September 27, Tuesday, 6 pm
Museum of Applied Arts, Arsenalo g. 3A
On the Spirit of Gambo
From the Renaissance to Bach
Paolo Pandolfo – viola da gamba, Italy
This evening is an introduction to the viola da gamba in time and space. This music moves to the sound of a solo viol, at times imitating the human voice, other times awakening the most subtle inner sensations. It evokes polyphony as suggested by a single instrument, a synthesis of melodious and harmonious playing, and lastly, the sensual gestures of dance rendered by the instrument that had been considered the most noble and the most perfect for more than two centuries.
The journey starts in the early 16th century Italian and Spanish Renaissance then proceed to 17th century England and the culmination of French viol repertory, before arriving in 18th century Germany where we get a taste of the magnificent Bach Suites as well as of the early classical style of Carl Friedrich Abel.
Paolo Pandolfo began his research in the field of Renaissance and Baroque musical idioms in around 1979 together with violinist Enrico Gatti and harpsichordist Rinaldo Alessandrini. At the time he was studying early music at the Schola Cantorum Basiliensis with Jordi Savall. In 1982 he became a member of Savall’s ensemble Hesperion XX, appearing in concerts together for eight years throughout the world and making dozens of recordings (including Bach’s Kunst der Fuge, Dowland’s Consort music, Neapolitan Renaissance Music, etc.).
In 1990, after the huge success of his first recording as a soloist (Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach’s Sonatas for Viola da Gamba), he was nominated as Professor of viola da gamba at the Schola Cantorum Basiliensis. Teaching in Basel, he also holds masterclasses and his performance career takes him all over the world, playing with famous artists such as Emma Kirkby, Rolf Lislevand, Rinaldo Alessandrini, Mitzi Meyerson, Jose' Miguel Moreno and many others.
Since 1992 he has been the director of Labyrinto, a group of four or five viols dedicated to arranging various music programmes for the consort.
Paolo Pandolfo has recorded for radio and television stations worldwide, and for record companies such as Astrée, EMI, Philips, Erato, Harmonia Mundi, Tactus and Simphonia. Since 1997 all his recordings have been with the leading Spanish record company Glossa, his first collaboration being the first ever recording of A. Forqueray’s Piéces de Viole, followed by The Spirit of Gambo (music by Tobias Hume with Labyrinto and Emma Kirkby). A Solo was voted one of the best releases of the year in 1998 by Gramophone. He dedicated two releases to the music of Marin Marais, while his transcription of Bach’s six Solo Suites, released in 2000, was seen as an important musical event over and beyond its great commercial success. All his recordings have received amazingly positive reviews as well as many awards by the major music magazines (Gramophone, Le Monde de La Musique, Goldberg, Scherzo, Diapason, etc.). The Drexel Manuscript with music by Carl Friedrich Abel is presently running for the Best CD of the Year in the Instrumental category for the BBC Music Magazine.
Described as the Yo Yo Ma of the viol, Paolo Pandolfo builds bridges between the past and the present, and breathes spontaneous and immediate life in the performance of Baroque and Renaissance music through improvisation, transcriptions and composition of modern pieces, showing that the legacy of early music can be a powerful source of inspiration for the future of the European musical tradition.
Personal Website of Paolo Pandolfo