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Thursday, December 5, 2013

The Art of Viola da Gamba dueting - Bettina Hoffmann & Sofia Ruffino playing Christopf Schaffrath's masterpieces




It was many years ago I attended to a Jordi Savall's superb concert of viola da gamba... he was playing his XVth Century viola da gamba, in Padua, Italy... it was a musical blast for yours truly, as I began chasing for Astree's and grooving on S. de Saint Colombe and Marin Marais' obscure masterpieces...

... while my friends were after Genesis;-)))

I already was a music dropout!

Yesterday evening I had the rare opportunity to listen to two extraordinaire musicians, Bettina Hoffmann, an elegant German lady living in Florence and her once pupil, now an accomplished concertist and a teacher, as well, Sofia Ruffino, playing together THE MOST beautiful music you can imagine...

Viola da gamba is a weirdo instrument... six strings, tuned like a guitar, with some gut strings frets and fretless, cello-like fretboard... always showing an head shaped peghead...



A weird and... celestial instrument... its throaty voice is soooooo deeeeeply moving, folks.

Every piece was introduced by witty and interesting liner notes... like reading a disc liner notes... but from the true voice of the musicians... WOW!

The concert program was very intriguing... most of the music I knew and appreciated from my Astree's AS collection... but... BUT...

... I didn't expect to listen to a contemporary duet for viole da gamba written... in 2000!!!

Federico Maria Sardelli's "Variations for two viols on a Theme 'Oh Heiland Reiss die Himmel Hauf'" is an amazing piece of music...

The musicians were MUCH more expressively playing on this complex, beautiful piece...






... but, it came the last piece of the concert: Christoph Schaffrath's "Duet fur zwei viols in Re minor".

It reminded to me the great, late S.L. Weiss' lute music, so various, deep, seldom heard, superb lute music which makes Bach ashamed;-)

Only Adam Falckenhagen is up to par to S.L. Weiss, in my opinion... Schaffrath's vs. Marin Marais... yes, definitely so;-)

I was in awe as it happens when I discover something worthwhile... and after the concert I strongly wished thanking Bettina and Sofia for their playing and music choice... they both smiled shyly and... their hands were SO strong, like a woodworker hands...

I was impressed as working out, fingering and bowing on such an instrument is, REALLY is, hard woodworking - i.e. working out the music from the wood!

A revelation...

Thanks Bettina and thanks Sofia.





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