ian Potter Museum of Art University of Melbourne Swanson St Carlton, Free eventDialogue - The art of elegant conversation: duos by Blavet, Boismoiter, Hotteterre, Telemann & Quantz
Elysium Ensemble: GregDikmans baroque flute & Lucinda Moon baroque violinFriday 8, 7pm, Wyselaskie Auditorium 29 College Cres Parkville - entrance directly opposite main gate to Melbourne Cemetery,$33/$18 conc & seniorsSyntagma Musicum - Consorts from Germany & Italy by Praetorius, Schutz, Schein & Frescobaldi
EMS Recorder Ensemble dir. Ruth Wilkinson Sunday 10, 3pm, Wyselaskie Auditorium 29 College Cres Parkville - entrance directlyopposite main gate to Melbourne Cemetery, $20/$10 conc & seniorsPulchra es - Renaissance music and improvisations from 16th Century Italy
Satyr’s Band: Andreas Böhlen recorder, Amy Powerrecorder/baroque oboe, Lisa Goldberg baroque bassoon, Takashi Watanabe harpsichord Thursday 14, 7pm, Trinity College ChapelUniversity of Melbourne Royal Pde Parkville, $33/$18 conc & seniors
Spanish & Latin American Piano - Music by Turina, Mompou, Piazzolla & LecuonaDavid Gómez piano Friday 15, 8pm, Melba Hall University of Melbourne Royal Pde Parkville, $33/$18 conc & seniors
Parisian Soirée - Telemann’s Paris Quartets - Telemann Ensemble: Paul Wright baroque violin, Alison Catanach baroque flute, LauraVaughan viola da gamba, Ann Murphy harpsichord
Latitude 37 –
Sydney – The Marais Project Concert 3 - 3.00pm Sunday 24th October - Mosman Art Gallery & Community Centre, Cnr Gallery Way and Myahgah Rd., Mosman.“Across the Channel”–Directed by Jennifer Eriksson and Tommie Andersson”Tickets - $35, $25, $80 (+ booking fee)Our focus is typically French music. In this concert we “cross the channel” to perform some of the greatest English works for lute andviol.Belinda Montgomery – soprano; Fiona Ziegler -baroque violin; Tommie Andersson – lute & theorbo; Jennifer Eriksson & CatherineTabrett – viola da gamba; Shaun Ng – tenor viol
Canberra – Capella Corelli“Lo Stile Fantasico” - music by Castello, Frescobaldi, Fontana, Cima, Marini, Merula and Corelli played by Cynthia O'Brien (baroqueviolin), Ruth Wilkinson (recorders and viol), and John O'Donnell (harpsichord). Thursday September 2 at 6.00 pm University House.Bookings EME – 02 6282 7183 $40/$30.
News from USA and UK
USA – June Newsletter Wendy Gilliespie says in her editorial: “Many of you are aware that our dear friend and fellow gamboon Carol Deihl has had some serious health problems over the pastcouple of years. I am delighted to report that she is much better now, though she and Kim Shrier have decided that it is best that theyrelinquish Boulder Early Music. The good news is that they have relinquished it to Charlie Ogle, who is hard at work re-stocking andrejuvenating it. Boulder Early Music will once again be our full service vendor at Conclave, where Charlie will be assisted by AnthonyAllen. (Charlie had been designated Viol Doctor before all of this arose.)Some of you may be amused (perhaps relieved is a better word) to hear that after many years of concentrating on the treble viol, I havebegun practicing the bass viol again. Some very painful noises, a period of deep depression, and much soul-searching led me to theconclusion that, of course, it was the instrument that was at fault, and I really must get a different one. Subsequent conversations withcolleagues, students and a repair person or two led to a moment of inspiration of mind-blowing proportions: wash the bow and startafresh, altogether a much less expensive solution than buying a new bass viol. And hey, presto—shampoo (no conditioner) did the jobnicely, taking care not to get the stick or any of the plugs wet. More on all this later; the research continues.A trip to the violin shop (or the viol doctor at Conclave) can also be a wonderful thing: get your soundpost adjusted (or have a new onemade); your bridge straightened, cleaned, and re-fitted (or replaced); your pegs working nicely; frets replaced. Put on a new set ofstrings and think of all the money saved not buying a new viol. Then, finally, rush out and make a deposit on an instrument because,after all, you can’t have too many viols, and look how much money you’ve just saved!”There is also an interesting interview with Charlie Ogle:Q. For over thirty years, the Boulder Early Music Shop has provided music and supplies to the Early Music community. Do you plan tocarry on this tradition?A. Boulder is a well-established business. Ruth Harvey started it and ran it from 1979 to 2004 or so, and then Kim Shrier and CarolDeihl had it. They all put a tremendous amount of work into making it what it is. I don’t intend to make any radical changes; my idea