- AGM 2008
- Report on Easter Viol School
- Easter Viol School - Some thoughts
- Tips on Bowing from Louis Begin's Class
- Workshops in Armidale 2008
- New editions of printed music
- CD review
- News from the UK and USA Societies
- Ironwood Workshop
- Beechworth Consortium
Report on the Easter Viol School 2008
An early Easter with accompanying warm weather made for a very pleasant number?... Viol School this year. Twenty two devotees of this beautiful instrument gathered... with their tutors, at M.L.C School in Burwood, western Sydney for this event... four days of playing... learning, listening and catching up with old friends from previous get togethers.
Our tutors were Shaun Ng, Jenny Eriksson, Caroline Downer, and the outstanding, colourful performer and bowmaker from Quebec, Louis Begin.
Our mornings began with two hours of technique with our group tutors, this tackled problems with bowing, posture, bad habits and fingering. We discussed practice routines, and even the finer points of which trousers were most suitable for maximum grip on the instrument.
Our morning teas were also instructive, Cathy Tabrett had organized the very small space admirably. With.teas, coffee, fruit and high energy biscuits accompanying our enthusiastic discussions on many aspects of work in progress at the school. We also had the opportunity to purchase sheet music, CDs and AVdGS Tee shirts.(Out they go for $10.00).At lunchtimes small impromptu groups sprang up in store rooms and hallways, everyone glad of the chance to play with so many others. Conversations were lively... especially when Louis was around.
The middle session was spent with our tutors, in groups of 6 or 8, playing our consort music. Some of the work we studied was.... Tomkins, du Caurroy, Jenkins, Coprario, Dowland and Holbourne. To our sheer delight, we were mostly playing our own parts... not doubling. Well done Richard for such a feat of musical organization. We worked on these for four days tackling phrasing, intonation and bowing for our small demo. concert at the end of the school.
The tutors concert was a treat indeed. Held in the acoustically excellent MLC Chapel over the road from the Music Centre, Jenny Eriksson,Louis Begin, Shaun Ng, Caroline Downer,Viols, Timothy Chung.. Countertenor and Chris Berensen harpsichord, performed marvels. The programme of Dowland,leSieur de Machy, Marais,Boismortier, and Chris Berensens own composition Huygens.... commissioned specially for this Easter Viol School, was truly inspirational, and showed us what passion... and practise can produce. Thank you all so much.
One afternoon Louis gave us an informative and highly entertaining lesson on bow making. Louis and his son Emmanuel live in Quebec, near forests where bears and large moose can be found. The temperatures in winter are often around 20 degrees below freezing... a very good excuse to stay inside... watch the bears outside and make beautiful bows in a cosy workshop. Louis had brought several dozen bows for sale, some even adorned with mammoth ivory frogs. This "ivory" comes from the tusks of remains of mammoths, frozen in the glaciers of Northern Canada for anything up to 60,000 years. Why waste it? Louis certainly puts it to good use.The bows are mostly made from Pernambuco wood... very strong and light, but unfortunately becoming hard to get and therefore expensive. Several of us bought ourselves a new bow as the workshop progressed... and I for one was amazed at the difference it made to wielding the bow effectively.
Monday afternoon saw the final clean up and departure routine. Always a sad time, but our aching backs and tired brains told us it was time for a rest. We thank Karen Carey for making her beloved music department at MLC available... and also the Chapel and rooms for refreshment beside it for the concert. We thank our tutors for their commitment and passion... for their artistic skills and tutorage. Amateurs we may be... but let us not forget that the heart and soul of musical culture in a society comes from us "amateurs"... literally translated from the French.. as "lovers of"....in this case the beautiful and historic Viol.
Post Script..Louis came to stay with us in the Southern Highlands for several days after the Viol School..He went home to Canada feeling very happy because he had seen a Kangaroo, been to the beach.(in this case Kiama)..and bought an akubra hat, whh he has worn nearly every day since.
J.F. Ruhe - Sonatas for Viola da Gamb and Continuo played by Sandor Szaszvarosi (viola da gamba), Kousay Kadduri (baroque cello) and Angelika Csizmadia (harpsichord)
Hungaroton HCD 32455 Obtainable from Amazon.com
Johann Friedrich Rule (1699-1776) is almost unknown today and this recoding is a World Premier recording of his total surviving known output! He appointed Kapellmeister of Magdelburg Cathedral in 1733 where he spent the rest of his working life, dying in 1776. The 5 works for viola da gamba all survive in manuscript in the Thuringian State Archives in Germany. It is thought they were composed between 1740 and 1750 and are in typically late baroque style. The first two works are 3 movement 'solos' for viola da gamba and continuo in the slow-moderate-fast 3 movement form. The longest work on the disc (20 minutes) is a suite scored unusually for viola da gamba and cello consisting of 8 short dance movements. Finally there are two 4 movement sonatas (slow-fast-slow-fast).
The music is very persuasively performed and recorded. I was particularly impressed by the balance which allows all 3 instruments to be clearly heard. The fine viola da gamba played by Sandor Szaszvarosi has a good rich tone and provides much subtle variation in sound. The music is tuneful and immediately appealing. If you like exploring the byways of baroque music then I can thoroughly recommend this CD.
October Consortium at Beechworth
As discussed at the recent AGM in Sydney, the Society is hoping to organise a Consortium to be held at the La Trobe University facility at Beechworth in northern Victoria over the October (for NSW) long weekend. The aim is to have a residential school (probably self catering) over the weekend of October 4-6. We aim to play on Saturday and Sunday and may also have enough people to also play on Friday and Monday. John Weretka is the 'local' organiser in Victoria. If you are interested then please contact me or John
. It is still too early to provide any details