- 25th National Easter Viol School
- Introducing Judith Davidoff
- In Memoriam: Pat Herold
- State Reports
- Letter from Basel
- The Score
- Voices and Viols Project
- Ben Hall
- CD Review: Practising Time And Art
- Where's the Action?
- AVdGS Members Shop
25th National Easter Viol School
The dates are April 9 to 12, 2004 and this year's workshop is in Melbourne at Canterbury Girls Secondary College, Mangarra Road, Canterbury.
It's being run by the Early Music Society of Victoria. The convenor is Victoria Watts, and you can email her on
or phone (03) 9489 7929.
Tutors for this Easter are Judith Davidoff from New York, Danny Yeadon from Sydney, and Melbourne teachers Miriam Morris and Ruth Wilkinson. There will also be a public concert. All standards will be catered for.
Participants must be (or become) members of either EMSV or AVdGS.
Please note that enrolments close on 26th March 2004, and late enrolments will incur a $40 fee. Forms have been sent to most players by now, but you can always download the information as a pdf file from the Events page of the AVdGS website, or contact Victoria to ask for a form to be sent.
In Memoriam: Pat Herold
Pat Herold died during emergency surgery for bowel cancer at midnight on 11th January 2004. She had been ill for some time, particularly since returning to Sydney after a birdwatching trip following the last Easter Viol School in Brisbane.
Pat had an amazingly diverse life. She had many passions, including social justice issues, teaching English, bridge (her late husband was a serious bridge player) and at the time she died, she was studying Ancient Greek at university. She was an only child; a confirmed atheist who was sympathetic to Buddhism. Her first job was at Rockdale Library in Sydney's south. At the time of the Tienanmin Square massacre, Pat was in China teaching English at the People's University, and when thrown out soon after by the Chinese government, she returned after 6 weeks to make sure that all of her students were accounted for, and did all she could to assist them. Luckily they had all survived.
She played cello for many years, then discovered the viol which she learned from me for several years, being a most dedicated pupil. I could set the time on my watch by the arrival of her red car outside the window each week. She had the most amazing knack of extending exercises to include all possible permutations of whatever I was trying to teach, and she also was determined to be able to play every single scale - even things like Db melodic minor over three octaves on her tenor viol. It was a different scale each week.
Pat liked to share, including bottles of red wine. She was often very generous and helped many people. She was a "surrogate grandmother" at the local primary school and helped children learn to read. As well as being a guide at Old Government House in Parramatta, she was a frequent attendee at concerts and workshops, and played at many voices and viols sessions. She loved travelling (and had been planning a trip to Greece this year) and bushwalking as well as birdwatching. She will be sadly missed by AVdGS members. When AVdGS was started in 2000, Pat was the first person to make a donation to start off our bank account.
Mourners at her funeral included Rod Byatt, Meg Corlette, John Cunningham, Bernadette Masters, Lucy Blomfield, Rosemary Parle, and Madeleine and Neville Olliffe from EMA of NSW.
(with much assistance from John Cunningham)
Practising Time and Art. Viola da gamba music by Riehman, Hacquart, Schenck, Snep.
't Uitnement Kabinet (Johannes Boer, Erik Beijer - viols, Nuno Miranda - theorbo/bar. guitar, Patrick Ayrton - harpsichord and organ). NM Classics. MCCL92111. Recorded 2002
Any CD which presents less familiar repertoire for the viola da gamba is most welcome. This CD does so, and with taste and panache to spare. The ensemble 't Uitnement Kabinet was in fact formed in 1999 specifically in order to showcase Dutch gamba music of the "Golden Age" (mid to late 17th century). The name of the group is that of a 1649 publication by Paulus Matthijsz. While a few recordings of Schenck's music have appeared, this is the first I've seen with music by Snep and Riehman.