isto keep building towards the next thirty years. Certainly some things will change—no business can remain static for long. For instance,there are no graphics on the website, and not much in the way of descriptions. I’m hoping to add pictures and text to a lot of the listings,and there will be a better selection of viols and other string instruments. Eventually all of my Charlie Ogle Workshop instruments willbe available through Boulder.With over 11,000 titles in the catalogue, some will always be going out of print. Some will remain in print but are not of interest toanyone, so some titles will be dropped. And with hundreds of suppliers, there are always new titles being published. The catalogue hasbeen growing for thirty years—things are always being added or deleted. That will continue. So, there will be changes in the catalogue,but that is not a change in the business. It’s just more of the sameQ. Will you be paying special attention to viol music?A. Absolutely! BEMS has always had a broad inventory, and I intendto keep that. But I have a particular interest in viols and that part of BEMS will get a bit more attention than it did in the past. BEMSalready has one of the largest catalogues of viol music in the country. I’m aiming to add new titles and to dramatically increase thepercentage of titles that are now in stock.UK - The Viol Summer 2010The next meeting of the Viola da Gamba Society will be held in London on September 11. It is a joint meeting with the Lute Societyand the main event will be a recital by Rosemary Hodgson (Yes – the one from Melbourne!) playing music by Ferrabosco, Robinson,Dowland and others. There will also be talk by David van Edwards (whose bows Patrice used to sell) on the 12 course lute in art andlife.An amusing item is in response to a plea for 'vegan' viol strings. Apparently you can make strings from unwaxed dental floss using anelectric drill to twist them around each other! See http://www.viola-da-gamba.org/images/stories/pdf/kroenung.pdf There is a long and informative article by Clive Tolley on arranging a viol course. Interestingly he was inspired to organise the weekendby Ibi who he says: “who was universally agreed to excel both in his musical talent and in his tutorial skills”. He goes on to discuss the problems of fixing a price when the number of attendees is very uncertain and also of choosing repertoire. Here I agree with hiscomments:The course should consist partly of set repertoire, whilst allowing people to be more spontaneous for some sessions. The desire to fixsome of the repertoire has admittedly been my own crusading point: I think the common practice of leaving things entirely open needsto be balanced sometimes with a more fixed approach, giving people an idea of what to expect.He wished to do some Lawes as it was to be held in Chester where Lawes a was killed, they also chose some music of Brads which wasfree on the web but without the alto clef parts for tenors. However these were specially provided bythe editor of the music. Also theyneeded to photocopy the Lawes and so sought, and got, permission from Faber to make the copies.The final weekend a great success despite the Iceland volcano erupting the day before the course started!There is the review of a major new book on the Baryton – A History of the Baryton and its Music: King of Instruments, Instrument ofKings by Carol Gartrell published by Scarecrow Press in Maryland in 1999. 281 pages (available from Amazon USA for about$115.00). This comprehensive work is the result of over 30 years study and seeks to correct the erroneous impression that the barytonwas redistricted to the Esterhazy court under Haydn. Jenkins, Steoffkins and Finger are included as other composers for the instrument.The history of the instrument is well covered and includes the apparently speculative conclusion that it was developed in England around 1608/9.Another review is of some two volumes of sonatas and partitas for 2 viols and continuo by Kuhnel published by PRB. These areattractive pieces with the sonatas being in sections while the partitas are short dance movements. The second viol part is the continuopart and as such is simpler.
A group of viol players from southern NSW have started meeting at irregular intervals for aday of consort playing at Berrima in the Southern Highlands. The old Anglican Church as afine acoustic as does the adjacent Church Hall and we have successfully used both. Thenext get together is planned for September 12 and music by Mico, Coprario, Deering,Jenkins and Parsons is being prepared.Joan Milner, Richard Milner, David Norton, Glenice Norton and Di Ford playing viols inthe Berrima Church Hall.
