Denis Arnold Hall, St Aldate's, Music Faculty, Oxford OX1 1DB
The Lübeck School of Viola da Gamba Players - Gambists before and around Buxtehude’s time
Study day led by Simone Eckert of Hamburger Ratsmusik with the AGM of the Viola da Gamba Society
Saturday 22 April Denis Arnold Hall, Faculty of Music, University of Oxford, St Aldates, Oxford OX1 1DB
Simone writes: Our first musical associations concerning the Northern German Hansa town of Lübeck are quite likely to be Dieterich Buxtehude and the organ music of his sphere. But his work bears some mystery concerning the viola da gamba. For whom did he write the complex trio sonatas? Why is his sonata for solo viol so different and so much more simple than his works dedicated to the stylus phantasticus?
If we consider all the evidence, hints, and even the smallest fragments about the viola da gamba in Lübeck, we find a mosaic showing the tradition and the development of the viol and its literature in a Hansa town of the 17th century. The Ratsmusician as a multi-instrumentalist, an experienced musician on both wind and string instruments, had to become a specialist on the viol. Correspondingly, the virtuosity of the works for viol increases. The multitude of material from the town archives, such as contemporary reports, applications, brevets and of course the remaining compositions help us to show the superior quality of the viol literature from Buxtehude’s sphere.
Details of the timetable are yet to be decided, but the likelihood is that there will be a morning lecture, a recital in the early afternoon, and then a masterclass, for either soloists or consorts. Please contact our meetings organiser, Rhiannon Evans (contact details on page 2) if you would like to participate in the masterclass, as a soloist or a consort.
The VdGS AGM will take place during the lunch break.
Asked at the age of eight what she wanted to be when she grew up, Simone Eckert answered ‘a gambist’.
Admonitions to take up a sensible profession had no effect on her, and today she is a freelance musician in Hamburg. Since taking her degree in early music at the Schola Cantorum in Basle (1990) she has worked as a gambist, artistic director, concert agent and manager of her ensemble Hamburg Ratsmusik, musicologist, editor of newly-rediscovered music for the viola da gamba, and a music teacher at the Conservatory of Hamburg. She appears at all major festivals in Germany and many other European countries.
The Hamburg Ratsmusik is an ensemble with a 500-year history, giving rise to a creative dialogue between tradition and the present day, early music and vibrant performance. The ensemble’s beginnings date back to the 16th century. Following the precept ‘To the honour of God and for the pleasure, delight and benefit of Hamburg’, the city invested in an elite ensemble of eight town musicians to compete with the many similar ensembles at princely courts. It reached its first zenith in the 17th and 18th centuries under such leading musicians as William Brade, Johann Schop, Georg Philipp Telemann and CPE Bach. Revived in 1991 by the gambist Simone Eckert, the Hamburg Ratsmusik now gives concerts in Germany and many other countries in Europe. The ensemble has released some 30 CDs for CPO, Carus, NCA, Christophorus, Thorofon, audite and Phoenix Austria, usually with world première recordings of early music, and made recordings with all the German and Austrian broadcasters to document its major rediscoveries of music from the Renaissance, Baroque and Classical eras. In 2006 and 2010 it received the Echo Klassik Award.
Please note that parking is difficult in Oxford. If you are unable to come on the bus or train, you should park at the Redbridge P&R and take a bus into town (get off in Speedwell Street, basically opposite the Music Faculty)
Details of future VdGS Meetings
Summer 2017 Meeting will be in June (date tbc) in Nottingham, with Tudor Partbooks Project
Our meetings are free to members, but a small charge or donation is requested from non-members.