19 tracks - MP3 192 Kbps - RAR 113 Mb
This disc presents a programme of music from the three countries where in the 16th and 17th centuries the viola da gamba was most popular: Spain, France and England. All pieces are based on bassi ostinati, musical patterns which are repeated throughout a musical composition. Several names refer to such patterns; one of them is La Gamba which gave this disc its title.
These patterns all find their origin in the renaissance, but they were used well into the 18th century. The programme's thread are compostions by two exponents of composing music based on bassi ostinati: Diego Ortiz and Christopher Simpson.
Ortiz was one of Spain's most prominent composers of the 16th century. His recercadas are part of his treatise Trattado de glosas sobre clausulas y otros generos de puntos en la musica de violones. The term violones refer to the viola da gamba, but his treatise could be used by any instrumentalist who wanted to extend his knowledge about ornamentation. The second part contains eight recercadas for viola da gamba and keyboard over bassi ostimati. All of them have been included in this programme.
Christopher Simpson was one of England's most virtuosic viol players and the most important writer on music. In 1659 he published The Division-Violist, or An Introduction to the Playing upon a Ground, which was reprinted in 1665 under the title The Division-viol. The third part of this treatise is devoted to "The Method of ordering Division to a Ground". Included are a number of pieces for viola da gamba solo (the Preludes played here) and for viola da gamba with basso continuo (the Grounds).
The third country which is represented here is France, where the popularity of the viola da gamba lasted longer than in England and Spain. Until the middle of the 18th century composers continued to write music for it, despite the strong competition of the 'Italian' instruments violin and cello. At that time Marin Marais had already died. He was generally considered one of the greatest gambists of his time. He published five books of pieces for viola da gamba and bc, between 1686 and 1725. The second book of 1701 includes the Folies d'Espagne, a series of 32 couplets on one of the most popular ground basses of the baroque era, La Folia.
The other great gambist of that time was Antoine Forqueray, who was a different personality and who - unlike Marais - wanted to incorporate Italian influences into his compositions. The latter word is not quite correct, though, as he never published any of his works. He emphasized the importance of improvisation, and didn't like to play fixed music. The only pieces by Forqueray are those which were published by his son Jean-Baptiste. But musicologists are still not sure as yet whether these are really by Antoine, or rather by his son, who pretended them being written by his father. From this oeuvre we get a chaconne, one of the most popular forms in French music in the 17th and early 18th centuries. Many suites included a chaconne, and no opera could do without at least one.
Johan van Veen (© 2011)
1 - Recercada Primera (Passamezzo Antiguo) - Diego Ortiz
2 - Recercada Secunda (Passamezzo Moderno) - Diego Ortiz
3 - Prelude in D major - Christopher Simpson
4 - Ground in D major - Christopher Simpson
5 - Prelude in A minor - Christopher Simpson
6 - Ground in A minor - Christopher Simpson
7 - Recercada Quarta (La Gamba) - Diego Ortiz
8 - Recercada Ottava (La Gamba) - Diego Ortiz
9 - Folies d'espagne - Marin Marais
10 - Recercada Quinta (Passamezzo Antiguo) - Diego Ortiz
11 - Prelude in G minor - Christopher Simpson
12 - Ground in G major - Christopher Simpson
13 - Prelude in E minor - Christopher Simpson
14 - Ground in E minor - Christopher Simpson
15 - Quinta pars (La Ruggiero) - Diego Ortiz
16 - Recercada Tercera (Passamezzo Moderno) - Diego Ortiz
17 - Chaconne - Antoine Forqueray / Jean-Baptiste Forqueray
18 - Recercada Sesta (La Romanesca) - Diego Ortiz
19 - Recercada Settima (La Romanesca) - Diego Ortiz
Mika Suihkonen, Viola da Gamba
Ballo Della Battalia
Maija Lampela, viola da gamba
Eero Palviainen, lute, guitar
Stefanos Hirvonen, Jarmo Julkunen, guitar
Andrew Lawrence-King, harp, guitar
Annamari Pölhö, harpsichord
Ricardo Padilla, percussion