International Viol Summer School, Hitchin, July 17-22, 2010
There has to be some compensation for leaving beautiful Australia and one of them is definitely Alison's 5 day viol course at LittleBenslow, Hitchin - a delightful Hertfordshire town. I went with a great deal of trepidation fearing I would be a weak link (which Isuspect I was) but fortunately I had spoken to Alison earlier and she had encouraged me to attend. What was mildly reassuring was thatthere were two other tutors there (besides Alison and Roy) who had an idea of my level - Ibi Aziz and Peter Wendland, both of whom Ialready knew to be fine tutors. Alison and Roy on the other hand were new to me so I was more apprehensive about them. However,each proved to be excellent , and Roy particularly succeeded in putting me at my ease mostly with his quirky sense of humour.The format is not dissimilar to the Australian Easter viol School the main difference being that it is a residential course. Mass play inthe evenings (we were about 22 players) is a splendid addition. Peter did a magnificent Voices and Viols, Ibi put on a massed version of6-part Lawes which worked remarkably well and Roy took us through one of his own compositions which was movingly beautiful.The general level is high as it is aimed at advanced players. This of course was, though stressful, very advantageous to me. Chieflywhat it helped me to recognise, above all else, is that, musically, being in the right place at the right time is not enough. The tuitionhelped me to be more aware of my deficiencies in technique and I learned plenty to incorporate into my practise. Hopefully as a result,next year when again I have to leave Australia, I will hold my head higher; it is a course I would not wish to miss.
Viol Trivia – Anne Ford
A recent Early Music Show (BBC – podcast from the web) on Gainsborough I found most interesting. He painted a famous portrait ofAbel with his viol and apparent was a good friend of Abel's. He took lessons on the viol from Abel. Another pupil of Abel and friend ofGainsborough was Anne Ford. She also had her portrait painted and was thought to be the 'last' viol player in England. She was a mostinteresting person as the following article from Wikipedia shows:Anne or Ann Ford, after 1762 Mrs. Philip Thicknesse, (22 February 1737 - 20 January 1824) was an 18th-century English musician andsinger, famous in her time for a scandal that attended her struggle to perform in public. Some aspects of Anne Ford's life are notuntypical of talented and ambitious women in the traditional society of 18th-century England, but she gained more education than most.She had a knowledge of five foreign languages and played several fretted string instruments, including the lute-like English guitar andthe viola da gamba. This gave her a chance to perform privately with others at home, but her father, Thomas Ford, refused to allow herto perform publicly. This became irksome to her in her early twenties, but her earliest attempts to appear in public were unsuccessful;her father went so far as to have her arrested twice to prevent her escaping his control. Eventuallyshe made a successful escape, andheld her first public subscription concert on March 18, 1760. She performed a series of subsequent concerts, including dailyperformances from Oct. 24 through Oct. 30 of that year, though her playing on the "masculine" viol da gamba, comparable to a modemcello, was considered a further point of controversy.Ford's situation was further complicated by the an infatuated lover, the Earl of Jersey, who offered her £800 a year to be to his mistress.When she refused, Lord Jersey tried to sabotage her initial public concert, but she earned £15 from it nonetheless. In 1761 she publisheda pamphlet, A Letter from Miss F-d to a Person of Distinction, defending her position. This in turn provoked a pamphlet from the Earl,A Letter to Miss F-d The brief pamphlet war between them differed in subject and tone from others conducted in that era.On 27 September 1762, she became the third wife of Philip Thicknesse, so gaining greater social standing and acceptance.She and her husband were travelling to Italy in 1792 when Thicknesse died suddenly inBoulogne and his wife was imprisoned during the Reign of Terror in the French Revolution.After the execution of Maximilian Robespierre in July 1794, she was released under a generalpardon for all prisoners who could prove that they could earn their living; her professionstood her in good stead.In 1800 Anne Ford published an autobiographical roman aclef entitled The School forFashion, which included many public figures of the day in thin disguise. She herselffeatured as "Euterpe."After two centuries, she is perhaps best remembered as the subject of one of ThomasGainsborough's 'acknowledged masterpieces, painted in 1760 and later known as his"Portrait of Mrs. Philip Thicknesse, nee Anne Ford."There is an interesting article about the portrait and Ann Ford by Judith Davidoff in theJournal of the VdGSA, vol. 30, p 51-66 1993).
Viol Tryout at Esk
Patrice Connelly, Saraband Music
On Tuesday 20 July, I packed up the car with my treble, tenor and bass viols and headed to Esk, having been invited by the EskCommunity Choir to give a workshop. None of the Choir had tried the viola da gamba before, so I gave them a brief history, discussedthe differences between viols and the violin family, played a little, and showed the breadth of repertoire by playing a number of CDs.Then it was on for young and old, as 13 members of the Choir took it in turns to try the viols. I was kept very busy adjusting bow holdsand instruments and answering questions. I’m very grateful to Alexis Fitzgerald and her Choir for inviting me, and welcoming me sowarmly. My next try-out session will be at Reesville, near Maleny on 7 th August, followed by a Brisbane workshop soon after. Lookout for concerts by the Esk Community Choir, who are busy raising funds to replace music, costumes and sets destroyed when the Lyceum Theatre, burned down recently.
|Last Updated on Thursday, 13 January 2011 06:42|