The CD begins with Sonata II in d minor, by Jacob Riehman. It's from his op. 1, published in Amsterdam, 1710. This is undoubtedly good repertoire that should be heard, and there are five more sonatas in op. 1 which should no doubt also be explored by all gamba professionals. This sonata for solo bass viol and continuo is in 5 movements: Preludio (Largo - Allegro - Adagio), Allemanda, Corrente, Sarabanda and Giga. The Preludio starts with an improvisatory largo, in which we hear the gamba accompanied by theorbo and continuo gamba. The harpsichord enters when the Allegro begins which is a nice change to the texture. In the Giga movement one hears the baroque guitar which gives the whole movement a lift. The music shows an interesting blend of influences - one can hear echoes of Schenck, but also of Marais. The otherwise informative sleeve notes say very little about Riehman, but a check of the New Grove entry offers the alternative spelling of Richmann, and says he died after 1720. Apparently works other than his op. 1 have been lost. He was employed as a chamber musician in the service of the Princess of Orange, and later to the Elector of Hessen-Kassel.
This Sonata is followed by Carel Hacquart's Suite X in a minor, again a series of dances. It appears that Mr Boer has reconstructed the continuo and it is most successful. This Suite comes from a set of twelve, Hacquart's op. 3, published in The Hague in 1686. Carel was the brother of Philip Hacquart, whose solo bass viol music has been recently published. Again one hears the French influence, but with the Dutch restraint as well. The five movements are the same as in the Riehman Sonata, and I found the opening Preludium to be a particularly lovely piece, though the whole suite is definitely worth seeking out and performing. I heard some most interesting modulations.
The next work by Schenck was the only one which is familiar to me, being the Sonata in a minor, from L'echo du Danube, op. 9, published in 1704. The only thing is, there are two Sonatas in a minor in that book; one is accompanied and one isn't. Having performed both of these works myself, the fact that Mr Boer draws on both sonatas for the work on this CD was immediately obvious. The two Largo movements are unaccompanied, and are in fact the same short Aria-Largo section from the solo sonata. The second movement is in fact the fourth Vivace - Lento - Vivace movement of the accompanied Sonata. His last Giga movement is the second movement of that same sonata. While the performance is excellent, and I have no quarrel with recombining the movements to make a new whole, I do feel that it would have been better to be a little more accurate in the movement descriptions, and to say more precisely what had been done. I couldn't see mention of it in the notes.
The Sonate I in d minor by Johan Snep (1656-1719) follows and has a wonderful Vivace first movement with a fanfare-like opening. The six movements are Vivace, Baletto, Courante, Gavotte, Sarabande and Gigue, and once again this is excellent music which is beautifully performed. The Sonata is from his op. 1, published in 1700.
Another Schenck finishes the disc: Sonata XV in F major, from Tyd en konst-oeffeningen, op. 2, published in 1688. This is a welcome key change from all the a minor and d minor on the rest of the disc. The opening Adagio with gamba and organ is wonderfully lyrical, and is followed by a dignified and pleasing Allemande. But the main movement in this Sonata is a terrific Chaconne. I particularly liked the way that the last sections of it were performed very quietly which allowed some beautiful continuo work to come through. I heard one very slightly dodgy high note in this movement, which did nothing at all to spoil my enjoyment of it.
The disc is well presented. The packaging may be common in Europe, but I hadn't seen this style before, where the booklet is glued into the cardboard cover. The notes are in five languages, and the informative essay by Mr Boer is worth reading, though I'd have liked more information about the pieces on the disc. There is a photo of the four performers included, but it would have been nice to learn details of the instruments played, and confirmation that Mr Boer is the soloist in all of the works, as this is not stated. The cover just gives the ensemble name.
I was going to comment that just under 56 minutes, the CD is slightly on the short side, but in fact it is not. The surprise is that there is a CD ROM presentation also on the disc. It is not without its problems, however, as the file extensions were mostly not recognised by my computer, and most of it appears to be in Dutch which I do not read. However, I did find a directory full of html files which did (mostly) open up in my browser. There are a number of pictures of old instruments and their labels which are certainly an excellent resource for viol players. That was a nice surprise.
I would certainly recommend this disc for its excellent ensemble performance, relatively unfamiliar repertoire and its extra little multimedia gift.