Bass 2012, 17th July 2012

Recital by Duo Sweet 17

We arrived by night train from Brussels. After locating the hotel we took a taxi to the Opera House, which strangely is quite difficult to access by car. The building is absolutely magnificent, right on the waterfront.

The front lobby with its enormous windows overlooking the water was the meeting place and exhibition room for the bass, bow and string makers, all of them with big stands and many many instruments.
The soundscape inside the lobby was quite spectacular, with so many players testing instruments (for some reason the first few bars of the Koussevitzky concerto were the absolute number 1 hit all week long...)

We didn't see a single baroque or viennese bass though...

We went up the enormous, royal flight of stairs to the first floor where even more bass makers had their stands, and where we met Stefan Krattenmacher. Stefan is the luthier who made the 5-string Viennese Violone after Feilenreiter that i'm playing, and that i brought to Kopenhagen for our Duo Sweet 17 recital.
Not having played for the last two days, we were anxious to get the instruments out and warm up a bit, so after greeting Stefan we just started playing the Sperger Sonata at the bass stand. In just a few minutes the stand was surrounded by bass players and visitors, and after we finished the sonata there was a big round of applause. Bass players are supportive and generous people. But maybe the applause was more for Haruko and her magnificent Viola d'Amore:-)

                    Lars Baunkilde, Korneel,  and Stefan Krattenmacher, the maker of my Viennese Violone

After our little impromptu concert we talked with LARS BAUNKILDE, another Viennese Tuning specialist. It was nice to meet him, because i had bought his CD with Viennese Violone music just a few months before we came to Kopenhagen. He's a wonderful person, and a great musician.
We also met FRANK WITTICH and DARIJA ANDZAKOVICH there, two more Viennese Tuning afficionado's. It was good to see Frank, we'd been in touch by mail for some time but this was our first meeting. Darija turned out to be a very witty girl with a lot of humor, besides being a source of knowledge about all things Sperger, so we all got along really well.

       Frank Wittich, Lars Baunkilde, Darija Andzakovich and David Sinclair : 4 Viennese Tuning Greats...

Unfortunately we couldn't hear their lecture-recital because rehearsal schedules and performances often conflicted with each other. By the way, the staff did an incredible job organizing all these events and they were all so helpful, friendly and professional.

We also met Oskar Kappelmayer, who is a bass maker specialised in Viennese Basses and another very nice guy. Frank showed me a classical bow made by Oskar, one of the finest classical bows i've seen.

We had a good look around the stands. Lots of new basses, some old ones. As i said, no basses with gut strings or period set-up (or i must have missed them). A few newly-made violones were on show, as well as a few period bows. I also played a new 5-string bass that was assembled in a Kopenhagen hotel room... If memory serves me right, the body was made in Europe and the neck in America. The bass was glued together and exhibited at the show, and afterwards received a prize for its sound. A fabulous bass it was indeed.

One bow that drew my attention was a copy of the so-called Sperger Bow. Honestly i can't imagine that Sperger ever used this bow for his solo works. It seems big and clumsy and not very well balanced. If you've ever played his pieces with the original articulations, you know how delicate they are. So either the original bow does have all the qualities needed (contrary to the copy that i saw), or Sperger must have had a very different bow for his solo works.

Rehearsals at the Provesaal (Rehearsal Room)7 were tightly scheduled. At rehearsal we met our dear friend ENRICO FAGONE he stayed to listen for a while because he couldn't be at the recital later on. He's such a nice person as well as a fantastic musician, and it's always a pleasure to meet him. We, on the other hand, were lucky enough to witness his recital where he played, amongst others, a work by GIUSEPPE LUPIS (who accompanied him at the piano) and a new cadenza to the Koussevitzky Concerto by TEPPO HAUTA-AHO, who was present as well.

Afterwards we had a nice chat with Enrico and Giuseppe, and we commissioned a new work for our Duo. In the meantime we've premiered the piece, entitled "CODEX LUPENSIS" and played it in Europe and Japan.

Right after us, DEAN FERRELL had his rehearsal. Dean is just amazing. I discovered him on YouTube and he simply blew me away. He's a larger-than-life character. A player and an actor-singer, a real performer with incredible chops on the Viennese Bass and absolutely crazy (and i mean that as a compliment).

At our own recital we played Ariosti, Stamitz and Sperger sonatas. We had also prepared some Danish and Japanese music, but we were interrupted by staff because the next recital had to be prepared in the hall. Indeed, originally we had been given a one-hour slot, but all recitals had been reduced to 45 minutes and we weren't told about it. No problem, just a pity that now there was no time for the "lighter" part of the programme. Anyway, the recital went very well. It was such a pleasure to play befor an audience of colleagues and bass lovers, and to play music for them that they had surely never heard before. David Sinclair attended, which was a great honour for me as he is probably the foremost authority on Viennese Tuning in the world.

Afterwards we listened to Dean's performance. It was a real theatre show, with a singer, a pianist and bass virtuoso Mark Morton. Dean being the impersonation of Pichlberger, dressed as in Mozart's time, Mark being Bottesini and the both of them trying to seduce the soprano with their playing. Hilarious and fascinating.

Later on i had a long talk with Dean about various aspects of playing, philosophy, history, science... I learned a lot that day. More about the things he said can be found elsewhere in this blog.

Sadly, we had to leave soon after our recital and we missed the "Battle of Copenhagen" on the river. But duty called and we had other obligations back home.

Kopenhagen 2012 was an unforgettable experience. I just hope that the historical basses will get more attention in future. I've had about all the Koussevitzky and all the cello transcriptions i can take...


C. Stamitz : Sonata for Viola d'Amore and Viola (Viola part on Viennese Bass)

J.M. Sperger : Duetto for Viola and Viennese Bass (Viola part on Viola d'Amore)

A. Ariosti : Sonata in d minor for Viola d'Amore and B.C. (continuo on Viennese Bass)

No comments:

Post a Comment