How is it that I never heard of Petr Wagner, the Czech viol player in this video? This is the best concert I’ve seen online in a very long time.
Gottfried Finger (c1660-1730) was a Moravian composer and viol player from Olomouc, in the present-day Czech Republic. He secured a gig in the court of James II of England, where his first name became “Godfrey.” Around the time that James was overthrown in the Revolution of 1688, Mr. Finger set out on his own as a composer of operas. He died in Mannheim, Germany.
Following on last Saturday’s videos, here are some Haydn trios for the baryton, viola, and cello. The baryton is a bass viola da gamba with plucked strings concealed in the back of the neck. A skilled performer can bow the instrument in the usual way while also plucking the concealed strings with the left thumb.
We’re told that the baryton is also called viola di pardone because of a charming story that the inventor was a condemned prisoner who won a pardon for devising this unusual viol.
The modern revival of the baryton began with the instrument in the following video: a 1934 copy of a richly decorated eighteenth-century original. This baryton is now in the collection of the Orpheon Foundation, Vienna, Austria, and it has its own webpage. It’s one of the best looking instruments, of any kind, that I’ve ever seen. Continue reading →
I haven’t posted any music videos in a while, so here’s an entire baroque concert. It’s the baroque portion of a program presented by Jordi Savall (viola da gamba) and members of his ensemble Hespèrion XXI.
The stock tune “La follia” (also called “las folias,” “les folies d’Espagne,” etc.) is a theme of this concert. Countless musicians improvised on this simple Iberian melody, which evoked a mood of passionate longing. There’s an entire website devoted to this “most lasting and famous tune in western music.” This MIDI file plays the Follia theme by itself.
Antonio Martín y Coll: Diferencias sobre las folias
Jordi Savall performs variations on the Follia theme for viola da gamba. This Spanish piece dates from the early 1700s. Note the rhythmic back-and-forth between the viol and castanets in the last diferencia. Continue reading →
I’m in awe of this concert by Jordi Savall in Italy. The music is French, including something by Marin Maraisby English composer Tobias Hume. And I’ll shut up now.
UPDATE: There are three pieces by Hume.
I don’t know the title of the first one.
“A Soldier”s Resolution” (4:55), with several section headings that the performer is supposed to read aloud, as Savall does here. The sections evoke marching, the sound of trumpets, the charge, and the “march away.”