Before the string quartet with instruments of the violin family became the royal genre of chamber music, the viola da gamba or the polyphonic viol consort prevailed in large parts of Europe. The beginnings of this important instrumental formation can be traced back to around 1500. The driving force behind its development seems to have been Jewish musicians who were expelled from the Iberian peninsula after 1492 and found a home in Italy and in northern Alpine countries. Already in the early 16th century, a group of these players arrived in England at the court of Henry VIII and had a lasting effect there. England thus became a centre of viol playing and above all of the consort repertoire, which in terms of variety and compositional complexity need not fear comparison with the later string quartet.
Starting from three instrument sizes (treble, alto/tenor, bass), the most varied compositions in different instrumentation sizes and genres were created. These include early instrumental forms such as the recercar, the fantasia or dance forms as well as vocal models from the sacred and secular realms, which were "intabulated" for the instruments or used as source material for purely instrumental works. The predominant imitative counterpoint (later it lived on above all in the "fugue") formed the centre of the compositional art.
These complex relationships are reflected in the consort programme of HESPÈRION XXI, with a clear emphasis on the English works. We experience a cross-section of this unique instrumental culture of Europe, condensed into a programme of just over an hour.
HESPÈRION XXI with its director Jordi Savall has its origins at the Schola Cantorum Basiliensis. We are delighted to welcome one of the most famous ensembles of early music with its equally iconic leader back to its former artistic home after a long time.
Participants and additional information:
Philippe Pierlot - treble and bass viol
Lixsiana Fernández - tenor viola da gamba
Lorenz Duftschmid - bass viola da gamba
Note: This text was translated by machine translation software and not by a human translator. It may contain translation errors.
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We are giving away 1 set of 2 entries to the Kunstmuseum Basel and a dinner at the Safran Zunft.