Paolo Pandolfo and Thomas Boysen present concert and master classes at Collection of Musical Instruments

By Susan Thompson, curator

The Italian viola da gamba virtuoso Paolo Pandolfo was joined by the masterful Norwegian lutenist and guitarist Thomas C. Boysen in a concert at the Collection of Musical Instruments on Sunday, 27 February 2011.

Their program, which was entitled La Viole Luthée, featured “musical conversations” in the Renaissance style (an improvised fantasia, an improvisation on a cantus firmus, and an improvisation on a ground) that were followed by music of the French composers Le Sieur St. Colombe (ca. 1640-1700?) and Marin Marais (ca. 1656-1728), both of whom were highly skilled and greatly admired players of the viola da gamba in their day.

According to Pandolfo, the bass viola da gamba was “the instrument of choice for improvisation in the sixteenth century” because, “if mastered in the bravura and sprezzatura styles, [it] could move through all the registers of polyphony… Excellent violists such as Oratio Bassani, Ricardo Rogniono, Girolamo dalla Casa, and Claudio Monteverdi developed an amazing talent for improvising on harmonic grounds, plain chants, and madrigals.”

Shortly after the concert, Pandolfo and Boysen presented separate master classes on their respective instruments. School of Music students in attendance were awed by the pair’s artistry, many observing that their imaginative and introspective powers were exceptional. All marveled at the musicians’ attention to detail and the means through which they were able to explore the tonal parameters of their instruments.

Both Boysen and Pandolfo stressed the importance of utilizing harmonic (as opposed to metric) rhythm when establishing compositional structure and determining linear flow; and both reiterated a fundamental basic to all music making: Every note has a beginning, middle and end, but no two notes need be played the same. MORE

Published March 15, 2011
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YSM guitarists perform at Norfolk’s Infinity Hall

Guitarists from the Yale School of Music will perform a Guitar Extravaganza at Infinity Hall on Sunday, April 3, at 1 pm. Infinity is located in Norfolk, in northwest Connecticut, across the road from the campus of the Norfolk Chamber Music Festival.

The guitarists, all students of Benjamin Verdery, will perform music from across the centuries. Many of the pieces on the program are transcriptions or arrangements by the guitarists themselves.

Baroque works on the program include the Prelude from Bach’s Sixth Cello Suite, arranged by Alan Kulka;  the Overture to Handel’s Giulio Cesare in Egitto, arranged for guitar quartet by Steffen Besser; and the Prelude and Chaconne from the Sonata No. 10 in E-flat major by Sylvius Leopold Weiss, arranged for solo guitar by Trevor Babb.

Two Renaissance pieces on the program are Francesco da Milano’s Ricercare “La Campagna” by the Renaissance composer, transcribed by Ruggero Chiesa and Graham Banfield; and Luys de Narvaez’s Cancion del Emperador, transcribed by David Nadal and Graham Banfield.

Violist Janice LaMarre will join guitarist Arash Noori in two movements from Schubert’s “Arpeggione” Sonata in A minor, D. 821, arranged by Noori, and Max Zuckerman will play Mozart’s Adagio, K. 540, arranged by Ben Verdery. The concert will also include Ginastera’s “Danza del viejo boyero” from Argentinan Dances, arranged for guitar quartet by Trevor Babb; the Scherzo from Prokofiev’s Piano Sonata No. 2, arranged for guitar quartet by Ian O’Sullivan; and Juan Acosta’s Bajo la sombra de un pino, arranged for two guitars by Hermelindo Ruiz.

The concert will conclude with a medley from John Williams’s score to Star Wars, arranged by Darin Au for guitar ensemble. MORE

Published March 15, 2011
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