Today we began. The studio’s acoustic is great for our gut-strung instruments and the blend and balance were instantly successful. A good start!
The first step was to establish our identity as a trio of 17th century musicians, so we played through the following repertoire from the 1600’s :-
Pandolfi Mealli: opus 4 sonata 4 “La Biancuccia” and opus 3 sonata 2 “La Cesta” (1660)
Schop: Lachrimae Pavan (1590-1667)
Marini: Romanesca opus 3, Venice 1620
Cazzati: Balletto & Corrente no 3, 1662
…all of these informed each other and the fundamental sound of the Trio began to crystallise .
We then paid a visit to the 18th century with the andante second movement of Bach’s c.1730 violin concerto in A minor (BWV1041). This movement will require a bit of tweaking and will be quite different from its usual orchestral identity. But lovely. Our 17th-century selves found it very luxurious…
After that we stopped off briefly in the last century for a bit of local colour, the ballad “Dublin Bay” c.1920 which begins
“He sailed away in a gallant bark, Roy Neil and his fair young bride.
He had ventured all in that bounding oak that dashed o’er the silver tide.
But his heart was young and his spirit light and he dashed the tear away
As he watched the shores recede from sight, of his own sweet Dublin Bay”
and ends with a shipwreck. Our 17th-century selves attempted to regroup it from 6/8 to 3/4, identifying it as a passacalle, and decided to sleep on it.
Then after yesterday’s tragic news, a 20th-century visit was paid to David Bowie’s Life on Mars (1971) which we intend to respectfully fashion as a lament. It is well suited to this function by virtue of its repeating descending bassline reminiscent of countless laments, notably for Purcell’s Dido. (Bowie is here pictured with a viola da gamba, from the film The Hunger.)
Lastly, we looked at a new work (2016!) provisionally entitled Depth & Light. I derived the themes for this piece from the depth markings and the lighthouse characteristics as recorded on the navigational chart for DunLaoghaire Harbour. We workshopped it a bit and took it away to do a bit of homework.
- Malachy 12/1/16