Saturday baroque, feat. the baryton

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 “Saturday baroque, feat. the baryton”

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Haydn’s Dire Straits Mass

No, it’s not liturgical music by Mark Knopfler & Co. “Dire Straits Mass” is my translation of the title of Haydn’s Missa in angustiis, written during one of the bleakest years of Napoleon’s war on the Germans (abetted by other Germans). I’ve been listening appreciatively to the recording by the American Bach Soloists out of […]